Scary accessibility assumption

So, I am in a few different slack groups and I just read one of the scariest assumptions about accessibility. Someone had posted some images of a website they were creating to sell some trainers. The site was aimed at 15-30 year olds. And someone questioned the accessibility in regards to colour contrast and some other things and the response back was:

“Accessibility might not be too huge of a factor with such a young audience”

Is this a widely thought assumption? And does anyone know of anywhere that has research regarding disabilities and ages? I’d like to be able to point these people in the direction of some research to help educate them!


this is a super interesting topic!

I don’t have any updated statistics and I just google "stats about visual impairments " it was surprising to discover that in CH we have:

  • 320.000 people with issues related to the visual impairments
  • 2% of this people have less than 40 YO
  • 3.7% of this people have between 40 and 59 YO
  • 9% of this people have between 60 and 79 YO
  • 20% of this people have more than 80 YO

here’s the link:

Thank you, I ended up linking them to the new microsoft inclusive design toolkit which talks about accessibility across everyone. It’s interesting as it says things like if someone is carrying a baby they have the same (temporary) disability as someone with a broken arm, or no arm.

What is interesting in your reply is that you have only googled ‘visual impairment’, what about people with motor-neurone problems? Or as the example above, a broken arm/finger so can’t use a mouse in their usual way? There is so much more to consider than just visual impairments. :slight_smile:


you’re right!

I was at last WIAD 2017 here in Zurich and one fo the most interesting talk was “Design for real life” by Sara Wachter-Boettcher.
I am reading her book and I am impressed about how many different user cases we can have.

The book is here:

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Thank you, will have to add it to my (rather long) reading list!

I don’t have stats for you. But with a background working with people with special needs I think they are wrong. The attitude is scary as you said. Where else did they ignore the needs of the user. If we have the tools to open doors to everyone, why not do it?


There’s also all the ‘invisible’ disabilities that affects people across many age groups - particularly learning/reading difficulties and other cognitive disabilities.
For example, this site states that “15-20% of the population, has a language based learning disability”.
There’s also people with chronic conditions where your ability to interact with technology may vary over the course of a day.


It almost feels grim to hear that in 2017 (I nearly put ‘in this day and age’, which would have made me sound way too old :slight_smile: ). I remember going to a workshop on accessibility several years ago where one of the main messages was that by designing with accessibility top of mind you were designing for everybody; the flip side is by not doing so you design to exclude or make it harder for some users.

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I was very shocked too by the comment. I have since had a conversation with the person who posted it and they were grateful for the reading material that people have suggested so hopefully this mistake won’t be made again :slight_smile:


I did a couple of talks last year, and the slides may be useful - - about halfway through the deck it goes into ‘how to sell it in to the organization’.

I work in this area, and can assure you that age and disability aren’t factors. Sure the longer you live the more likely you are to have one disability or other, but if you’re born blind… then you’re born blind. If you want info specifically on colour blindness, then you can get info here:


Thank you, I’ll have a look through the presentation. Do you might me asking what it is that you do in accessibility? I am currently trying to improve my knowledge in this area, and one of my backlog projects is to do an accessibility review of our site, but I don’t really know where to start! Any tips?

I work for a company that makes iOS and Mac software for people with physical, vision, communication, and reading impairments. Primarily I work on AAC (Augmentative Alternative Communication) apps, but I have a broader interest in Accessibility (I just returned from CSUN in San Diego, which is more for digital accessibility than web).

A fantastic free course on Digital Accessibility can be found on Future Learn:

With regards to performing a web accessibility review, I have done a few of these as a freelancer - my process is:

  1. Run the site through WAVE ( - or an automated checker of your choice.
  2. Run it through a readability checker to check the Flesch-Kincaid score
  3. Tab around the screen to make sure that the focus is shown, and nothing funny happens!
  4. Use a screen reader to make sure semantically it is correct, and nothing is missed (ALT text - poor heading structure - etc.) - I generally use JAWS, but you could use NVDA or VoiceOver.
  5. Go through the site from a UX lens to try and cover everything else that automatic / manual testing don’t pull up (eg - maps / videos with captions)
  6. I then write the report with ways to fix the problems, color, text, code, etc.
  7. FINALLY - I then strongly advise that the company reaches out to people with disabilities and perform usability testing.
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Oooooh! I’m literally in the process of organising and Ask the UXperts session on this very topic with the amazing @feather

I’ll update you with the details soon.


Can’t wait! It’s one of my personal objectives this year to learn more about accessibility :slight_smile:

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It was a @feather workshop that led me on the path I’m on!

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Silly question coming up… who is @feather? Sounds like someone I need to be following… not in a stalker way… :slight_smile:

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Derek Featherstone of Simply Accessible



Hello :slight_smile: waves

As long as you wave back, it isn’t stalkery at all!


Thank you @dean

@feather I’m so glad you didn’t take that the wrong way! :wave: