May 23, 2015

Accessibility and UX

Joyojeet Pal, Assistant professor at the School of Information at the University of Michigan, gave a rousing speech on accessibility and user experience at a recent UXPA Cleveland event. The one tidbit that stood out to me is that most of us are vision impaired. We rely on our vision to make decisions and without it our judgement would be distorted. How true is this statement?

Professor Pal gave an example about social security numbers. When you are filling out your social security number within an online form, you can see all three of the fields that are available. However when you are filling out the form without vision, you can only hear the screen reader say, "Please enter in your social security number" at this entry point. The user then continues to enter "123456789" in the first field. When the user submits the form an error message is triggered that says, "Please complete your social number". To the end user who is vision impaired, it is not clear that filling out the entire social security number is divided into three separate fields. Have you considered how your website or software is constructed to help those who are vision impaired?

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Marc A. Majers

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