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iPhones host a robust library of accessiblity features, hidden deep within an able-centric interface. this thesis addresses this issue and explores the difference between accessibility and universal design.

Research

My preliminary research revealed what I considered to be some pretty significant holes in smartphone accessibility features. This bothered me. I decided to rearchitect the Apple on-boarding workflow to be as univerally designed as possible.

I first mapped out current and recommended iPhone on-boarding user journeys to highlight areas that could benefit from surfacing accessibility options. This would allow users to iteratively configure more complex options using the more basic options that they had configured previously in the process.

These flowcharts show the current iPhone onboarding workflow versus a workflow designed to accommodate a person that requires accessibility features to operate the device.

Welcome to iPhone

I then prototyped an example flow focusing on a user with a touch-touch related disability. This example shows how turning on features like Siri by default can dramatically change a users ability to understand and interact with the options presented on the screen.

Thesis Prototype Intro

This work was also accompanied by a new iPhone manual, outlining the revisions made and why they’re important for more inclusive user experiences.

The completed project was selected to be displayed at the 2019 Graduating Student Exhibition at the Museum at FIT. I created a wall piece to hang along with my prototype and manual. The assemblage uses a rube goldberg machine as a metaphor for accessibility and universal design, indicating that processes that seem simple can actually be very complicated for others.

loading-patterns-wall-1

FINAL THOUGHTS 

Doing the research into how people with disabilities experience technology has made accessibility a priority in my work. Now, working as a user experience designer at a large software company, I see room for greater exploration and improvement in this project.

How can we make the physical steps of this process more accessible? What happens if the user isn’t an English speaker? Can we as designers and producers do more to ease the experience of a first time user?