Accessibility Not the Same as Usability

Icons and symbols depicting various disabilities.

What is the difference between accessible, usable, and universal design?

The title of this article,“Making Austin More Accessible with MobilityX & car2go” by Capital Factory sparked my interest. At first blush, I was elated. As I read the article though, I realized this story was NOT about making Austin more accessible for people with disabilities, but rather making making car2go more USABLE and AVAILABLE to the Austin market.

How about a hackathon to increase accessibility and inclusion of ride-sharing and car services to people with disabilities?


A Quick Primer on ACCESSIBILITY :

Accessibility refers to the design of products, devices, services, or environments for people who experience disabilities.[1] The concept of accessible design and practice of accessible development ensures both “direct access” (i.e. unassisted) and “indirect access” meaning compatibility with a person’s assistive technology (for example, computer screen readers).

Accessibility can be viewed as the “ability to access” and benefit from some system or entity. The concept focuses on enabling access for people with disabilities, or special needs, or enabling access through the use of assistive technology; however, research and development in accessibility brings benefits to everyone.

Accessibility is not to be confused with usability, which is the extent to which a product (such as a device, service, or environment) can be used by specified users to achieve specified goals with effectiveness, efficiency and satisfaction in a specified context of use.

Accessibility is strongly related to universal design which is the process of creating products that are usable by people with the widest possible range of abilities, operating within the widest possible range of situations. This is about making things accessible to all people (whether they have a disability or not).

More on Accessibility, Usability, and Inclusion:

What is the difference between accessible, usable, and universal design?

Building Smart Cities for Human Diversity and Social Inclusion

Darren Bates is a lifelong champion of equality, inclusion, and social justice for people with disabilities and other diverse, underrepresented, and historically marginalized populations. Darren is internationally recognized as one of the most innovative and knowledgeable Thought Leaders in the field of Global Inclusion.

Accessibility Not the Same as Usability was originally published in Austin Startups on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

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