This was originally a post for my newsletter uxforthewin.substack.com.
Inclusive Design 24 is a free, annual, online, live 24-hour event that amplifies talks around inclusive design. This year’s event started at 23:30 UTC on September 21 and continued through 0:00 UTC September 23.
This year was their 10th event, but this was my first year attending. Although I thought I would watch only a handful, I found each talk so insightful that I ended up watching 19 of the 24 talks, live. I needed some sleep y’all.
Keep in mind that my personal highlights barely scratch the surface of what was covered in these talks.
Highlights from the 19 talks I watched
- The Recipe for Making Accessible Widgets!
Rabab Gomaa explains semantic HTML, ARIA and keyboard support then provides graphic and code examples to show us how to use those 3 factors to design more accessible digital content. I took lots of notes!
My favorite quote: “Accessibility = usable for all“
- Empathy is broken - Moving from cognition to compassion
Lydia Hooper draws on expertise in non-violent communication and covers a lot of ground to include what empathy is and isn’t, neuroscience of empathy (as a cognitive science major, I loved this part), blockers of empathy including lack of self-awareness, how self-empathy can increase our empathy for others, and suggest various resources for further learning.
My favorite quote: “Empathy is critical if we want to design in ways that serve the needs of all people… understanding and addressing those needs.“
- Overlays Underwhelm
Adrian Roselli exposes the barriers that accessibility overlays compound, and sometimes create, by walking through numerous examples while pointing out potential privacy and security risks they pose, and offering alternatives.
My favorite quote: “… so that’s 3 WCAG failures on the button from the overlay vendor that triggers the accessibility features *sigh*“
- The UX of accessibility checklist
Marion Couesnon shares insights about the shortcomings of accessibility checklists (I will never look at checklists the same) and provides detailed and actionable steps to mitigate their inherent shortcomings.
My favorite quote: “Having an accessibility checklist… is just a first step“
- Practical Styling in Forced Colors Mode
Mike Herchel teaches us how to address common problems with forced colors modes using CSS. Mike shares fixes for issues with form elements, SVGs, background images, and focus states, then walks us through testing methods
My favorite quote: “Users will come up with their own palette so they can see/use your website better and we need to accommodate that.“
- Tips and tradeoffs to designing accessible escape rooms
Matt Ater and Rachael Bradley Montgomery give an intriguing talk about approaches they’ve used for designing escape rooms with fun themes that also minimize participants’ anxieties and support differences in participants’ physical, auditory, visual, and cognitive abilities. They also compare and contrast in-person vs virtual rooms.
My favorite quote: “People have a lot of joy in finding things”
- Power and Participation in Research
Catherine Collins examines lessons learned from a case study to highlight ways to optimize engagement with people who have relevant lived experiences and ‘reconfigure’ power so our research can produce more accessible products and experiences.
My favorite quote: “There’s definitely the challenge of educating people with power on the fact that they have power”
- The indisputable truth about accessibility
Johan Huijkman’s eye-opening talk discusses the challenges of convincing businesses of the importance of accessible design and offers his effective approach to overcoming this hurdle. I have exclamation marks throughout my notes.
My favorite quote: “When we think about and talk about accessibility, focus on user needs instead of disabilities”
- How to be inclusive to neurodiverse people
Rachel Morgan-Trimmer shares personal stories about neurodivergence, explains what neurodiversity is, discusses the business case for inclusion, shares 7 tips to be more inclusive, and shared tangible examples, including her “phone hotel” (you gotta see it).
My favorite quote: “We can be quite powerful when it comes to inclusion, even with an act that’s quite small”
- Dangerous Design: Why We Need to Think about Design Ethics
Kate Every tackles the topic of ethics head on. Kate illuminates how ethics map to values, emphasizes that there’s no universal definition of ethics, urges that impact is more important than intent and guides us through practical steps to design with ethics in mind.
My favorite quote: “The trans-atlantic slave trade, it was both fully legal at the time and entirely unethical”
- Let's stop making each other feel stupid
Clare Sudbery reminds us that we all have gaps in knowledge, talks about impostor syndrome, discusses behaviors that perpetuate making others feel stupid, shares practical tips, and offers us The Stupidity Manifesto and The Wheel of Confusion.
My favorite quote: “Don’t assume that everybody knows more than you; everybody knows different things than you”
- Making the web a more welcoming place for minority languages
Linda Keating emphasizes how technology is never neutral by examining examples of how products/designs are inherently biased, then goes on to encourage us to interrogate our assumptions and respect differences.
My favorite quote: “Flags are not equal to languages”
- Trauma-informed Website Design
Melissa Eggleston addresses this sensitive topic with the respect it deserves, discussing what trauma is and how it can be triggered by the barriers we design, explaining how designs are conversations, discussing principles and universal precaution that can guide us with trauma-informed design, and recommends some excellent books and resources to continue learning more.
My favorite quote: “Being trauma-informed is shifting from ‘What’s wrong with you?’ to ‘What happened to you?’“
- Design on the Spectrum: Creating a More Inclusive Workplace
Lona Moore offers a personal narrative and walks through the Rose-Thorn-Bud framework to facilitate introspection as a first step to creating more inclusive workspaces, emphasizes that we need to “expect to feel uncomfortable,” and goes on to propose team level and organizational changes.
My favorite quote: “Inclusivity starts with you”
- Removing Bias with Wizard of Oz Screen Reader Usability Testing
Annabel Weiner and Courtney Benjamin provide a fascinating talk about what they learned when using the Wizard of Oz method for accessibility/usability testing. They offer details on how to plan and conduct the tests and share their insights from lessons learned. Fascinating!
My favorite quote: “Accessibility conformance doesn’t guarantee a good user experience”
- Beyond the Water’s Edge: Integrating DEI Into Orgs’ External-Facing Work
Malcom Glenn discusses how organizations can be effective with diversity, equity and inclusion with their product and in communities. Malcom offers many questions that companies can ask themselves including ensuring that their teams have the demographics of those whom they serve, measure their efforts, and break down barriers to access
My favorite quote: “Having diversity at a company
- Performative Equity & Inclusion
Zariah Cameron shares personal stories of inclusion and exclusion, explains what performative equity & inclusion looks like, and steps to put long-lasting actions behind E&I promises including conducting research and ensuring alignment with principles at the start of every initiative.
My favorite quote: “Feedback is a gift”
- A designer’s guide to documenting accessibility
Stéphanie Walter walks through how and where she documents all aspects of her designs to improve internal consistency, team efficiency, and communication about accessibility. Stéphanie shows excellent examples for everything and truly inspired me to level up my documentation game.
My favorite quote: “Documentations is not a substitute for communication”
- Building UX research practices for inclusion
Josh Kim and Maureen Barrientos discuss the pros and cons of research tools and methods, biases that stem from researchers, and the systemic influences that impair research and inclusion. Pros and cons are followed up with actionable recommendations.
My favorite quote: “Foster justice, not just inclusion”
The 5 talks I missed, but plan to watch the replay
- Inclusive Persona Extension
by Kazuhiko Tsuchiya
- Really inclusive online conferences
by John Allsopp
- Web Accessibility for Speech Recognition users - A pragmatic approach
by Priti Rohra and Shashank Kapur
- An inclusive design workflow for teams
by Scott Vinkle
- 360° Accessible Book Publishing
by Laura Brady and Tzviya Siegman
Last, but not least..
I honestly can’t imagine the logistics of backstage coordination of the 6-person crew successfully orchestrating a 24-hour, live event with 11 guest hosts and 29 speakers while managing technologies and navigating various platforms including YouTube, Twitter, and Slack, plus a host of other things I know nothing about. Thank you. 🙏🏾
Thanks for reading. If you know anyone who would find this useful, please share. If you have any questions or feedback, feel free to contact me.