UX and Accessible Design

Digital accessibility involves more than just achieving technical conformance against accessibility standards. Usability is equally important, and may not naturally follow technical best practices 100% of the time.
Contact UsSchedule A Demo

Why UX is Critical

UX plays a significant role in accessibility. Technical conformance and code alone will not ensure a pleasant experience for everyone who attempts to engage with your website or digital content. Including UX accessibility experts in the design and QA phases of content and asset creation will greatly improve your overall accessibility because these individuals focus on experience.

Regardless of how closely your developers adhere to accessibility best practices, you can still find yourself with significant gaps when it comes to actual users with disabilities engaging with your site.

What is the difference between technically conformant and usable?

To fully appreciate the role UX plays in an accessible experience, take a moment to consider the difference in comfort between flying (coach class!) and traveling by train. Both methods of transportation will get you where you want to go, but the experience is vastly different.

While a plane has all the same amenities as a train (seats, tray tables, restrooms, etc.) you’d be hard-pressed to find someone who prefers the cramped quarters of a plane, where personal space is a mere memory and it’s impossible to move without potentially hitting another passenger, to that of a much roomier train car.

Similarly, technically conformant sites and usable sites may share the same basic elements, but one experience could be vastly different from the other. To add this complexity, accepted digital accessibility criteria like the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) are rarely cut-and-dried prescriptions but are recommendations that can be interpreted in several ways.

Where does UX fit into the accessibility lifecycle?

Many organizations still view UX and development as siloed operations, but this can have a detrimental effect on overall accessibility and usability. For the greatest impact, UX teams should work closely with developers, marketers, and product engineers starting from the initial concepting phase through QA and testing. Always keep the golden rule in mind: accessible (technically conformant) does not equal usable. Learn more about how TPGi’s UX experts can improve the usability and accessibility of your digital assets or just contact us today with any questions.