Tagged With accessibility


Thanks to the cult of Apple and other companies with slick products or presentation, it’s become stylish to talk about applying “design principles” to other disciplines. But according to designer Rie Nørregaard, the key design lesson we should all learn is one that many designers are still learning themselves: designing for more than the “default” user.


There are many examples of individuals with different disabilities who excel and accomplish much in their lifetime, rendering physical or mental attributes meaningless -- consider Stephen Hawking, Stevie Wonder and Helen Keller, among many others. But certain tasks and careers are more or less suited to some disabilities than others. Thankfully Ray Charles could sing and compose without his sight, but if his natural talent had been as a sportsman then the world may have not seen him rise to fame. Today's technology offers many new possibilities, not least the opportunity to work in the information technology field itself.


For many of us, the Windows Magnifier tool is something we've occasionally activated by accident. There's a lot more to Magnifier in Windows 7 then just a big box that shows pixellated mouse movement, however. It makes for a great laptop-in-bed helper, for example.


Mobile phones might be ubiquitous, but that doesn't mean they're equally well-designed for everyone. If you're short-sighted, seeing small buttons may be impossible; if you have limited muscular control, then a touch screen's a non-starter. Nokia Australia has just published an accessibility guide for its phone range, which includes some useful tips on picking the right phone model for your needs and setting it up for accessibility (in amongst the inevitable self-serving corporate gumpf and cheesy photography). While it's Nokia-specific, the guidelines are potentially useful whatever phone you end up buying.Nokia Accessibility Guide (PDF)