Accessible design should never be boring

Was your last campaign created with accessible design in mind? Accessibility is everywhere and whilst it’s regularly considered in User Experience (UX) design, it often falls short in creative design. Or worse – people think that in order to make design accessible, it needs to become simple, boring and safe.

It’s very sad, and unacceptable, that such basic skills are not being taught to budding creatives at college, university or even junior designers. As a result, new and talented creatives are coming into the workplace without the appropriate knowledge to be able to design for accessibility.

There is a perception that by mentioning the ‘A’ word you are putting limitations on their creativity and enjoyment of the project – but that should not be the case. It’s a skill that should become a habit; understanding how different audiences interpret and view your design and the impact that changes, such as typography and colours, can have on them.

Accessibility isn’t just about ‘obvious’ disabilities – it’s not just about sight or audio impairment, or elderly audiences who may struggle to interpret designs. It’s also about younger audiences who have less-visual limitations, such as stroke, dyslexia or colour blindness.

Of course, it’s not just creative design that needs this in-depth consideration. It’s also copywriting, website design, app design and marketing strategies. We need to grab attention quickly – so producing boring accessible campaigns will not hit the mark. We need to be clever – tease out fantastic new concepts and messages that are understood and engaged with quickly by our audience.

Creatives should regularly interrogate their work and the impact that it has in the real world, learning to adapt and evolve campaigns, designs and writing to get bigger and better results. Understand what we are trying to achieve, who are the real people we are communicating with, and what are their limitations? It may be disability, age, or even lack of time – but it could also be that they are fed up with seeing email campaigns, bored of standing at a station seeing the same adverts with the same stock photography.

Put yourself in your audience’s shoes, look at your work with fresh, critical eyes.  It’s the best way of delivering better results. Kate Eady is Managing Director and Brand Strategist at Wrapped Agency in York. Find out more about how Wrapped can help with your design, brand, strategy and digital campaigns.

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