Digital Inclusion Mindset: Start with Empathy

Oftentimes it is only when someone close to us is impacted by a disability that the awareness of the importance of accessibility in design becomes real, and I’m no exception.  The memory of observing a close family member who had recently lost his vision as he tried to navigate a Learning Management System with no success is imprinted on my brain.  It was heart wrenching, and a defining moment which has become a catalyst during the past 14 years prompting me to learn about, teach about and raise awareness about the importance of accessibility in design. 

In the absence of personal experiences, there are many resources available to explore and share with your team, your leaders and your organization to assist in building empathy that drives home the impact of accessibility and how it helps to foster digital inclusion.

One of my favorites is the Accessibility Empathy Lab that Duque University has developed. It provides simulations and information that enables people to experience to a certain degree, being low vision, being deaf or hard of hearing, having cognitive challenges and more. It’s well organized, provides consolidated access to a broad range of resources and is well supported. For those seeking to provide empathy building experiences to individuals or groups, it’s a great resource start with.

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