In order to become specialist designers for all kinds of people with all kinds of disabilities we have to study different, individual situations. In the following chapters I dig in deeper into this idea.
This chapter is not so much about one single person: this chapter is about the medium that I work with: The Web. Here I take a closer look at the idea that the web is for everyone, which paradoxically makes it both an inclusive and an exclusive medium.
My students designed working prototypes for Marijn, who is severly motor disabled. The first prototypes were based on assumptions. Later versions were tailor made for Marijn.
Closely observing Simon, a blind product designer, gave me new insights in the value of semantics and gave me new ideas about the workings of screen readers.
In this chapter I argue that the web community should return to studying different situations, instead of continuing with simply copying patterns that other have designed for other situations.
Elsewhere on this website
All articles can be read in a structured order, staring with the context of this reasearch, followed by the things I did and created, and ending with recommendations.
The reason why the web is accessible is because it was designed to be used by everyone. The reason why the web isn’t accessible is the same.
The defaults suck
Could it be that the web is broken because the defaults our tools use are not very well designed?
Inclusive Design as practiced on the web right now could be a nice end goal, but I do think we are not there yet.
Tales of guessing how people use their computers. And then, of course, getting it all wrong.
More death to more bullshit
Screen readers tend to talk a lot. Which becomes increasingly annoying with more content. A recalibration of our love for features would be very welcome.
Design like it’s 1999
In which Simon Dogger and I wonder why it’s so hard to use the website with all Dutch national television documentaries.
In which I tell about the tailor made website and the giggling animations I made for Hannes Wallrafen, the famous blind photographer.
In which I explain the contrast between web development best practices, and the way our tools present them.
Edge cases in software development means that you use the extremes to test with. In Web design it means you ignore the extremes. Calling them stress cases might help.
Coders should learn how to design
We’re developing expertise in choosing rather than in thinking. If we want an accessible web, we need to start designing.
Add nonsense, for fun, for surprise, and because we really need to innovate.
In which I try to reach a conclusion.
The Exclusive Design Principles
During my research at the Master Design I have worked with four exclusive design principles. With some good will we can organise all chapters in this thesis into these four principles.
In order to become specialist designers for all kinds of people with all kinds of disabilities we have to study different, individual situations.
The current conventions are designed by, and thus for, designers. Not all of these conventions work for non-designers. If we want to include non-designers, and especially people with disabilities, we should reconsider these conventions, after we studied their situations.
Including excluded people into our design process, by seeing them as co-designers rather than study objects, can help in coming up with new, and relevant, conventions.
Designing for people with disabilities is in large part uncharted territory. Nonsense can be a useful tool to investigate the unkown. And it’s fun.