A Guide to Accessibility in UX Design (With Resource List)

Crystal Campell shares tips and insights to help UX designers create more inclusive, accessible products.

Team Designlab
Team Designlab
Apr 7, 2022
Min Read

As a UX designer, you have the power and duty to inspire positive change. 

To create products that can not only be enjoyed by all of our audiences, but can also be used in a way that is not harmful to others or the planet. 

But moving towards a more inclusive design process often requires a high level of courage on the part of designers. Sometimes this courage takes the form of leading the change in your own team. Sometimes it’s the courage to speak up in the middle of a project, or ask the hard questions no one wants to ask. 

And it always requires finding the courage to advocate for inclusive and accessible designs, planet-minded solutions, and business models that are sustainable.

Courageous Design: Creating Products that Matters

Courageous design is a moral strength to advocate for people and the planet in our designs. 

Recently, we were able to sit down with our very own Crystal Campbell, Mentor Experience Lead here at Designlab, to talk about what it actually means to practice courageous UX design. 

If you’re looking for thought-provoking inspiration about accessibility, inclusivity, and creating designs that matter, this is absolutely the webinar for you: 

About Crystal Campbell: 

Crystal has held leadership roles in Service Design, Innovation, UX, Strategy, Digital Transformation, and User Research across a wider variety of companies and industries including many big banks, Virgin, Skype, Vodafone, Coca-Cola, Microsoft, as well as various U.K. GOV departments and local councils. She is interested in driving planet-centric design practice and understanding how we can be designers with purpose, leaving a positive impact in our pixels.

What is Accessibility in Design? 

Accessibility and inclusivity in design is about making products and services that work for everyone, regardless of their background or circumstance.
When you design with accessibility in mind from the start, you create an environment where everyone can benefit from the product or service, not just those who don’t have any disabilities.

Why is Accessibility Important?

For users, accessibility in UX design means they can use the product or service without having to worry about whether it will work for them. It means that those who have low visibility or color blindness, require screen readers, etc., can still access the information and overall experience of your product. 

On the business side of the equation, designing with accessibility in mind means that you can reach a wider range of customers, and are not imposing barriers because of a poorly thought out design or flow. 

A List of 65 Design Accessibility Resources

In an ideal world, every UX designer would have access to appropriate UX research and testing resources.

Fortunately, there are tools available to help bridge the gap when you need to understand your users better, but lack access to them. 

In Crystal Campbell’s Courage Design webinar, she lists out a few of the resources available to UX designers who are serious about embracing the concept of accessibility and inclusivity. You’ll find links to the resources below, along with many others that can enhance your work:

Accessibility Best Practices

Learn some of the common guidelines and principles behind accessibility. 

1. Material Design Guidelines
2.Inclusive Design Challenge Generator
3. Microsoft Inclusive Design Toolkit
4. Ontario Gov Inclusive Design Principles
5. What is Plain Writing?
6. User Research Consent Form Template

Ethical Design Resources

Learn more about courageous, ethical design and how it can enrich your own product design process.

7. What is Ethical Design?
8. Digital Rights
9. Design Ethics and Activism
10. Tools and Templates
11. Personal x Design Values Set of Cards (Etsy)
12. Designer’s Code of Ethics
13. Do Good Pledge

Dark Patterns and Honest Patterns

Dark patterns are the antithesis of accessibility, since they take advantage of user psychology and behaviors in order to trick people into performing (or not performing) an action that they intended to.

14. Dark Patterns Library
15. Where Do We Draw The Line?
16. Recent Legislations

Algorithmic Bias

Learn more about the biases that are built into algorithms, and how they affect the world we live in.

17. Meyer's Personal Story about Inadvertent Algorithmic Cruelty
18. Pinterest's New Features
19. Inclusivity and the Algorithmic Bias Paradox
20. Interesting Gov UK Review on Algorithmic Bias
21. Algorithmic Bias in Healthcare
22. Testing the Algorithmic Bias at Uber

Planet Centric Design Resources

Interested in learning more about planet-centric design? Here are a few great sites and articles to bookmark. 

23. Oda Design for Carbon Awareness Case Study
24. Sustainable Web Design
25. Measure Your Website's Carbon 
26. How Green Is Your Website?
27. QR codes for a System's View (Luxury Tech)
28. Earth Definition for Video on Mobile
29. Design Tools
30. Creating a Planet Centric Future
31. Envisioning—and Designing—a Planet-Centric Future

Empathy Generators

Empathy generators are tools that help you consider your product from a wider range of user viewpoints. 

33. Generates multiple perspectives and a range of circumstances
34. Uses the Microsoft Inclive Scenarios
35. Empathy Prompts for Disabilities
36. Try the Idean Cards for Humanity generator for inclusive personas

Archetypes / Pen Personas / Pen Portraits for Accessibility

Persona resources that are specially designed with inclusivity in mind.

37. UK Gov Data Driven Open Source Accessibility Personas
38. Cambridge Uni Data Driven Open Source Inclusive Design Personas
39. w3 Org Stories of Web Users Pen Personas/Archetypes
40. Short & Sweet Accessibility for Digital Projects Pen Personas/Archetypes/Student explorations
41. A set of diverse people illustrations for your personas

Simulators for Acessibility Usability Testing

Here are a few simulators that allow you to experience what a digital experience looks and feels like for those who have a disability. It is a powerful way to step outside your own bias and develop a richer sense of empathy for your users.

42. Funkify Disability Simulator plugin for Chrome (also a Figma plugin)
43. Proxy Persona Testing
44. List of Figma Plugins for Accessibility

Accessible Design-Related Movies & TV Series

Here are some thought-provoking movies and TV series that can add to the conversation about accessibility in design.

45. Devs
46. Social Dilemma
47. Dont Look Up
48. The Social Network
49. The Great Hack

Books About Accessible Design

A few titles to add to your reading list for inspiration and insight into some of the richer concepts of good UX design, and the overall impact your work has on the world at large.

50. Beyond Sticky Notes
51. Good Services: How to Design Services That Work
52. Tragic Design: The Impact of Bad Product Design and How to Fix It
53. Design Justice: Community-Led Practices to Build the Worlds We Need
54. Ruined by Design: How Designers Destroyed the World, and What We Can Do to Fix It
55. Future Ethics
56. User Friendly - How the Hidden Rules of Design Are Changing the Way We Live, Work, and Play
57. Ends
58. Do Good Design

People to Follow

Here are a few leaders in the field who are passionate about accessibility and inclusivity in design.

59. Vivianne Castillo
60. Lou Downe
61. Sasha Costanza-Chock
62. Tim Frick
63. Kat Zhou
64. Alba Vilamil
65. Laura Kalbag

Become a Courageous UX Designer

Whether you're an experienced designer or are still considering whether you'd like to become a UX/UI designer, there's always an opportunity to have conversations with your peers and coworkers about what it means to remove barriers and embrace an inclusive mindset. It's a topic that we're passionate about here at Designlab, and continue to encourage with new design students in our programs. 

Want to dive deeper into inclusive and accessible design? Check out our course on usability and accessibility techniques for UX design.

Want to become a UX designer? Check out UX Academy, our flagship program that helps you turn your passion for creativity into a UX/UI design career. 



Launch a career in ux design with our top-rated program

Top Designers Use Data.

Gain confidence using product data to design better, justify design decisions, and win stakeholders. 6-week course for experienced UX designers.

Launch a career in ux design with our top-rated program

Top Designers Use Data.

Gain confidence using product data to design better, justify design decisions, and win stakeholders. 6-week course for experienced UX designers.