Accessibility: The lost principle from a section of U’sX(user’s experience)
In this blog, we first try to define the aspect of the need for accessibility feature to be incorporated into the user interface design. We try to identify the whitespace in the Fiori design w.r.t accessibility for people with disabilities. In the end, we try to propose a solution to address the whitespace or the needs of the users with disabilities.
SAP Fiori is the path which defines the path towards a better UX – User Experience. The pillars of SAP Fiori paradigm are its five core principles. The principles cover the aspects necessary to ensure a good, if not better UX. The principles set the benchmark in terms of the solution adhering to the end user’s usage experience. However, in spite of having finally focused the attention to its actual users, we seem to have ignored a set of end users. The users who are differently abled are ignored and in many cases not at all accounted for. I hope to bring the attention also towards this set of users with this blog.
Accessibility refers to the design aspect of products, devices, services, or environments for people who experience disabilities. According to the definition, the design of the application should ensure that interface also supports users with disabilities. Ideally, if there is a common denominator in terms of simplistic design, we need to set the bar at the stage which caters to users who experience disabilities w.r.t machine interface. Even though, with the simplistic design we set the bar for a user with little or no knowledge of the machine/computer/mobile; we tend to ignore the aspect the accessibility.
The principles of Fiori UX are; simple, responsive, coherent, delightful, adaptive and role-based. All the principles ensure that the interface is prepared for changing device and expectations of the user. The principles ensure that users are not forced on a platform or device. They also ensure a better experience for the users, mainly in terms of the performance( predominantly, screen rendering speed ) and look & feel. The design aspect of the interface has to be deeper than just the look and feel. The actual design of the application is about how it works and it should consider all types of users. In the world of construction, each construction has defined parameters to ensure that the building is compatible for people with disabilities. Unfortunately, in the software world and esp. w.r.t user’s interface, it is more a nice to have feature. In fact, it’s nowadays not even talked about as a feature.
In the actual design phase, where we scratch out the wireframes, we need to start by identifying the users. We need to categorise the audience in terms of functional knowledge based users and physically challenged users. By identifying them at the early stage, we can use the opportunity to include some basic components into the interface design which will facilitate the users with disabilities. Some of the design options could be: To consider short-cuts for all buttons; Settings option on the application interface which will allow configuration to screen in terms of contrast/sizes or button etc..
As always, technology is available at our disposal but it’s the stakeholders who need to push for it. If the client does not push for it, then the architect has to push for it. If the architect does not do it, then the technical lead should do it. And if everyone ignores it then the developer need to fight for its inclusion. It’s not to patronize the actual task but to fulfill the actual purpose for which the solution is implemented. The motto should be : Maximum adoption and minimum interruption.
Please feel free to share your opinions and views on the article.