Within Easy Reach

This post is part of a series on Design for Engagement.

Engagement > Immediacy>


accessibility problem: turning sheet music pages (WSJ 2009)
It's morning. Your smartphone alarm app is ringing. You don't have your glasses on ...of course. You fumble to hit the snooze control. You hit the off control. You sleep in and miss your train. Bad accessibility.

SwiftKey makes smartphone text entry more accessible
Accessibility is the degree to which a product, device, service, or environment is available to the intended audience. For example, alarm clock app controls may not be accessible to a user who has not yet put her glasses on, price information displayed on a screen is not accessible to a blind person, a small displayed on a smartphone browser may be difficult for a man with large hands to press .

Text entry on a smartphone is less accessible than text entry on a laptop. Although SwiftKey makes text input more accessible on a smartphone by enabling gesture input on the keyboard, forms and input fields should be used only when necessary.

Because bigger text is easier to read than smaller text (i.e., more accessible), information presented in larger fonts are perceived as easier to follow than the same information in smaller fonts (Kahneman 2011). The web service IFTTT uses this insight to help make programming seem easy.
IFTTT uses large fonts to make programming seem easy

Bottom Line

  • Consider the context in which your audience will experience your proposition (whether it is a product, service, or offer). Do physical, cognitive, or other limitations make your proposition less available to your audience? For example: time pressure, background noise, poor eyesight, low resolution screens…
  • Design for accessibility. Everyone , including you, benefits when your design considers the needs of people with disabilities, because increased accessibility leads to increased engagement.

Easy to grasp? Or am I over-reaching? Help me out by leaving a comment below. Please engage.

This post is part of a series on building customer engagement.

If your interests extend to theory and philosophy, please check out my other blog.


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