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Actions for Accessibility in Design
When it comes to tech, truth is, fair isn’t the default. But there are steps we can take collectively to make technology work better for everyone. Last weekend marked the 30th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and to celebrate that landmark moment, I've gathered resources to propel us to design for all, not just right now, but every day. There are over 1 billion individuals living with a form of disability (be it visual, hearing, motor, cognitive, or situational). Accessing the web via individualized keyboards, adaptive hardware, or alternative cues, this population isn’t always represented in our systems. Remote work presents even more possibilities for exclusion. As UXers, we’re in a position to make the platforms and products we work on more accessible. Browse these resources and let's take action in our designs:• Start with web updates: evaluate websites you manage for accessibility errors, increase color contrast if needed, and make sure all images include alt text (for more, see Material Design’s accessibility guide). For apps, use these accessibility scanners for Android and iOS.• Explore our series on designing for global accessibility, put together by UX Researchers Astrid Weber and Nithya Sambasivan. Part I: Awareness, Part II: Context, Part III: Inclusive Defaults.• Learn how to make your online meetings inclusive. Here’s how we’re leveraging tools for accessible remote learning at Google.• See what’s worked and what hasn’t: Interaction Designer Shabi Kashani recounts her trials and errors, and Jen Devins, Head of Accessibility UX at Google, shares how designing for accessibility can improve the whole system.• Connect with others online and spark conversation via Clarity Conference and NYC’s accessibility and inclusive design (currently virtual) meetup group.• Watch Crip Camp on Netflix to witness the power of a movement, and join one of Crip Impact's free weekly webinars.• And check in with yourself! Empathetically designing for others involves refining our own emotional intelligence. Try Dr. Marc Brackett’s RULER framework. • When you’re ready, take these steps to get your team to invest more in accessible design.I hope some of these links can help you! Share your favorite tips or any we've missed at @googledesign—we love hearing from you.—Erin Kim, Social Media EditorReferences:Accessibility Scanner for Android (Google)Accessibility Scanner for iOS (Google)Blind Inclusivity Resources (Perkins)Color Contrast Analyzer (Paciello Group)Community & Accessibility Online: A Conversation with Chancey Fleet & Taeyoon Choi (Data & Society)COVID-19 is Reshaping the Future of Work for People with Disabilities (Source America)Cultivating Emotional Intelligence: Dr. Marc Brackett in conversation with Brené BrownDesigning for Global Accessibility by Google UXersFair is Not the Default: Why building inclusive tech takes more than good intentions (Google)Hosting Accessible Online Meetings (University of Washington)How People with Disabilities Use the Web (World Wide Web Consortium)How to make remote learning work for everyone (Google)How to make the case for accessibility on your team (Google)Material Design: Accessibility GuideWeb Accessibility Evaluation Tool (Google)
Celebrating Pride in Design
As Pride Month winds down, we’re keeping the celebration going by highlighting LGBTQ+ stories and communities to join in the months to come. At Google, the 2020 Pride Committee has committed to donating $2 million to organizations that work year-round to uplift and meet the needs of vulnerable LGBTQ+ communities; Read about the initiative, and get to know the global grantees. To shine light on the powerful history of the movement, we recommend beginning with an immersive tour of Stonewall Forever, a digital monument highlighting queer life before the riots (made in partnership with The LGBTQ+ Center). Familiarize yourself with leading activists, past and present; Netflix documentaries on trans representation and Marsha P. Johnson are good places to start. And walk through 6 moments in contemporary LGBTQ+ design history—from ‘40s queer zine culture to Monica Helms’ Transgender Pride flag in 1989. Or browse the pages of Queer x Design, which captures the signs, symbols, banners, posters and logos used by LGBT+ activists.Want to get more involved with the community today? Explore these groups supporting queer UXers working across design and technology: • Check out Queer Design Club’s robust chat space of almost 1,000 LGBTQ+ designers from around the world and the ever-expanding directory.• Join one of Out in Tech’s daily virtual events and see how the nonprofit creates opportunities for its 40k+ members, leveraging tech for social change.• Learn from Lesbians Who Tech, a cross-industry community of LGBTQ+ women, non-binary and trans individuals, and allies—Stacey Abrams, Elizabeth Warren, and Megan Rapinoe were some of their recent speakers!• AIGA NY and Queer Design Club are teaming up for an online conversation on the queer experience in design, discussing QDC’s first field-wide survey with vibrant LGBTQ+ creatives across disciplines.• Build skills and grow with TransTech, an incubator for LGBTQ+ professionals that focuses on economically empowering transgender and gender nonconforming individuals.• Listen in on June 30th as Queer Tech NYC spotlights work that’s been founded, coded, and developed by the LGBTQ+ community.• Join LGBTQ in Technology, a safe, confidential chat space with over 250 conversation channels, making sure no voice goes unheard.• Queer Tech Club is a monthly happy hour event for professionals in Chicago, now with virtual hangs you can join from anywhere! Their Slack community for LGBTQ+ folks and allies is a great additional resource.• The Trevor Project also offers resources to help allies be more supportive.Anything else you’d like to share? Give us a shout over at @googledesign. And Happy Pride!
Designing for Equity
At Google Design, our goal is to support the future of design and technology for all. This involves introducing new voices and amplifying less-heard ones. Now, more than ever, the design community must not stay silent. We at Google Design stand in solidarity against racism and violence. Across Google, Sundar Pichai and Black leaders are collaborating on next steps towards change; Read Sundar’s letter on the company’s commitments. Here on the Google Design editorial team, we’re working to uproot bias in our own work by critically examining our role in driving equity through the narratives we share. We’re holding each other accountable with a collective curriculum and study group across our team.Below, we’ve gathered some of the strategies, resources, and organizations that are helping us improve our processes and ourselves. If you’re not sure where to start, we hope these tactics, and practitioners who are making moves towards equity can be helpful to some of you, too. Start here:• Hire talented individuals from the Blacks Who Design directory.• Diversify your feeds and follow the creatives featured on Revision Path Podcast.• Listen to Antionette Carroll, Founder of Creative Reaction Lab, share why she sees design as system building rather than object building, and adopt Equity-Centered Community Design into your practice.• Understand the role of shame amidst power dynamics in research in UX Researcher Vivianne Castillo’s talk: Ethics & Power.• Explore what it means to transform technology systems in the spirit of justice and equity with Timnit Gebru, Google research scientist and Co-Founder of Black in AI.• Identify the role you can play as an ally through design with Researcher Dimeji Onafuwa’s powerful talk from SPAN 2017 Pittsburgh.• Plug into conversations like Where are the Black Designers, which seeks to stir change in and out of the design industry.• Analyze cases of “discriminatory design” with Ruha Benjamin as she discusses the relationship between machine bias and systemic racism, and tools for a socially-conscious approach to tech.• Listen to Benjamin Evans’ untraditional route to leading inclusive design thinking at Airbnb.• Get to know organizations that are working towards equity and support them: Code2040 mobilizes the largest racial equity community in tech, Black Girls CODE provides African-American youth with coding skills, Pursuit trains adults with the most needs and potential to advance in tech, and The Center for Urban Pedagogy joins designers, policymakers, and community advocates to demystify urban planning issues. • And for more learning, explore Theo Shure’s Race, Representation & UXR and Isabelle Yisak’s Incomplete List of Resources for the Equity-Centered Designer.Have something you’d like to add? Tweet us @googledesign.
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