Allie Thu, Senior Accessibility Experience Designer at Zappos, guides us on her journey from a marketing job to carving her own accessibility experience designer position. During that time, she found her place in design and then front-end development. But what really resonated with Allie was understanding what it meant to be inclusive and consider all our users, thus finding herself in accessibility.
So how does one define accessibility? According to Allie, it’s about making a commitment to approaching a problem from different angles and really just understanding who the users are and what their lives are like. Accessibility is tied into every single thing we touch, smell, see, etc.
When it comes to accessibility on a business level, it can be challenging to convince your company to buy into accessibility. But companies need to remember that it’s not only for compliance, but because it’s the right thing to do. There’s three ROI of accessibility: brand loyalty, building a usable product, and semantic code.
Allie then discusses some of her favorite examples of good accessibility, such as GOV.UK design system and Airbnb, but then goes into one of the bad trends that’s been catching on lately.
To improve UX based on accessibility guidelines, there are a few quick tips in implementing them into both a designer and developer’s work flow. For designers, things such as enough color contrast, proper whitespace and icon labeling can really make a difference in the interface. For developers and qa, ensuring semantic code and actually testing via screen reader can be very beneficial in understanding the process of using a keyboard vs mouse.
The episode closes with some of Allie’s recommended resources, including Polaris design system and Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG). To connect with the small but growing accessibility community, she recommends networking via LinkedIn so everyone is able to share their learnings.