OnIn Web Design, Accessibility Shouldn’t Be an Afterthought.”

User oriented design and embodiment

User oriented design is in a way, designing of the user’s embodiment to the product or the service. We design various things with the best intention but one important fact seems to be often forgotten: the various things we design becomes the extended body of our various users physically, conceptually, digitally, etc. Generally when we start designing, we often aim to create for the “people” to reach their goal more easily and pleasantly, not specifically for that one person who is 6 feet tall, 20/20 vision, without any kind of disability or impairment. But often times, somewhere along the line, we find ourselves designing for a very specific majority without considering how what we are designing can become the extended body of users with impairments or disabilities.

OnIn Web Design, Accessibility Shouldn’t Be an Afterthought

The article was a great inspiration. I was especially inspired by the idea of involving users, designers, and leaders with disabilities from day one. As a person, it is extremely hard to understand or imagine the life of those with disabilities and impairments while it is extremely easy to forget about designing inclusively. This is because those who does not have a disability never had a chance to experience one and the bias within us have us turn away from something we don’t understand. But one of the first step we can take as an inclusive designer, is to stop being inclusive only with the end product of the design, and start being inclusive from the beginning of the design process and have more diverse communities be involved within the process.

Functional inclusivity & emotional inclusivity

I started thinking about accessibility as I started studying design, and was shocked by how so many public spaces, websites and services either aren’t inclusive at all or focusing on accommodating the bare minimum amount of inclusivity as if it is some kind of needless extra effort. Let’s say there was a high-end restaurant. It has a beautiful entrance and you are about to enter and have a great time. Except you can’t enter through the front door. You are on a wheelchair and you have to go all the way to the back entrance where it is dark and and doesn’t meet your expectation. Should this place be considered to be inclusive? To the law, maybe. It functionally accommodates, right? But no, there is a difference between meeting just the functional needs and truly designing for everyone, not as “everyone” and some extras.