051: Accessible Design = Better Design with Derek Featherstone

User Defenders podcast
051: Accessible Design = Better Design with Derek Featherstone

Derek Featherstone teaches us how designing for people with disabilities is really just better design for everybody. He shows us how people with disabilities aren’t different from us, they just use different tools to accomplish the same things. He encourages us to apply empathy to grow our skills in learning how to design for accessibility. He also reveals how taking small steps to incorporate something new into our design process could change everything.

Derek Featherstone is an internationally known speaker and authority on accessibility and inclusive design. He has been working on the web since 1999, starting as a web developer. He migrated to the field of accessibility and quickly discovered the need to move thinking about accessibility and inclusion into the design process. He founded and led an international team of accessibility and usability experts at Simply Accessible, which was recently acquired by Level Access, where Derek is now the Chief Experience Officer – focused on ensuring that accessibility and inclusion are seen as an integral part of user experience and service design, rather than as a simple checklist afterthought. Derek lives in Ottawa, Canada with his wife and their 4 children. He’s also a fitness instructor and 3 time Iron Man triathlon finisher.

  • Origin Story (5:53)
  • What Were Your “Aha” Moments? (12:02)
  • Why Do We Tend to Forget About Disabled Users? (17:15)
  • Tools Disabled Folks Use to Navigate (20:47)
  • Accessibility, Greater Than Aesthetics (31:37)
  • Has Designing for Accessibility Ever Made Things Worse for Majority of “Able” Users? (36:14)
  • Story of Biggest Triumph in Designing for Inclusivity + Accessibility (42:36)
  • What’s a Roadmap for Learning this Stuff? (44:56)
  • Contact Info (47:35)

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