I have always been confident in what I do, with my experience, designed and managed over 30 products across different industries. But, 2018 comes a new challenge.

I have decided to join a science and technology research agency, to take care of the user experience of the many digital products that they collaborate with the industries. I will be sitting in the social cognitive department, which is a perfect opportunity, working with scientists and psychologists on user behaviour, adding insights to my user research aspect.

Usability is not enough

I jumped right into several products that require immediate attention — understanding the products, performing heuristic reviews, and put together priorities that we could do.

In a meeting for one of the projects, of whcih related to autism, someone mentioned universal design and raised a question:

Can you tell me why all the great products out there don’t work for people with disabilities such as autism?

It is true that the practice of user experience and usability testing is focused at specified set of users, which very often not including people with disabilities, especially for mainstream public-facing products.

The percentage of the population with disabilities is about 20%; the percentage of the population has autism is less than 1%. Disability covers a wide range  –  vision, hearing, mental, intellectual, autism, physical. It does not make business sense to spend addtional resources on low-priority features.

Alrighty but we need to do it differently. Accessibility first.