Agile Testing Days: Making a web for everyone by Michael Larsen

Wow Agile testing days is in a class of its own. So relaxed fun and full of friends old and new! Everyone is a hugger so be prepared. 😛

This morning I listened to 2 sessions. One by Michael Larsen I want to mention now as it was about a topic close to my heart, accessibility.

In my places of work we have ignored this in the past and actually it goes hand in hand with good UX design and responsive design so why don’t we make that extra effort up front?

Here are my notes from Michael’s talk.

Why accessibility as a topic?

  • We should build products that are designed to allow as many people as possible to access information.
  • Allow people with disabilities have a similar experience as their normative counterparts.
  • Good design that helps all of us.

Why focus on accessibility?

  • In some countries it is the law. Why limit your user base.
  • It is the right thing to do
  • It is good business.

Can you put yourselves in peoples shoes? What about blindness? Deafness? How would that affect your app usage? Have you ever turned on the screen reader on your computer?

Michael highly recommends the following book for more information as well. A web for everyone.

Types of disabilities:

  • There are normative/primary disabilities: Deafness, blindess
  • But there are also secondary disabilities, that we all can related to. IE. phone call at a loud concert.

Products are not just designed for a small group of people. We can all go from normative to significantly disabled without notice. What then?

Principles of web accessibility:

  • avoid making assumptions about your users’ ability
  • you can only guarantee that someones tech can send texts thats it
  • users time belong to them not us – don’t take control of either without good reason
  • provide good text alternatives for non text content
  • use widely available technologies
  • use clear language to communicate your message
  • make your sites usable, searchable, navigable
  • design your content for semantic meaning and maintain separation between content and presentation
  • progressively enhance your basic content – allow content to degrade gracefully

Heuristic Be HUMBLE


Humanise – understand the emotional content

Unlearn – step away from your default, maybe with using duct tape to resritct movement or using gloves. Try to control your computer with your voice.

Model – use personas, consider pace and behaviour differences

Build – learn about the tools to test with and discover the barriers

Learn – what are the barriers how do users perceive understand and operate

Experiment – put yourself in literal situation, collaborate with designers and programmers and provide feedback

Different terminology

Design accessibility up front – be agile about it – but use a different term. Accessibility has baggage associated with it this tends to be around money and law suits which has a negative connotation.

Use inclusive design

I really enjoyed this session and can’t wait to explore the topic further and order the recommended book. 🙂 Also a tip from my last place. If you just start paying attention to simple things like using alt tags and nudge the team you can make a real impact without much effort to your user base!

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