Accessibility for People with Invisible Disabilities

Erin Newby

Levitt Auditorium • October 28 • 3:05 pm

Watch on YouTube

Accessibility is one of the most talked about but least practiced areas in the design community. Why? With roughly 20% of people in the US reporting to have a disability many of our users have some sort of barrier to our products or services. A large portion of that 20% have conditions that aren’t obvious to an onlooker but limit daily activity. These invisible disabilities range from anything from anxiety to chronic fatigue. If we make uninformed design decisions we affect these users by crafting experiences that take a toll on their cognitive load and reduce their task performance. Though we recognize that there is no one size fits all approach to UX we can make better design decisions that will lower the barrier to using our products, increase user retention, and provide pleasure in the interaction between user and product.

In this talk, I’ll dive deeper into accessibility and explore what exactly it means to have an invisible disability. I’ll cover how some wheels are better left un-reinvented by exploring how existing design patterns and practices already help to improve the experiences of this subset of users. I want to share what I’ve learned by explaining how making better design decisions increases user retention, gives you a competitive edge, increases your customer base and many, many other useful outcomes.