I work in User Experience design, and recently there’s a design trend that’s running through our company like a wildfire: accessibility. I thought I knew about it/what it was but as it turned out, I only knew the tip of the iceberg. I had no idea how many people are impacted by it or how it affects me as a designer. Accessibility is so much more than what/who immediately comes to mind. It’s also those with mental cognitive disabilities, temporary conditions, etc.

My “I get it!” moment was when my friend broke her arm. She was in a cast, in pain, stressed out, and not sleeping well. She needed to get online to find out information on physical therapy only she broke the arm she uses a mouse with, which made navigating websites unnecessarily challenging. It doesn’t need to be!

A few simple web searches, and you’ll discover that there are so many tools in place for designers to use. The most important tool paradigms that we much shift as designers is that accessibility cannot be an afterthought. It needs to be a part of the process that gets folded into our work at the onset. We need to remember that the audiences’ challenges may be permanent or temporary. When you design with accessibility in mind, you need to think about how it will affect everyone. Design should never, ever be exclusionary. When designing for all audiences becomes a common practice, we will become Design Superheroes.

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