[Webinar] AX = UX: Creating Digital Experience Flow through Accessibility - Mura Digital Experience Platform
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[Webinar] AX = UX: Creating Digital Experience Flow through Accessibility

January 16, 2019

Making the web a better place—or were we?

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Since day one, the Blueriver team has believed we were "making the web a better place" one project at a time. By eliminating distractions, eliminating worry of failure and providing clear goals, our M.O. has always been to create Flow in the digital experience. It's why we do what we do.

We were at once keeping up with, and helping to shape the constantly evolving digital landscape, carefully crafting experiences for a wide variety of clients around the world. We understood that we were designing for people. What we didn't understand was the importance of adopting web accessibility (AX) earlier into our workflow and the benefits in doing so.

Quite simply—we misunderstood who really benefits from better web accessibility: everyone.

Universal Design

Recently, I had the opportunity to read Accessibility For Everyone where I was introduced to the concept of Universal Design. While it is a concept generally applied to the physical world—it helped shape my understanding of the importance of web accessibility and inclusion. Suddenly every line of code had a lot more impact and purpose.

We Are All Just Temporarily Abled. Disabilities are a spectrum that we all experience—from permanent to temporary to situational. 

What did I learn? Empathy + Awareness. Through learning more about web accessibility I had an opportunity to shape internal processes and truly make the web a better place for everyone. What finally sank in: when accessibility goes from an afterthought to part of a workflow—everyone wins.

AX = UX

Many people experience the benefits of accessibility (AX) without even realizing it. This is part of what makes great UX invisible—why would it be any other way?t just works.

Ever watch a video somewhere that was loud or couldn't have audio playing? Did you read a transcript or captions? Turns out that is Guideline 1.2 of WCAG 2.0: Providing alternatives for time-based media (audio and video). How about another one: Try using your phone in the bright sunlight. Good thing we have guideline 1.4.3: providing sufficient contrast.

There are numerous tools and assistive technologies to help create a fantastic experience for everyone, no matter what the impairment is.

Why does this matter? Let me introduce you to a startling reality:

We Are All Just Temporarily Abled. Disabilities are a spectrum that we all experience—from permanent to temporary to situational.

If an end goal of UX is for wide appeal and easier for everyone to use, doesn't AX = UX, then?

AX = SEO

The next step of my journey brought me to training from WebAim.org where I learned some startling facts:

A substantial amount of people have some sort of impairment—and there are numerous tools and assistive technologies to help create a fantastic experience for everyone, no matter what the impairment is.

But you know what else I learned?

Google is blind, deaf and doesn't use a mouse.

So by the nature of making a more conscious effort to build accessible solutions—we get the added benefit of SEO.

Let me say that again: AX = SEO. Make the world a better place while improving SEO for your site. That's a win-win by any name.

AX = Understanding

While there are countless tools to facilitate making a more accessible web, it takes a person to help people. AX is a process and practice of understanding. Put yourself in someone else's shoes—it's easy.

Here are two ways to try:

Vision Impairments

Enable VoiceOver or a screen reader of your choice—close your eyes and attempt to navigate your website.

Physical Impairments

Experience navigating without a mouse. Use only keyboard functionality to navigate your website.

You've just experienced first hand the importance of AX.

Did you struggle? What did you learn? Did you "learn more" without context? Did you find the information you were looking for? Thankful for being temporarily abled?

Universal Flow

Web accessibility training can feel like an uphill battle and a burden at first—but like everything in life, the more you practice—the better you get. Don't feel hindered by AX. Feel empowered by the opportunity it offers. Have some empathy and get excited about becoming a leader in making a commitment to web accessibility and creating digital experience Flow for everyone.

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