When we say a design outcome is inaccessible, we say it is unavailable to users. Accessibility is a range instead of an all-or-nothing factor. However, in some cases, design decisions can lead to outcomes that prevent all use for some people. Sometimes, it’s better for a design to be inaccessible, such as rifles in a gun cabinet or the button that launches missiles on a warship. But more often than not, accessibility is a good thing. Physical accessibility is the first kind that comes to mind, such as large typography on an app screen so older adults can read it. However, ideological accessibility is equally important, as is the imagery and words used in an ad campaign, including people of many races and ethnicities. Experiences can’t happen (or can’t happen as intended) if the design is inaccessible.

Researching Accessibility

Researching accessibility focuses designers on the interaction between people and design. It reveals to what degree a design outcome limits or facilitates use. This process involves examining a design’s features as well as the people who will use the design outcome.

Questions to Ask

  • What ability levels are required to interact with the product/service/system?
  • In what ways is this designed so it limits people’s use?
  • What about the design enables easy usage?

Look For…

  • Physical dimensions of the design that could limit usability.
  • Language on the design that enables usage by people with specific reading levels or language skills.
  • Color choices that could cause issues for people with color blindness.



Updated: June 21, 2024 11:41 am
a black woman's hands using a page of braille to read
Select Your Experience