How to improve implementation, testing and iteration of UX design for accessibility

Accessibility icons shown at the bottom of an image showing Dave working

The role of a UX designer ensuring a good accessibility experience doesn’t stop at the development stage

Once in development there is so much more a UX designer can do for their project, and a foundational understanding of expectations is critical.

For example:

  1. How would a screen reader understand this page?

  2. If a user is using a keyboard, how would the page tab correctly?

  3. How does the page scale if a user increases the point size?

  4. If there is video content, is it captioned?

Once agreed as a team, these should be built into the Acceptance Criteria of each feature (epic, user story, whatever system you're using). At this point it is understood by all, is testable and won't get lost.

Click here for a reminder of what accessibility is, and why we should care about it.

Testing — who is responsible for checking accessibility?

You should work with your development team to ensure your intentions around accessibility are understood and interpreted correctly. You will no doubt have an approval process with your developers, so can work together on that.

Do you have a QA team? If so, they should own testing the work passes agreed accessibility standards, as well as functional requirements.

How are you testing the accessibility of your app?

There are lots of tools available to check the functional accessibility of a website. At Brightec we have used PageSpeed Insights which gives a pretty thorough diagnostic of each page.

For apps, our QA team use built-in tools from Xcode and Android Studio. These can also help your developers as they build.

How to maintain accessibility as you iterate and grow your product

Once you have systems and standards established it is far easier to maintain accessibility as you grow your product than when getting started..

Document well, set up your design systems thoroughly, template your acceptance criteria, communicate the message to the appropriate stakeholders, and continue to ensure you are on top of current guidance.

Your client and their customers will thank you for this hard work!

Speaking of thank yous…

There is no way I could have compiled this rough guide without the extensive groundwork of many intrepid and dedicated people, all who have made huge inroads into making the web and digital product space a more accessible place to be. Thank you.

I have referenced and linked as I have gone along, but apologise to anyone I may have inadvertently quoted without acknowledgement.

I’m sure I will have missed something as accessibility is a huge field — if you notice an omission or error please get in touch so we can correct as we continue to update this guide.

External resources

In addition to the resources mentioned throughout this series, we have compiled a short set of useful resources here:

Dos and don’ts: Short, concise post by on designing for accessibility

Series of posters created by gov.UK on designing for accessibility

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