Copy
The UX newsletter for people on a mission
by Tamara Sredojevic.


April 2021 - Lockdown season n°38361.

Bonjour

(Hello)
First of all, thanks to everyone who sent feedback about this newsletter last month! I've decided to adapt my tips for you into three sections: the things you need to know, the things you can do and the bonus. I will continue to focus on accessible and ethical UX. But I'm hoping to make it easier for you to progress on your a11y journey.

Things to know

Technology doesn't make accessibility hard. People who don't care do.

If I could get a euro every time I've heard "well, it only impacts a small number of users”, I'd be writing this newsletter from a private island in the Indian Ocean. Everything that makes accessibility difficult ties back to one root cause: People not giving a damn about others who are different. Here are all the arguments you need to fight back and rally people to make equal experiences a priority.

How to write alt text and image descriptions

If someone went on your website with their eyes closed, would they still be able to find their way around? You can lift barriers for people using assistive technology by adding alt text and image descriptions. But there are guidelines to follow, including the length of text, what to do with image text verbatim, and the features to describe or leave out.

Texting etiquette for low vision

The other day I was having a conversation about using too many emojis and "lol" online. I had not really considered how it could impact people with low vision until I found this excellent article from Veronica about texting etiquette. It's not just about using (or not using) emojis. It's also about case sensitivity, abbreviations, punctuation, weblinks and more.

Things to do

Use clear language

For your copy, I always recommend using clear and plain language. No jargon, no buzzwords. It helps people with time pressure, stress, multi-tasking, low literacy or cognitive impairments. Think of it as the elevator in a massive building. You don't have to need it to enjoy the benefits. You can check the Readability Guidelines App for more information.

Keep your forms short

Long forms can be intimidating because they require more effort to complete. When you’re defining the scope of the design, take some time to evaluate each input field: Can you get the info from a different source or later in the process? Can you do without this field at all? If the answers are “yes,” then those fields are probably unnecessary and should be eliminated. This process might require more time, but the reduced user effort and increased completion rate make it worthwhile.

Use an accessibility annotation kit

When handing off your design to developers, it's best to document accessibility considerations. I found this great Figma kit to add callouts for elements, indicate focus order, or specify keyboard interactions. That should help prioritise accessibility as part of the whole process rather than a last-minute fix.

Bonus(es)

This month, I'll be hosting another AMA session in collaboration with the Charity Hour. The topic is what makes a great charity website, so join us on 21 April at 8pm (GMT) on Twitter. Just look for #charityhour to follow the conversation.

You can also start digging in Stark's library – inspired by Hannah Milan's amazing work on a11yresources. You’ll find thousands of carefully curated accessibility content grom all over the internet—from articles and tools, to courses and guides. And it all covers a spectrum of topics like Gaming, Software & Tools, Standards, and more.

Speak to you next month or come say hi on Twitter!
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