• Co-learning at Accessibility Club #8 – some notes and thoughts

    Accessibility Club is a meetup where professionals, enthusiasts and curious novices discuss how to create accessible digital technology. The 8th event of this series once again saw me inspired by what is essentially a random agenda with unpredictable topics – and outcomes! The day started with two presentations. No invited speakers or keynotes, just two […]

  • Selected a11y insights from my past year

    Designing accessible technology is a continuous learning process. These are some insights from the past year I wrote about on this blog.

  • Reposting a Tweet by Accessibility Club

    Joschi Kuphal and a11yclub just released the tickets for the Accessibility Club meetup Düsseldorf 2019, May 15!

  • On low-hanging fruit and using the right tools for accessibility (A11Y Berlin meetup #6)

    The 6th A11YBerlin meetup featured talks on "Getting the first 30% of accessibility issues" and "Accessible PDF".

  • The UX design case of closed captions for everyone

    Are video subtitles chiefly for users who cannot hear or lack an audio device?

  • Bookmark: Exclusive Design

    The first time I heard about Vasilis van Gemert’s experiment, in the lead-up to his talk at beyond tellerrand Berlin 2017, I openly admit it took me a moment to get my head around the idea. The thinking he applies to challenge and extend prevailing perspectives of “inclusion” can appear somewhat counter-intuitive at first, given […]

  • Rail travelers need web accessibility, too!

    Using train WiFi on a Deutsche Bahn train is a great example how accessibility efforts (here: image alt text on Twitter) benefit everybody.

  • IxDA Berlin #69: Inclusion and diversity – first hand

    25 September 2018 marked the first World Interaction Design Day, running under the global theme of “Diversity and Inclusion in Design”. The Berlin IxDA chapter arranged an inspiring event, inviting two speakers who examine these issues both personally and professionally. My preferred conference talks are commonly those with a personal story behind. The latest IxDA […]

  • #A11YBerlin meetup series kicked off with two great talks

    The newly established Accessibility Meetup Berlin had a great start in January, featuring speakers looking at the topic from two different angles.

  • 2+2(+n) beyond tellerrand talks to watch – Berlin 2017

    Early November is beyond tellerrand time in Berlin – the cosy web and design conference hosted by Marc Thiele. Despite something like 500 attendants, this two-day event feels like a family reunion – and just like last year, the talks on offer were nothing short of mindblowing. A friend, yet to attend one of these […]

  • Bookmark: A day without Javascript

    It must have been in 2006, in my first full-time web-related job back at Satama Interactive that I was not only introduced to, but I myself actively promoted (in our then state-of-the-art web standards advocacy group, together with Harri Kilpiö and others) that any website should work without JavaScript enabled. Back in those days this […]

  • Bookmark: How to get the most value out of remote user research (without breaking the bank)

    From my first-hand experience, this lightweight research process described by Rian Van Der Merwe is incredibly efficient. In the article it is summarized as chosing: The RITE testing method (Rapid Iterative Testing and Evaluation) The right remote usability testing tools The right fidelity The right people to talk to The right way to analyze and […]

  • Bookmark: The inaccessible web: how we got into this mess

    Mischa Andrews lists five reasons how the web, an accessible medium by default, ended up in an inaccessible mess: We can (and do) learn to make websites without learning accessibility We’re not held accountable for inaccessible products Assumptions guide us astray The legislation doesn’t tell us what to do New trends push technology into untested […]

  • Turning the Feb 2017 AWS outage into a case for “offline first” design

    Allow me to begin my ponderings by picking up a point made by Karissa Bell on Mashable related to the major disruption of Amazon’s cloud services that took down a wide range of online services: Amazon’s lengthy AWS outage Tuesday was a stark reminder of just how much farther we have to go to realize […]

  • Using the “Cognitive bias codex” for design concept evaluation

    Cognitive bias – the tendency of the human brain to interpret information based on unrecognised irrational factors – is a phenomenon that has been fascinating me for well over a decade. There is no more efficient way to improve the quality of a design concept than by doing a heuristic evaluation on potential cognitive biases […]

  • Bookmark: Why Nothing Works Anymore

    Ian Bogost, in this piece on The Atlantic, expands the notion of “precarity” from the economic into the technological sphere – the instability and unpredictability of (technological) objects: The frequency with which technology works precariously has been obscured by culture’s obsession with technological progress, its religious belief in computation, and its confidence in the mastery […]

  • Bookmark: Top 10 Enduring Web-Design Mistakes

    The results from this large-scale study by Nielsen Norman Group are significant not so much for what usability issues they identified to be most common, but the fact that these are still the same basic problems that have been around as long as websites have: The big news? None of the top issues today is […]

  • Bookmark: Discrimination by Design

    A great read on how the long history of discrimination by design continues in the realm of the digital. It’s likely that as long as humans and their institutions hold prejudices and bias, their designs will reflect them. This upsets me every time I see yet another shiny digital product that embraces what its designers […]

  • Social media and usability – people-centred design in communications

    Social media and usability are words rarely expressed in one sentence. Publishing in social media means adherence to a strict corset: the services limit the length of texts, unify the appearance of messages and profiles, and define the interactions enabled around them. If usability in only seen as a question of easy-to-use and smooth interfaces, the means to make an impact are indeed limited. But considering technical usability along with context of use and individual worth for the user, communication professionals can largely improve the usability of their organisations' social media channels.

  • Ignoring social inequality in design: poor customer experience

    As sociologists, we frequently use inequality as a lens to examine various dimensions of social life. A blog post by Jenny L. Davis illustrates how the non-use of technology (in this particular instance, due to lack of access) may not only be a manifestation of the so called “digital divide” – the topic of the […]

  • MoMo – the anxiety that strikes when friends become non-users

    The impact of social technology’s non-use on its users is sometimes abstract to explain. But every now and then, the issue surfaces in very accessible manner as in an editorial piece by Radhika Sanghani on the Telegraph. While active social media users, through constant sharing of detailed accounts from their lives, can cause their friends […]

  • The job anniversary that wasn’t

    A few days ago, I noticed an interesting item on my LinkedIn feed that serves to illustrate one of the instances how non-use may manifest itself in social web services. A message featured in the news feed encouraged me (and likely a large number of others) to congratulate a former colleague for her 5 year […]

  • Leaving the phone behind: Intentional disconnect and the appropriation of “flight mode”

    “Leave your phone behind”, a recent writing by a NYC startup CEO on LinkedIn gained quite a bit of traffic and comments when Rafat Ali suggested to create short periods of disconnection from the omnipresent network and its distracting forces. Both in the article and the 100+ comments by the readers, there is a sense […]

  • Scarcity of personal time resources as a reason for quitting Facebook?

    The Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project published some interesting non-use related numbers related to Facebook, in a report titled “Coming and Going on Facebook”: 61% of current Facebook users say that at one time or another in the past they have voluntarily taken a break from using Facebook for a period of […]

  • Designing for social interaction – value and experience beyond the interface

    The IxDA Helsinki October meeting was an evening filled with discussions about the current state of interaction design, the industry and new ideas. Paavo Westerberg rocked the house with an insightful and lively presentation about 15 Golden Rules for creative processes and event host Idean shared some impressions by their US-based staff in a video […]

  • Social littering: When “social media” turns friends into spambots

    “Press ‘Like’ and win an iPad”. “Share your workouts with your friends”. “Complete your profile to tell more about yourself”. Digital services bubble over with calls for users to share more about themselves, about products and people they like as well as about their digital traces from software tools or web services. The primary motivation […]

  • When sites promise privacy but deliver leaks instead – a designer’s view on Firesheep

    The release of Eric Butler’s Firesheep, a browser add-on allowing to hijack browser sessions over unsecured wireless networks without any technical expertise, has triggered a flood of commentary how users may protect themselves. However, while protecting their own connection makes a user safe from having their account hijacked, this leaves the core issue unsolved: As […]