Inclusive Design & Considering All
At the start of the design process it is important to put people in the center at the very beginning; considering who may be excluded from particular design practices or features. It is important to include and learn from fresh and diverse perspectives to make design as inclusive and accessible as possible. It is easy to fall into the “one-size-fits-all” approach and only consider the usual capabilities of the majority of users, but inclusive design delves deeper into considering people with disabilities, and other differences such as language, gender, and more. Inclusive design considers adaptations to design in times when experiences don’t serve people in the way they should; in providing empathy for others with other conditions, inclusive design serves a larger population of people of all abilities. Without accessibility and inclusive design, especially in terms of social media, one would miss out on connecting with a full range of potential audience.
SJU Speaks Instagram Account & Accessibility
For my project, specifically in terms of the SJU Speaks Instagram account, I want to ensure I maintain inclusive design practices; considering people’s various abilities and diversity. Disability, at its root, comes from mismatched interactions in the form of physical, cognitive and social exclusion. In my Instagram account, I want to be able to use key features to adapt SJU Speaks to be as inclusive and accessible as possible. In all of my posts, I will incorporate the ALT text feature which helps those who are visually impaired– they can also hear the ALT text being read to them, describing the images. In terms of video posts, I will ensure that I incorporate subtitles throughout the duration of the video for those who may have an auditory disability or are hard-of-hearing. These adaptations also can be used for those who have temporary mismatched human interactions; for example if someone who wears contact lenses or glasses wants to view one of my posts, but does not have their visual aid on, they can still hear and learn from the ALT text which will allow them to still interact with my content.
Learn More: Instagram ALT Text Importance & Tutorial
Recognizing Disability Firsthand & Adapting to Changes
It is actually very important to learn and recognize those with disabilities and varied needs; I actually just had one of my video interviews with a student who brought up some information about his disability that I would not have known otherwise. I asked the question, (as I have asked all of my interviewees), “do you have any disorders, disabilities, or impairments that you would feel comfortable sharing?” and “how do these affect your campus experience at SJU?”. To my surprise, he told me that he actually has a visual impairment that caused him to take off a semester of classes at SJU due to surgery and recovery. He told me that the SJU Success Center and his professors have been extremely helpful with accommodations, especially providing PDFs and scans of all assignments that he can zoom in on his iPad. He says he needs to have a lot of materials and assignments increased in size in order to see them. This made me think about a) how someone my age at SJU I NEVER would have thought had a visual impairment, has one, and b) how incredibly important it is to create with the intention of serving all and being accessible to all.
SJU Speaks Brand Book & Accessibility
With this, I decided that for my brand book, I will not only print it out, but will also provide PDF versions that can be zoomed-in on. I will ensure that all of the text on the PDF can be read aloud. While right now I am working in Illustrator, the finalized brand book will be converted to an Adobe PDF. In Adobe PDF, on the top-left menu, users can click “view” and then “read out loud”. Users can choose to have the whole document read or just their current page. Ideally, if the University had the materials to implement all possible access design solutions, I would like the brand book to also be printed in Braille, but hopefully the PDF and read-aloud text will help those with visual impairments, especially since a brand-book is such a visual-heavy resource.
Learn More: Adobe Accessibility Features
Distribution & Reach
I will be distributing and getting word out about my project in various ways: in the form of flyers with QR codes, stickers, Instagram posts (and reposts on my own personal accounts), DMs, following student and SJU accounts, story posts, participation in video interviews and photoshoots, Instagram live streamings, and word-of-mouth. I hope to reach not only just a large portion of the student body, but also hopefully SJU administrators who can make changes to common student concerns and implement ideas brought forth publicly in the SJU Speaks account.