People Interact

Blog about people-centered design by Lisa Chow and Sandra Sajonas.

Tag Archives: accessibility

Fall METRO UX Meetup Recap

We had a great Fall METRO UX meetup a few weeks ago in an awesome space where we learned about how Andrew Chepaitis (founder of ELIA Life Technology) and his team have used industrial design, organizational psychology, design thinking, and user testing to develop and tweak their tactile based system for the visually impaired.

Our meetup members were excited to hear and learn about ELIA and there were conversations about the potential for future collaborative work together among different groups/organizations/individuals, which is exactly one of the main things we hope our meetup does — connecting people and groups in improving UX.

Check out the photo slideshow below.

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Till our next meetup.

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Accessibility – Available But Not Available For Use

accessibilityRecently I was walking by the library and noticed that a library staff person was on her way to locking up the gate for the ramp entrance and at the same time, a parent with a child in a stroller was about to enter through the gate. The staff person said that the library is closing soon and that they will have to use the front entrance (no ramp, just steps). At this point, the gate for the ramp entrance was not locked yet. As I watched the staff person lock up the gate for the ramp entrance, I noticed that the parent was struggling to push the stroller up the steps. Parent, child, and stroller eventually made it into the library building. By that time, the staff person finished locking the gate and was walking back on the ramp to go into the building.

What I can’t understand is why the staff person wouldn’t let the parent with the child in the stroller use the ramp. Chances are, based on my observations, if the staff person let them use the ramp, she still had more than enough time to lock the gate. While the library may be stating that accessibility is important (i.e. they have a ramp), it doesn’t make a difference if the ramp is available, but not available for use.

Another story: A few years ago, I was visiting a newly renovated library and noticed that they now have a button-activated door (you push the button and the door opens). I decided to use that door. I pushed the button. Nothing happened. The door did not open. Meanwhile, people were using the regular door. I pushed the button again. Nothing. Maybe it’s broken? I decided to pull the door handle. Nothing. The door was locked. I used the regular door.

Am I being too critical? What do you think? What are your thoughts on accessibility? Sound off in the comments.

Top Posts of 2012

Everyday Usability: Accessibility and Self-Service

On a recent field trip to Farmingdale Public Library, we came across these self check machines. They are height-adjustable. First one we’ve seen anywhere.

Self check machine at library

Buttons to adjust height

Check out more posts in our Everyday Usability series.

New ADA Interior Signage Rules

You may or may not be aware that on March 15, 2012, new requirements for interior signs took effect under ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act).

Under these new rules, guidelines are outlined for typography, signage location, visual characters and even signage glare.

Although these guidelines are intended to assist the visually impaired, these requirements really assist all of us (universal design – i.e. curb cuts on sidewalk makes things easier for people with wheelchairs, strollers, shopping carts, etc.).  By setting a standard, the ADA is ensuring consistency and continuity, making our wayfinding experience easier.  Thank you ADA.