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What to do when – Accessible Design Edition

This is a trimmed and jiggled version of things from a larger (and Work In Progress) list: More Accessible Products.


  • Think non-binary.
    • Think about these things might impact the interaction: input methods, browser, operating system, screen size and resolution, user preferences and choices, network connection (cost, speed, latency), age and condition of hardware, age of the person, experience level, assistive technology.
  • Consider potential barriers to access.
    • Where might a person’s ability come into a conflict with the product? Consider Auditory, Cognitive, Physical and Visual aspects. Consider more than one aspect at a time.
  • Know the Standards:


  • Design in layers
    • Think about a text-only version to clarify the order and content.
    • Think about an HTML-only design (no presentation, no layout) to clarify the single function of each interactive element.
    • “Go off The Happy Path”. Consider all the ways errors might occur.
  • Add annotations to designs. Help engineers build the right thing and build the thing right.
    • Heading levels
    • Accessible names for form controls and group of controls
    • Text alternatives for non-text content
    • Keyboard interactions
  • Use standard controls where possible to make things as widely supported as possible. Give a rationale for deviations from standards.