Just Creative

I’m Jacob Cass, the founder of JUST™ Creative. I’m a multi-disciplinary graphic designer, working with clients all around the world. My specialty is logo & brand identity design. JUST™ Get in touch.

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Accessibility & Integrity

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Accessibility

I was recently humbled and amazed at an email I received through my brand identity questionnaire and I just had to share the story, not only because it opened my eyes to something amazing, but something I would never have thought of and I’m sure not many others would have either.

To cut to the chase, the lady who was inquiring about my brand identity / design services was blind.

Although accessibility should be built into in all websites, I still find this fact extremely fascinating. I simply can’t fathom the process of trying to find the right designer without being able to see their work. Thankfully these days, there are text-to-speech programs for the visually impaired, that literally read aloud the words on the screen. There are also Braille displays.

Have you ever thought about how a blind person may go about hiring you? It just goes to show there is much more to the business of design than your portfolio.

Interestingly enough, the reason for her choosing to contact me as stated in my questionnaire, was that she could “hear the integrity of my work”, when her computer read aloud my articles. This to me is extremely humbling, especially considering the words are spoken with a robotic, computerized voice.

The lesson learned here is that blind people still need designers too! To put this into context, in the US alone there are over 17 million people with a visual impairment! Quite a niche I must say.

Have you had a similar experience with accessibility?

Photo credit: Shutterstock


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10 JUST™ Creative Comments

  • Robin Cannon Reply

    Hmmm, this is an interesting one.

    I’m assuming that in enquiring about hiring a designer, a blind or visually impaired person would still be looking to target primarily non-vision impaired users. That’s a really interesting design challenge, because obviously the most effective way for someone to assess a designer’s work is to look at it.

    Accessibility is an important issue, and much of it is down to good coding practice and well structured content. That’s something that every designer should be pursuing.

    I’m not sure the 14-17million visually impaired people in the US constitute a niche. What kind of website would be targeted at a consumer base that simply shared a similar physical disability and may otherwise be entirely disparate.

  • Jacob Cass Reply

    Robin,
    I would agree with your assumption about targeting all users however in regards to the niche, I wasn’t referring to creating sites for the blind but rather, offering accessibility to all whether it be as a USP or a standard included feature.

    But like you said, “Accessibility is an important issue, and much of it is down to good coding practice and well structured content. That’s something that every designer should be pursuing.”

  • Jamie Wayne Reply

    Hey Jacob,

    Your right when you say “It just goes to show there is much more to the business of design than your portfolio.”

    Your story reminds me of my first web design project last year and my client was the owner of a non-profit, deaf-interpretation organization and accessibility played a big role here. Following section 508 helped me a great deal when making sure I was designing for the right audience.

    Good luck. It must be an honor.

    Jamie Wayne

  • Karen Cayamanda Reply

    It would be ideal of web designers could normalize the needs of differently-abled persons by integrating blind people’s needs into their regular work.

  • Heidi Helyard Reply

    This really is fascinating area of design. When at uni, I designed a typeface (and exhibition system) based on Braille, that meant both sighted and visually impaired people could access the information simultaneously. During my research I came across lots of beautiful tactile magazines, means of raised printing etc. Not sure about web design as I am not a web developer. Though I read recently about colour choices for web pages when considering colour blind users. That was also really interesting and could be applied to print.

  • Cody Reply

    That is fascinating! I’d never thought of accessibility to be honest so my head is reeling at the possibilities. Thank you!

  • Joshua Parkhurst Reply

    Great article, I’m glad you brought that up. I too had a blind client recently Who hired me to design a monthly newsletter and brochure design, and it really got my wheels turning. What caught this client’s attention was a referal from another client of mine (which makes sense). But something that also intrigued me was that blind clients still have some way to critique, or approve, the work provided. In my case the client’s wife (who could see) would describe what the piece looked like. But even with that, there is still a massive amount of trust that goes with a design project like that.

    It’s an absolutely huge reminder for us designers to always be considering how an individual may be viewing our site or work differently than we would.

  • Ben Clarke Reply

    Wow, When i go about developing my websites i do keep to the accessibility standards we set our selfs so people whom are visually impaired can browse a site knowing what each picture is and what each piece of text says. Its always amazed me how much they can adapt to keep up to with the latest in technology.

    Thanks for the insight. All the Best
    Ben

  • Ken Reply

    Wow. Just wow. That somewhat never crossed my mind and all I feel is fascination over what you’ve experienced there.

  • Ivelisse Troy Reply

    It’s an absolutely huge reminder for us designers to always be considering how an individual may be viewing our site or work differently than we would.

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