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Stanford Stanford WebCamp All Things Web - Spring 2021

Keynote: Designing for neurodiversity: more than just good UX

Content Strategy
Research / Academia
UX / Design

What does neurodiversity really mean and why it is essential to ensure that our products are designed with it in mind?

We accept that every person’s body is different in shape, size, areas of strength, and ability. But what about our brains? We know scientifically that at least 1 in 5 people worldwide have brains that process information in measurably different ways, and yet we still grapple with the concept of neurodiversity. We also know scientifically that diagnoses such as Autism, Dyslexia, ADHD, PTSD, and Aphasia do not in any way indicate level of intelligence, but because individuals with these diagnoses might decode information differently, we struggle to build digital experiences with them in mind. Together, we will explore what designing for this population entails.

Learning Objectives

The goal is to enable you to leave this session equipped to make your products more accessible through improved understanding of:

  • What does neurodiversity really mean and why it is essential to ensure that our products are designed with it in mind
  • Techniques for designing for cognitive accessibility and neurodiversity, including a look at fledgling guidelines being formed by W3C and clear examples of what these techniques might actually look like in implementation
  • How to evaluate designs and test products for this broader population of users

Target Audience

The target audience for this session is anyone responsible for defining and/or designing a product. This includes business analysts, project managers, user experience designers, visual designers, motion designers, and lead engineers who create engineering design specs.

Speaker: Rain Breaw, Interaction Designer, Google

Rain Breaw Michaels is a user experience designer and certified web accessibility professional (CPWA through IAAP). She has been an instructor at community colleges and General Assembly, and is passionate about advocacy and empowerment.

Rain is a user experience architect and technology trainer who comes from both teaching web development topics, including accessibility, and by having hands-on development experience. She has enjoyed developing web applications for organizations such as the UCLA, USC, Technicolor, The League of Women Voters of California, Evox Images, Stand Up 2 Cancer, and ICANN, and has lead user experience and information architecture overhauls for USC, ICANN, RSA Conference, Dr. Susan Love Research Foundation, and open source applications such as ArchivesSpace.

Rain has long been an active participant in the Los Angeles Drupal User Group, including formerly spearheading DrupalChix and local community activities and projects.