When we had stepped into the new year, we had planned to do a whole lot of new things – new ideas, new goals, new boundaries to push, new things to try, new this, new that – well, you get the idea, right? But what we did not plan was an awesome day at a WordCamp! Sorry, the right adjective should be SUPER-AWESOME!!
Attending WordCamp Kolkata 2019 was in our bucket list but speaking at the event was nowhere in it. It was a last minute decision to apply as a speaker but thank the Gods we did! Well, I did, all because I’ve got a wonderful team that backed me up really well.
Now, I had never spoken at such a prominent event or even in front of a large audience before. Attending community meetups and giving presentations within the team are easy things. The only time I had spoken in front of an audience of around 70 (only!) was a big massacre that I still remember and laugh. WordCamp Kolkata, however, turned out to be a completely different experience. The organizers, volunteers as well as my fellow speakers were extremely friendly, and were great in making one feel comfortable and easy.
So, the end result?
A successful talk on Web Accessible Designs! Nope, I’m not boasting here; everyone out there said that it was good 😎
To find any news about the event, the magic word is #WCKolkata.
These community-organized events are a fantastic source of exchanging knowledge, meeting many awesome people, making good friends, enjoying drool-worthy food, and having lots of fun at the pre and post parties! 🎊 🎉
I can go on and on about WordCamp Kolkata but let me put a stopper here. Apart from our experience at the event, I’d also like to bring in front of you the discussion that I had put forward there. As already mentioned, my talk centered around web accessible designs. It was a 30-minute talk, so I’ll split the article in three parts so as not to tire you to death.
Here comes Part I of Web Accessible Designs @ WordCamp Kolkata 2019! Shall we begin?
First and foremost, what does the term “web accessible design” refer to?
Now, when we come across a term like “accessible design”, we usually tend to think in terms of something made for differently abled people. But web accessible design is something different, and something much bigger.
Disability is but one of the many areas that accessible designs cover. To think in broader terms, we are all faced with some kind of disability some time or the other. For example, I feel sick whenever I try to read during commute. At that moment, I so wish there was an accompanying audio file for the article! Or sometimes, just the opposite happens: I’m in a public place, there’s an interesting video in hand, and I have misplaced my earphones, and the video has no captions! Both the times, I have to skip the tasks and, as per my habit, I forget going back to the pages.
These are two very simple examples of temporary disabilities we face. There are a lot more, and I’m sure that some similar instances are already popping up in your mind right now (or will surely pop up some time later).
These are the kind of issues that web accessible designs intend to solve. Of course, these might seem to be very minor things. But think from the perspective of people who face challenges to be simply present in the digital world.
So what kind of disabilities can we address using web accessible designs?
- Visibility problem
- Hearing impairment
- Cognitive difficulties
- Nerve disorder
There are other issues that can be resolved, like:
- Language or educational barriers
- Low bandwidth
- The case of new and infrequent users on the internet
Designs that follow web accessibility guidelines – yes, there are guidelines – aim to offer better usability for people of all demographics, be it with respect to age, disability, geographic location, literacy, or gender. When we create designs that include all genres of people, or inclusive designs, we automatically create web accessible ones.
The latest WCAG (Web Content Accessibility Guidelines) v.2.1, as updated in June, 2018, can be found here:
There are over 60 guidelines for building web accessible designs. Yes, 60. It might be a ponderous task to go through each of them, so, we will go the other way round. We will take a look at the areas where we can improve web designs and mobile designs so as to make them more easily accessible to all.
In the next post, I shall be putting light on two vast topics, rather suggestions, that can help to make user experience better for all. To give you a hint about what we are going to cover, here’s a list of what we will be discussing in the upcoming posts:
- Icons and imagery
- Whitespace and the size of elements used
So, see you in the next article! Till then:
Eat. Read. Sleep. Repeat!