Healthy - example
For a healthy customer a product might look like you think it does. But even healthy customers are often affected by situational disability.
Have you ever been struggling to use your smartphone under direct sun, to read small print letters during a shaky car ride or to listen to something in a noisy environment?
Due to environment conditions and other circumstances, all people routinely find themselves in situations which put them into the shoes of a person with a disability.
Therefore adapting products and services to people with disabilities improves the final experience for all customers.
Low vision - example
3.6% of customers suffer from vision problems even despite wearing the correct glasses.
There is a great variety of visual problems that different people experience.
Among those are a blurry or shaky image, inability to read small text and to recognise details, over-sensitivity to light (and light backgrounds), difficulty in perception and navigation due to not being able to see the whole but only a tiny portion of it and other problems.
Good non-intrusive ways can usually be found to address such needs and to make a product friendly.
Blindness - example
0.6% of customers are blind and experience products in a completely different way which can be either good or bad.
Blind customers use alternative methods of doing things which are based on hearing and touch rather than sight and they often rely on modern assistive technologies for this purpose.
The big difference is whether the particular product in question offers compatibility with such technologies.
This is hardly evident at first sight for a seeing person, but it makes as big difference for a blind person as is between chalk and cheese.
Support for assistive technologies is something that can be added to an existing product.
Dyslexia - example
4% of customers have real trouble understanding written text due to dyslexia.
Dyslexia is not about people who failed to learn how to read and write in school.
Although symptoms vary in different cases, people with dyslexia report troubles in understanding words because letters seem to be swapped in them or lines seem to be moving and waving in front of them when reading longer texts.
Since texts often look different from what they really are, individuals with dyslexia also often have troubles in typing text correctly and other people can easily mistake that for them being uneducated or reckless.
Various non-intrusive improvements can help people with dyslexia greatly – the inclusion of illustrative images, adjustments in the formatting of texts, provision of a spell-checker or auto-filling forms.
Such improvements usually make life easier for all other people as well.
Motor difficulties - example
2.5% of customers have trouble operating websites or products due to motor difficulties with their hands.
The most common difficulty is loss of precision in actions performed by hands, for example, touching a product interface at a rigorously defined place or performing a multi-finger gesture. There are also more serious cases such as the inability to use hands at all.
Modern assistive technologies make it possible to operate everyday products such as common mobile applications (think YouTube, Skype, Facebook, ...) even if the person is able to operate only a single switch, e.g. by pressing it with a foot or even just by blinking an eye.
This does not require to rework the product from scratch, but to include rather subtle adaptations to the existing product that make it compatible with these assistive technologies.
Colour blindness - example
5% of customers experience the effects of various types of colour blindness.
Colour blindness is the unability to distinguish between certain colours and their shades, most commonly red and green or blue and yellow. Some people only see in grey.
This makes it difficult to understand colour-coded information, e.g. on charts or when trying to distinguish between red and green underlines in text. Due to the same reasons, contrast also sometimes gets lost and text may become unreadable.
The remedies are not to rely on colour-coding only to convey information, to ensure that contrasts are sufficient or to provide simple alternatives.