Pinterest Just Redesigned Its App For Blind People

Pinterest, like all mainstream apps, has a contingent of blind users (though the company admits to not tracking them). Many use Pinterest simply to bookmark stories on the web they’d like to read later. And those who don’t use the service might like to, if they were better welcomed. “We asked one user, would you use Pinterest? You can’t see what’s on the screen!” Long recounts. “She said, ‘of course I would.

“We asked one user, would you use Pinterest? You can’t see what’s on the screen!” Long recounts. “She said, ‘of course I would.’” Visually impaired or not, we all want tasty recipes, better haircuts, and fashion advice. And Pinterest is loaded with billions of pins full of this stuff.

Over the past year, Pinterest has committed to practicing inclusive design, and making its product more accessible to everyone. With a team of a dozen designers and engineers, Cheng developed a multi-part approach to redesigning Pinterest as a product that could be more accessible to everyone, leading to a fully redesigned app and desktop experience that’s been slowly rolling out for months.

Focus Indicator [Image: courtesy Pinterest]

The first and most obvious step was adding all of the proper code and labeling to make sure that features like Voice Over could actually read every component on the screen. Along the same lines, the company added focus indicators–relatively standard outlines around buttons and menus that are active–that make Pinterest easier to use for people who can’t use a mouse or trackpad.

This was table stakes, of course. Other aspects of the redesign would have to be more core to the user experience. In particular, the company wanted to heighten the contrast of the UI across the entire app so that it was more legible. To do so, Cheng’s team developed a whole new color palette, full of bright jewel tones that could frame text and help it pop. This multicolor spectrum couldn’t be further from the robin’s egg blues so beloved by startups.

With respect to the colorblind , Pinterest has eliminated any instance where color was once used to convey action or meaning; in the new Pinterest, it’s only there for increased legibility and visual flair. Meanwhile, the company introduced the option to increase the size of text across the app within the settings–focusing on size and boldness to denote information hierarchy, rather than tweaking words in various shades of gray, which can be low contrast and difficult to see.

Internally, Pinterest culminated its work by launching an inclusivity pop-up lab for its own employees to try to navigate the app with nothing but a keyboard, or wear items like visual-impairment goggles while trying to read the screen. “We tried to help [ourselves] understand all the different disabilities people might have when they use Pinterest,” says Cheng. “How do we start any product development with that in mind from phase zero?”

[Image: courtesy Pinterest]

What Cheng wants to instill is a mind-set. Two years ago, Pinterest realized it needed to consider the international market when it came to design. And now, its designers always think about decisions on a global scale. Likewise, he wants to see designers thinking inclusively from the get-go. The company has also built automated testing for accessibility into all of its app updates moving forward.

Inclusive design is a process, not a destination. And with that in mind, we’re likely to see more and more companies go through a similar reckoning as Pinterest has in the last year. Maybe they won’t get everything right on the first pass, but so long as they actively involve their edge users in the design process going forward, Pinterest will only become a more usable product for more people.

If that’s not enough to sell you on inclusive design, it’s worth recognizing that one day, we’ll all be an edge case. And so inclusive design practices are often an investment in our own lives as much as they are a way of helping others. Think of it as health insurance, or a social security for user experience. “Something I always think about with this work we do is, we’re designing for our future self,” says Cheng. “Whatever we’re doing will actually benefit all of us in the future–even if you don’t have low vision now.”

Curated by (Lifekludger)
Read full article at Source: Pinterest Just Redesigned Its App For Blind People

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