Text, Guardian. Guardian and Deque Systems hosted an empathy lab for internal developers and testers to foster empathy for customers with disabilities.
People talk in small groups in a divided room with placards reading Deque and Accessibility Empathy Lab. A person wears an Apple Watch and writes with marker on a piece of paper as a woman holds a stopwatch. A woman with her fingers bound together lifts a marker. Text, Traci Stevenson, Project Manager, Deque Systems.
“The purpose of the lab is to be able to emulate situations for people that have disabilities for people that don't have disabilities, so that they can understand the complications or the difficulties that people may have just in everyday life.”
A man talks to another from behind a table with pamphlets on it. Text, Tim Harshbarger, Senior Accessibility Consultant, Deque Systems.
“Most people have limited experience with somebody with a disability. So the purpose of this table is people could come over here and ask whatever questions they want. So they can be questions like, how do you do banking? How do you go grocery shopping? The idea is then you can start asking questions and feel comfortable asking those questions, and start getting a better understanding.”
Text, John Foliot, Principal Accessibility Strategist, Deque Systems.
“One of the things that we've learned over the years is that most web developers, most web designers, they're not intentionally building websites that don't work for people. I mean, nobody goes to work and says, I think I'm going to build a lousy website. And so part of the problem is that they don't know what they don't know.”
Two women use a tablet.
Text, Rechell Schwartz, Software Engineer and WCAG Developer Champion, Guardian. A woman inspects a pamphlet.
She looks through a pair of goggles.
“Empathy is the first step to designing accessible systems. One of the key points that I'd like to get across to developers, is to put yourself into the user with a disability's shoes.”
“Guardian has got the right idea and the right approach in terms of addressing accessibility. It's not just about putting a band-aid, fixing things, and then business as usual. That it really is about rethinking the entire approach.”
Text, Camille Habacker, Digital and Consumer Experience Design, Guardian.
“Start with data. Understand the problem you're trying to solve. And then, widen your target audiences to include people of varying abilities. And then, go live with them. Empathize with them. Ride along with them, shadow them, as they try to tackle these problems themselves, because I think it opens up a world of possibilities for the design.”
She does an activity that involves drawing a star on a sheet of paper with her view of it blocked. She laughs.
She lifts and weighs blue grains with a spoon.
Text, Megan Fitzpatrick, Customer Experience Research Analyst, Guardian.
“We're incorporating empathy into all of our projects. On a customer experience team, especially, we're looking at experiential journey maps, where we put ourselves in the client's shoes and walk through an entire journey. So from the emails they're receiving, the websites they're visiting”
Text, Soami Dey, API Architect from Technology Architecture.
“As a guardian, you reach out to people to help out people. That's a responsibility of a guardian, to make sure that others get what they deserve. So, I think this empathy lab has brought out that thing in me.”
A woman listens to a plugged in cell phone.
Text, Mari Lee, Consumer Experience Strategy, CX Strategic Transformation, Guardian.
A man in a wheelchair and a woman with a guide dog.
A man tries writing with rubber bands around his fingers.
“You know, we're really trying to train our people, how to design accessibly, how to code accessibly, how to test accessibly. We actually incorporate real users who are disabled so they can give us the qualitative feedback. Guardian cares about its customers. Being a guardian, it really means that we're here to take care of our customers. You're making it right for all audiences. So, we really, I think, have to move away from this is sort of a special use case, right? But more so, we're trying to improve the experience for folks with and without disabilities.”
Text, Guardian. Guardian Life dot com. The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America. Guardian. New York, New York. Copyright 2019. 2019-82429. EXP 7/24.