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Inclusive Design for a Digital World: Designing with Accessibility in Mind

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What is inclusive design? It is simple. It means that your product has been created with the intention of being accessible to as many different users as possible. For a long time, the concept of accessibility has been limited in terms of only defining physical spaces. However, change is afoot: personal technology now plays a part in the everyday lives of most of us, and thus it is a responsibility for designers of apps, web pages, and more public-facing tech products to make them accessible to all. Our digital era brings progressive ideas and paradigm shifts - but they are only truly progressive if everybody can participate.
In Inclusive Design for a Digital World, multiple crucial aspects of technological accessibility are confronted, followed by step-by-step solutions from User Experience Design professor and author Regine Gilbert. Think about every potential user who could be using your product. Could they be visually impaired? Have limited motor skills? Be deaf or hard of hearing? This book addresses a plethora of web accessibility issues that people with disabilities face. Your app might be blocking out an entire sector of the population without you ever intending or realizing it. For example, is your instructional text full of animated words and Emoji icons? This makes it difficult for a user with vision impairment to use an assistive reading device, such as a speech synthesizer, along with your app correctly. In Inclusive Design for a Digital World, Gilbert covers the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1 requirements, emerging technologies such as VR and AR, best practices for web development, and more.
As a creator in the modern digital era, your aim should be to make products that are inclusive of all people. Technology has, overall, increased connection and information equality around the world. To continue its impact, access and usability of such technology must be made a priority, and there is no better place to get started than Inclusive Design for a Digital World.
What You'll Learn
The moral, ethical, and high level legal reasons for accessible design

Tools and best practices for user research and web developers

The different types of designs for disabilities on various platforms

Familiarize yourself with web compliance guidelines

Test products and usability best practices
Understand past innovations and future opportunities for continued improvement
Who This Book Is For
Practitioners of product design, product development, content, and design can benefit from this book.

272 pages, Paperback

First published December 20, 2019

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About the author

Reginé Gilbert

2 books1 follower

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Displaying 1 - 17 of 17 reviews
Profile Image for Ness.
72 reviews12 followers
November 20, 2020
This book did a great job explaining how and why accessibility in tech is crucial. However, it stumbles on the knowledge of disabled people. There are multiple instances of ableist language (including “X suffers from [disability]) and championing disability simulations, which have been shown to a) not actually show what it’s like to be disabled and b) decrease empathy among nondisabled people about disabled people’s lives because they think they know what it’s like after spending 20 minutes with noise-cancelling headphones on. It was also haphazardly edited and not well organized. Some good info in here, but take it with a grain of salt.
Profile Image for Mary.
430 reviews47 followers
June 20, 2022
It's badly written and edited. It feels a lot like notes collected in preparation for writing a book -- random and very surface-level. But I did learn a few things about digital accessibility.
Profile Image for Dhuaine.
190 reviews24 followers
November 2, 2020
Excellent table of contents. Poor, chaotic execution. It reads more like a collection of notes and random ideas for further research. Contains very little actionable advice. Contains some errors!

I was so excited to encounter a book written by a UX Designer, rather than a technical person. Unfortunately, it fell short. Some chapters are good (the first, introductory one; the third, showing overlap with usability and page speed/optimization), some very good (BBC player case study), and some are just poor/bad.

HTML/CSS/JS chapter is particularly useless. It's only like 10 pages long! It boils down to page structure, headings, alt text, color contrast (why is this here? Color contrast is for graphic designers, not people writing the CSS), and some ARIA in JS section, where a list item is marked as a checkbox, overriding its list item role and creating "list contains non-list-item elements" error. That's literally it. No mention about asynchronous loading and changing states. This chapter should be omitted from the book. If the publisher/whoever required a technical chapter, it would have been better to explain what is available in HTML, i.e. select, radio/checkbox, label vs. placeholder, button vs. link. I see designers botching these all the time.

Another weird chapter is the Compliance/WCAG chapter. In the laws section, there's a list titled "Europe" that contains "European Union", some mandate with a number, and some countries which are members of EU, so...? What is this supposed to be? What are the countries for? The mandate, it turns out, was superseded by something else in August of 2018. (This book was published in Q4 2019.) It would be way easier to just say "EU basically uses WCAG 2.1 and is expected to continue to update WCAG version in the future". Also, no mention about public/private sectors anywhere.

In chapter about assistive technologies, VoiceOver is incorrectly classified as voice input software (like Dragon Naturally Speaking), even though it's been mentioned as screen reader in earlier chapters.

At the same time, the conclusions at the end of each chapter are a very nice springboard for more research, and there are some gems of knowledge like "If it's annoying, it's probably not accessible". There's lots of modern-times techniques/considerations like the use of voice assistants and virtual reality, some nice stories about inclusion (like packaging design). It's rare to see those mentioned, so it's a shame they got buried under some regurgitated info that was already written in better form elsewhere. This book could have been great if it had a good editor or co-author from the technical side, or the technical part was dropped altogether.

As it is, though, I can't recommend it. Hoping for second edition...
Profile Image for Jessica.
84 reviews6 followers
August 20, 2021
This book outlines the basic tools that designers can use in order to integrate accessibility into their products. For example: How can we make sure the colour schemes on a website won't confuse or alienate those who are colour-blind? How can we code a website that can be navigated with only keyboard and thus be usable for those with motor disabilities? How can we conduct usability testing that is both user-centred and inclusive? It also has an appendix that helpfully summarises these tools as "accessible heuristics" -- so that they can be referred to later on at a glance and when needed. This emphasis on heuristics is important, because much of what the book can offer is quick pointers and not actionable solutions, for better or worse.
Profile Image for Rézina Dějová.
295 reviews39 followers
September 23, 2022
Před třemi lety zpěvačka Beyoncé prohrála v USA soud po tom, co byla zažalována z porušení Zákona o Američanech s handicapem (Americans with disabilities act). Obrázky a fotky na jejím webu totiž neměly alternativní texty, které by umožnily lidem se zrakovým postižením přístup alespoň k jejich popisku. Jde o docela známý případ a zároveň špičku ledovce. Přístupnost webu pro lidi s handicapem nezahrnuje jenom zrakově postižené, ale i sluchově handicované, lidi s motorickým omezením, epileptiky, dislektiky a další osoby s kognitivními poruchami.

Pokud v Americe svůj web nepřizpůsobíte tak, aby ho všichni tihle lidé mohli používat, tak nejenomže tím získáte volňásek k účasti na nákladném soudním řízení, ale zároveň přijdete o nezanedbatelnou část možné klientely. (Podle statistik se s nějakou formou handicapu potýká 26 procent Američanů.)

Zákon o přístupnosti webů a mobilních aplikací platí i v ČR, ale prozatím se týká jenom veřejných institucí. Přesto to část z nich, ať už jde o úřady nebo školy buď ignoruje, nebo o tom dokonce ani neví. Ke svojí vlastní škodě, protože jak už bylo řečeno, lidé z handicapem tvoří ne zrovna malou část společnosti. Instituce se nerespektováním těchto pravidel navíc vystavují riziku soudního procesu - který pravděpodobně prohrají.

Tato publikace poskytuje stručný úvod do problematiky přístupnosti webů. Pro aktuální technické podrobnosti ale už budete muset jít jinam. Dopo.
Profile Image for Margaret.
2 reviews
February 20, 2022
Was really hoping I could power my way through this book after somehow making it to the halfway point. Unfortunately it is just way too disorganized to follow through. A lot of the material is very surface-level and just references other sources you can go look up and read all about yourself. There are blocks of text lifted straight from WCAG guidelines, but it’d be helpful if the author explained what it all meant and suggested some possible remediations.

The bits about coding felt haphazardly thrown in. Not everyone understands programming - perhaps some tips on how to work with and communicate with engineers to tackle accessibility issues would’ve helped.

I suppose this book is better for designers who are completely new to accessibility. But even so, the poor editing might just leave you more confused.
3 reviews
August 20, 2020
I will be continuing to reference this book frequently as I continue in my career in UX and Product Design for certain. I had the pleasure of having my copy signed by the author in a talk she gave right before the pandemic hit. Regine Gilbert is an amazing speaker as well as amazing writer, and her passion for accessibility inspires me to put accessibility and inclusion at the forefront of any and all my design work and honestly, how I exist in this world. I'm forever inspired.
Profile Image for Inklusiiv.
12 reviews13 followers
September 15, 2020
Inclusive design means that your product has been created to be accessible for as many user as possible. Gilbert, a user experience design professor, offers straightforward solutions, tools and best practices on how to approach inclusive designing. This book will help organisations to reach a wider customer base for their products and be more inclusive. A must read for IT professionals, designers, coders, the tech industry as a whole and to other business owners.

Profile Image for Mohammad Bagher Ehtamam.
9 reviews1 follower
February 27, 2021
I'm Frontend developer and I read this book as I need to learn more about accessibility. if you want to start accessibility it's good book but still I think it's a little boring for developers ( my opinion ) but you learn a lot about devices, technologies and disabilities. the last chapters about BBC is really good and helpful but if you want to find some code, it's not that book.
Profile Image for Meryl Evans.
Author 6 books15 followers
August 13, 2021
I had been looking for a book with an overview of digital accessibility and this is exactly what I needed! It covers the wide spectrum in plain language. There may be a few sections that are a little more technical like the mention of ARIA and Javascript. But it's brief. Definitely a book everyone interested in digital accessibility will want to read and keep in their a11y library.
Profile Image for kelly.
268 reviews1 follower
July 9, 2022
This was so horribly structured and written, it must have been self-published. Although I got some nuggets from reading this book, it was, ironically, not very accessible due to the poor editing or lack thereof. I really hope better resources exist.
11 reviews2 followers
August 11, 2021
Very important read for what instructional designers do. A toolkit on my shelf.
Profile Image for Avraam Mavridis.
120 reviews17 followers
September 10, 2021
The book seems to not even had an editor fixing the structure and the layout, it feels like a random collection of notes on the topic.
Profile Image for Alexis Bauer Kolak.
231 reviews7 followers
March 20, 2022
Just a tremendous set of recommendations and tools. This had been a hard topic on which to find resources, so it's so great to find so much in a single book.
183 reviews
April 30, 2022
Read for a book club at work. Interesting information, prompted some interesting discussion.
Profile Image for Dylan.
19 reviews2 followers
July 9, 2022
Extremely poorly written as if this was a rough draft. Nothing new here that can’t be found in a handful of articles online.
Profile Image for Katherine McVey.
18 reviews
April 27, 2021
A great starting place for learning about accessible design. I enjoyed the real-life examples used.
Displaying 1 - 17 of 17 reviews

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