Usability and accessibility » Visualizations

Sebastian Greger This is a living document
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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.

Standpoints

Data visualization cares disproportionately far too much about designing for colorblindness relative to other disabilities that are more common (visual impairments included).

(A thread on disability, race, and patriarchy in data visualization.)

— Frank ⌁ (@FrankElavsky) January 18, 2021

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

Colors

Alt text

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:

SVG

Vector graphics, with SVG itself being semantic, provide ample opportunities for designing accessible data visualizations. But mastering this skill is far from easy:

D3.js

Comics

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.

Blind Accessible Comics spinweaveandcut.com
The demo at comica11y.humaan.com by Paul Spencer is a showcase of various techniques to make a digital comic accessible for all.

A blog post sharing a list of resources from a webinar on the topic of accessible comics.

Intros

Case studies

Resources

Hubs

Chartability chartability.fizz.studio

Lists

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.

My monthly email newsletter has all of the above, and there are of course also an RSS feed and Twitter.