5 Talks on Accessibility

Mia E Lee
Mia Ellis-Lee
Design & Frontend Development
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In my previous blog post I briefly touched on the importance of communication in designing accessibly. Talking and listening to people with disabilities about their lived experience and ideas is critical to creating effective solutions that work equally well for everybody. With that in mind, here are five excellent talks on accessibility that I’ve come across.

 

David Berman - Web Accessibility Matters: Why Should We Care

In the first video of this five part series, Ottawa-based accessibility expert David Berman explains the importance of web accessibility. Berman describes a few of the reasons that everyone should care about web accessibility, from our overall societal responsibilities to tangible benefits for organizations (for example, better SEO or exposure to new markets). If you’re new to thinking about accessible design (especially as it pertains to the web), this is an excellent primer video.

 

Mileha Soneji - Simple Hacks for Life with Parkinson’s

Mileha Soneji’s family faced new challenges following her uncle’s Parkinson’s diagnosis. Fortunately, the product designer was up to the task of designing creative, low-tech solutions to help alleviate some of the problems faced by those with Parkinson’s. Soneji’s solutions revolve around a strong understanding of those who she is designing for and the challenges they face. This video reminds us that accessibility issues are everywhere, and sometimes the solutions rely less on cutting-edge technology and more on human ingenuity.

 

Elise Roy - When We Design for Disability, We All Benefit

Lawyer, artist and human rights advocate Elise Roy is charismatic and insightful as she describes her lived experience and her inventive solutions to the problems around her in her TED talk “When We Design for Disability, We All Benefit”. Roy advocates that when we implement design thinking and communicate effectively, rather than create pre-determined solutions - we all benefit.

 

Michael Nesmith - Why We Need Universal Design

Deaf creative designer Michael Nesmith tackles issues of accessible design every day at his job at Amazon. His work, educational, and lived experience have helped him and forced him to create ingenious solutions to the problems that surround him. Nesmith describes how these experiences and the tenets of universal design have helped him inform his design process. In doing so, he lays out how universal design can benefit everyone, well, universally.

 

Chris Heilmann - Accessibility & Web Optimization

In this 40 minute talk, Microsoft developer spokesperson Chris Heilmann reminds us that accessibility isn’t limited to physical disability but concerns hardware and connection accessibility too. Levels of hardware capabilities and connection rates vary worldwide, and often differ drastically according to socioeconomic context. Due to this, inaccessible digital products can leave out huge segments of the worldwide population. Heilmann’s passion for this and the web at large is obvious in this video as he delivers compelling arguments for accessibly designed and developed products.

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