September 24, 2023

Inclusive bites

Curation of inclusive design from across the internet (mostly) to inspire and inform the design of more inclusive products

Cresent moon
Cresent moon
Cresent moon

Slack UI updates

#disability #languageandcommunicationabilities #neurodiversity

In 2022 Slack released a host of updates to make the platform more accessibility and equitable.

With an improved experience for screen readers and better keyboard navigation.

A year on and Slack has released a new update to it’s UI doubling down on it’s commitment to building accessible tools for work.

The redesigned Slack has been built with focus in mind. “…big part of the redesign’s accessibility is a conscious reduction of cognitive load”.

The latest updates had 3 focus areaas:

  1. A single view for what’s important

  2. Focus on deep, uninterrupted work

  3. Your most useful tools, one click away

This translates into:

  • A new, dedicated view for all your direct messages

  • One place for everything that needs your attention: mentions, threads, reactions and app notifications

  • A place to stash conversations and notifications that you want to come back to

  • Quick access to tools to boost your productivity, such as canvas, workflows, apps and more

“A pleasant Slack experience is a ‘need to have’, not a ‘nice to have’. That’s why we’re making sure that everyone can use Slack, in whatever ways fit them best.”

Lego Braille Bricks, Learning Through Play

#disability #educationandtraining #languageandcommunicationabilities

There are over 2 million people in the UK living with sight loss

As of September, Lego will start selling bricks featuring studs on top that correspond to a letter, number or symbol of the braille code.

"These unique LEGO® Braille Bricks, created by the LEGO Foundation, are a fun and playful way to introduce braille to anyone who wants to learn!"

The LEGO Foundation sees learning through play as crucial for children’s positive development, regardless of their situation.

These specialist bricks were tested and developed in partnership with blind organisations around the world, free of charge to a selection of schools and services catering for vision-impaired children since 2020.

Lego hopes the initiative will help parents and siblings share in learning braille, and the packs will include ideas for a range of educational games that families can play together.

Given natural language processing technology, that can turn written text into spoken word, some argue that braille is out dated. However, blind adults like braille as it allows them to multitask by using their their fingers to read while listening to other things.

The European Blind Union (EBU) says spelling, reading and writing are improved through knowledge of braille which in turn contributes to higher levels of education and better employment opportunities for those who are vision impaired.

The braille bricks are another product from Lego championing the UN's Sustainable Development Goal 4 - "Ensure inclusive and equitable access to quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all."

Fortnite Visual Sound Effects

#disability #languageandcommunicationabilities

At the time of writing there are over 1 million people playing Fortnite. Despite being released in 2017, the game still pulls in more than 230 million people on average, monthly. If you’re one of those, you’ve probably heard of this feature - visual sound effects.

This is a great example of the curb cutting effect. Here Epic Games have produced a feature that creates a more inclusive game, in this case for those who are hard-of-hearing, also creates a feature that benefits all users.

Turning on visual sound effects allows you to more easily identify the direction and proximity of chests and players with on screen prompts.

Fortnite character standing waiting to play. Arcs, centre right of the screen indicate the direction of sound. One in orange shows direction of gunshots. The other in white shows the direction of footsteps

Uber Women Rider Preference Feature


This feature gives Women and non-binary drivers more choice in how they earn on the Uber app. In recognition of nearly 6,000 reports of sexual assault from both riders and drivers across the United States in 2017 and 2018, in 2022, Uber introduced the ability for women and non-binary drivers to only receive pick-up requests from other women.

"This feature can give you extra peace of mind when driving during optimum earning hours, such as in the evening.  Empowering you with more confidence to earn anytime, anywhere and allowing you to improve your earning opportunities"

Female driver with female passanger

Airbnb 'Your Face Here'

#age; #disability; #ethnicity; #sizeandshape

Airbnb have revamped their visual identity to make it more inclusive and this article by Jennifer Hom explains the evolution of Airbnb’s illustration style as part of their Design Language System (DLS) to be more authentically representative.

When designing for inclusivity it’s important to plan and research and the article is a great case study for that. Jennifer goes on to give 3 tips for creating diverse illustrations for a global community.

  1. Embrace differences. Accurately represent different races, ages, abilities, and body types.

  2. Keep it real. Cast characters who aren’t all white men, and reference photos for every person drawn.

  3. Reflect everyone. Consider all types of diversity, including the disability community who makes up 15% of the world’s population

The post highlights the importance of reflecting different races, ages, abilities, body types, and disabilities in the illustrations to celebrate the global Airbnb community and promote inclusivity.

“When a person appears as an outlined white space while their hair and clothing have color, it’s easy to assume they’re caucasian.”

The ultimate goal is to break away from outdated norms and create a more diverse and authentic visual brand identity.

”“Normal” is diverse. My goal is to move the needle of representation in tech, but it’s not a responsibility I or Airbnb can carry alone. The tech community must consider the fabric of who makes up their companies, and how that identity is presented to the world. It’s time to be radically honest about our differences.”

evolution of Airbnb visual identity to be more inclusive

IKEA 'ThisAbles'

#disability; #sizeandshape

IKEA 'ThisAbles' project set out with the aim to democratise the use of its furniture by creating 13 open-source add-ons, freely available to download and 3D print — for anyone, anywhere, anytime.

Each product is designed intentionally to solve a different accessibility issue.

IKEA Israel created a first of-its-kind accessible space in order to give people with disabilities the option to try and experience the products, just like everybody else.

What started as a solution for 1 in 10 Israelis, grew into the biggest worldwide disability operation IKEA has ever done!

National Autistic Society Low Contrast Toggle

#disability; #neurodiversity

When visiting the NAS website, you can toggle the contrast of the page. We live in an age of 8k screens and eye catching colours. For people with Autism, who can have difficulty in processing everyday information, their senses may be over- or under-sensitive, or both, at different times.

This is a nice example of essentially two variations of a product designed intentionally with a specific user in mind.

There's a great guide on the NAS website highlighting sensory differences for all audiences.

Comparison between high and low contrast modes on the National Autistic Society's website

Figma Config ASL Toggle

#disability; #languageandcommunicationabilities

Perhaps one of the less talked about features from Config, but for me one that's more interesting and important is the ASL toggle on their website that allows users to watch the event recordings with an ASL translator in the bottom right corner.

The toggle feature makes these videos accessible to a whole new audience who may rely on ASL to communicate.

ASL toggle for video content on the Config website