Quite recently, I’ve been working on this project that involves an animated interaction to occur once tapping on a section of the screen. Prior to getting started with any UX or visual work, one of the main things addressed was the importance of accessibility.
We teamed up with an accessibility leader at Walmart earlier in the weeks to go over potential constraints. Here were a couple of things we began to add to our list of prioritization when it came to considering visual and animated elements.
Best to avoid sound if possible (within this particular experience as the occurrence was quite repetitive). If sound is necessary, ensure there are opportunities to turn this off
Animated content such as flashing or flickering may cause headache triggers to those under an autism spectrum disorder
Subtle or low contrast colour themes so it won’t appear as vibrant or straining to the eye to consider those with sensitive visually triggered illness
Accessibility has always been something I wanted to learn more about to become more understanding of potential outlier experiences. We can’t always take a conceived idea and it’s important to ask and broaden our focus in order to build better inclusive experiences.
Today an accessibility session was held and one of the first photos shown was this staircase ramp at Robson Square in Vancouver, BC. At initial glance this may be something that looks as if it’s accessible with the inclusion of ramps, but despite it’s intriguing design, it’s completely inaccessible with only one hand railing and none throughout the length of the ramp. In addition, the ramp is quite steep and looks quite hazardous if you were manually navigating on a wheelchair.
Much like the staircase image, looking at an original animation proposal in context to a mobile interface I felt my only concern would be the sizing, colour appearance and messaging of how it would be displayed, but it turned out to be much more from the timing transition to frequency and sequence of how certain visual elements would be displayed.
Given these accessibility requirements, though initially feeling more limitations to designing, I truly believe the impact of putting inclusivity higher up within the design process is well worth the push and challenge to expand greater usage in the long run.