Practical lessons and resources from working in visualization and accessibility

Frank Elavsky

What is design?

I am less certain than I was when I first started designing

Design is an uncertain practice

All design involves a spectrum of a priori uncertainty and decision-making

What does it mean to be a designer?

Community organizing helped me see the power of social action

Change is possible

There are many ways of knowing

(a great technical achievement)

And then I left and got a corporate job


(alt text)

126 accessibility criteria we had to pass

WCAG (or the web content accessibility guidelines) have 78 criteria

(> a quarter of all people)

(my limited focus)

(many more barriers exist)

My lack of knowledge had a tangible impact on who was included in visualization

My biases created priorities, and those excluded some people

Standards and guidelines

(Chartability's webpage)

Until we involved real users

Standards and guidelines set the floor of an experience

(the old)

(the old)


Users teach us what a good experience is

Accessibility for some is a barrier to another

(chart textures can be a barrier for some!)

A single, static design simply cannot always be accessible for everyone.

"Access friction"

Access frictions challenge the notion of standardized access

I don't know what I don't know

I'm pretty certain I don't know a lot of things

Access frictions bring us back to uncertainty

Designing is a way of knowing

Design is an act of anticipation


...can help us predict

Model-building is a conservative act.

the empty space

Is a better world always going to be built out of what we have already seen and done before?

"End-user design"?

"Softer materials"

cutting curbs

What if we brought the soft back into software?

Design with anticipation