Why Designing for Accessibility is Super Imperative

Design solutions are made stronger by using inclusivity.


C.E. McDonald

2 years ago | 4 min read

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I’d like to take you on a little journey. In previous years to date, traditional design education did not teach the who, what, where, when, and how of accessibility. It wasn’t until fairly recently that a huge divide was lifted. Similar to a veil revealing the contents of a human's truest nature.

We as a collective race, have the opportunity to switch gears, stand up, make differences and collaborate for future design solutions that advocate for inclusivity. This is not as simple as it might initially seem. This takes varying perspectives and a multitude of gender and cultural diversification.

We are not alone on this planet, and we all should be part of the success story of our future. Part of progression is wiping off the implicit biases that keep us chained to the past and fractioned within our “categorized roles” in society.

Life is meant to be enjoyed, and everyone deserves the opportunity to enjoy it to the best of their abilities. Whether someone has a permanent, temporary, or situational condition, all are part of the greater whole. Much like a symphony where every instrument is needed for a series of vibrations to express the desired frequency.

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Let’s switch gears for a minute. Are you familiar with the Disabilities Act?

Well, if you aren’t, I highly recommend having a look at the CDC site. They have some pretty great visual design disability statistics. However, for the sake of our topic, their data iterates that roughly 61 million adults live with a disability in the United States. That’s every 1 in 4 people. Crazy right?

And those are just the more permanent disabilities like mobility, cognition, independent living, hearing, vision, and self-care. That doesn’t even begin to calculate temporary or situational disabilities or even mental health.

Also, many people in the general population have experienced some kind of situational disabilities. For example, a mother trying to tackle stairs with a stroller, or a person with a broken hand trying to text.

The reality is that when we are conscious of our fellow human situations, and consider the consequences our designs have on the collective whole, then and only then can all design industries start to provide cohesive applications to our human race.

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With the help of conscious design, we can start taking into consideration the health and safety of humankind.

Let’s backtrack a tad more. The Americans Civil Rights Act inspired people with disabilities to look deeper past the filters of offensive terminology. Yes, not all people chose to partake in highlighting a person's deficiencies, but some did and couldn't see past the person themselves.

To this day we are still fighting those very same battles, they are just disguised differently. The BLM movement alone proves the similarities. How looking past the outer vessel can do us all a world of good.

Language, skin, gender, auditory and sensory perceptions, and much more should all be treated with a kind heart. Deep down we all have the same components of a genetic DNA makeup and blood rushing through our veins.

Switching gears, might we find our focus wrapped around the element of designing with assistance in mind? A container of five tools is below. These tools were created with accessibility in mind when considering any new physical or digital design.

1. Empathy— Can be used in the pre-development phases of design. When we use our extrasensory preceptors to gauge what it feels like to experience life with a disability, then we’re able to connect the proper dots with specific needs. Our empathy can offer a garden of hope to many.

2. Utility— Where function meets form. This type of work is more about finding direct solutions for concerns people with disabilities have in the real world. If we follow a path of understanding those with precise needs, we can create and make better designs for everyone.

3. Awareness— Finding the sweet spot. Our minds are very busy attending to our daily deeds, but we have an opportunity to be present when designing. Conscious design will allow for better solutions. It brings attention to those areas that have been hiding behind the veil of our subconscious.

4. Inclusivity— People love to be a part of something, and people with disabilities are no exception to the rule. As we keep that in mind, we can turn to a new page in design communities. Many processes would benefit by being more inclusive versus exclusive. I guess the question to keep in mind when designing is who do you want to design for? Everyone or a small niche.

5. Equitability— The root of the thriving tree. When we put our biases at bay, and our conscience reaches new heights, we can begin to think about equity. We can imply justice towards our design reasoning, giving natural fairness to all design solutions. This makes for better balance and more dynamic results.

If we all do our part in creating space for everyone, the flow of life will start to develop a more harmonious sequence. Future generations will have the opportunities that people who came before us never did. This is why designing with accessibility in mind is imperative.

The changes we start making today have lasting effects. Those ripples in the fabric of time create holistic approaches that bind our collective future like glue. So what’s next on your design journey’s agenda? Let the inspiration begin.


Created by

C.E. McDonald

An inspirational writer advocating for great change. Through a unique vision and cutting-edge content, I offer my readers thought-provoking creative solutions that answer the big whys and hows.







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