We all see the world through our own eyes. It’s often difficult to be empathetic to those around us because we see the world from our own viewpoint. To better understand why accessible digital technology is important, we need to open our eyes to the perceptions of others.
Microsoft’s page, Inclusive – Microsoft Design, has a nice toolkit to help increase awareness of the need for diversity. Inclusive design is an important step towards equality for everyone. We all benefit from inclusive design, no matter our level of empathy for another human’s perceptual capability.
There are fun and challenging ways to gain empathy for others’ viewpoints. Check out EmpathyPrompts.net dyslexia prompt. It shows how a document or web page might look to someone with dyslexia. There are other disability simulations available, too. Choose the “Show Another Prompt” button to see and hear more empathy inducers.
Some challenges might prove a bit more, well, challenging. Try out a couple of these:
- Put on a blindfold and attempt to read email.
- Put in ear plugs and attempt to listen to a podcast or watch a video.
- Put a band-aid on your thumb and attempt to unlock your phone with the thumb print reader.
You probably found them all challenging, right? There are solutions to those difficulties and they are born out of inclusive design.
- Screen readers are available for those who are print impaired. Screen readers help the blind and dyslexic by reading a computer screen with text-to-speech. They can even help sighted people who have fatigued eyes.
- Transcripts and captions are a useful way to provide equal access to audio material. They can also be useful for those who are trying to understand audio materials in a noisy environment.
- Temporary disabilities like cut fingertips are fairly common. We all experience them at some point. You should be able to unlock your phone with a password if your thumb print can’t be recognized.
Empathetic designers create digital materials that are accessible to all people, no matter their perceptual capability. What are you doing to ensure your materials are accessible to all? Please do share your ideas. The smallest changes in awareness can make big waves in our thriving community of diverse life long learners.