An Accessible Design Framework

A presentation at CSUN in in Anaheim, CA, USA by Karen Hawkins

As designers, everything we do is in service of our end users. We aim to create usable and useful experiences, where users seamlessly and effortlessly accomplish their goals. To meet said aim, we must fully understand our users and the ways in which they tackle task execution. This means we must understand the capabilities and limitations of both humans and technologies, as well as the interfaces where they meet.

This is why we have the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG). But, WCAG can be convoluted and intimidating, especially for designers. Much of the related documentation is developer-centric, as are most examples. It’s hard to parse out what creatives are even responsible for, let alone how do we go about applying accessibility considerations to our designs? Designers need a simple framework to follow in order to apply WCAG to their daily work.

Hence, I’ve created the Accessible Design Framework. This framework considers all aspects of the system - the human, the technologies, and the interface – and it provides a means for any designer working on any design artifact at any stage in the design process to proactively include accessibility considerations in their work. It is meant to enable designers everywhere to seamlessly integrate the tenants of WCAG into their output.