Credit: Microsoft Inclusive Design Manual
The breath of accessibility
Elizabeth gave a great example of how impairments can affect us all.
Take this scenario: you have landed in Shanghai to attend a business meeting. You need to find directions to your hotel so have downloaded a mobile travel app. Here are four different types of impairments you could have whilst using the app:
- Cultural - you don’t understand the native language so need translations to help you navigate the city.
- Permanent - you are visually impaired (wear strong prescription glasses), so need to be able to zoom in on the map to see clearer.
- Situational - the loudness of the airport makes it difficult for you to listen to the directions.
- Temporary - trying to pull your suitcase whilst watching the app for directions is distracting.
I don’t know about you, but I had never considered temporary impairments as a disability. In a previous article, I wrote about the importance of developing products with permanent disabilities in mind, but once you delve deeper you realise the vast amount of hinderances people have on a day-to-day basis which can affect how we use a product.