Usability and accessibility » Visualizations
Commonly based on advanced visual representations, the accessibility of (interactive) information and data visualizations is often very limited. A growing community aims to tackle these limitations by developing and showcasing best practices.
Data visualization cares disproportionately far too much about designing for colorblindness relative to other disabilities that are more common (visual impairments included).— Frank ⌁ (@FrankElavsky) January 18, 2021
(A thread on disability, race, and patriarchy in data visualization.)
Frank Elavsky highlights how the debate is too much focused on colourblindness etc., with is also a systemically male-focussed approach, and other aspects would be much more important to tackle.
Specific aspects of dataviz a11y
Creating descriptive alternative representations of data visualizations is a complex task. While the general considerations for alt texts apply, visualized data comes with additional considerations:
It gets even more complicated with interactive presentations, as the interactive features have to be represented in the alternative content as well:
Vector graphics, with SVG itself being semantic, provide ample opportunities for designing accessible data visualizations. But mastering this skill is far from easy:
There is an active community working on questions of how to make comics more accessible. Their work can also inform other fields of making visual content accessible.
A blog post sharing a list of resources from a webinar on the topic of accessible comics.
- How (not) to make accessible data visualizations, illustrated by the US presidential election. by Sarah L. Fossheim
- What we can learn from Apple’s dataviz accessibility by Sarah L. Fossheim
Some websites that collect resources around this topic:
I'm Sebastian, Sociologist and Interaction Designer aiming to bring together social science and design for inclusive, privacy-focused, and sustainable "human-first" digital strategies. This is my "digital garden" with carefully curated resources. For a more stream-like outlet, see my journal.