Cathy O’ Connor has worked as a senior web application designer for fifteen years in large and small companies. She relishes the challenge of incorporating complex and sometimes conflicting requirements such as compliance, security, globalization, and accessibility to distill and deliver useful, appealing, end-to-end experiences for customers.
For the past five years she has been an accessibility subject matter expert at PayPal. She enjoys coming up with new techniques and strategies to keep accessibility top of mind as product teams rapidly deliver new products in a constantly changing environment. She has spoken on some of these strategies at the California State University Northridge International Technology and persons with disabilities Conferences (CSUN): Web Accessibility Training for Product teams, with Jared Smith, WebAIM, and Color Contrast Tips and Tools for Designers at CSUN 2014.
Outside of work, Cathy is a part-time Zumba Fitness instructor, and enjoys designing in the physical world: crafting handmade toys, decor, and accessories for her family.
When you browse your favorite website or check the latest version of your product on your device of choice, take a moment to look at it differently. Step back from the screen. Close your eyes slightly so that your vision is a bit clouded by your eyelashes. Can you still see and use the website? Are you able to read the labels, fields, buttons, navigation and small footer text? Can you imagine how someone who sees differently would read and use it?
In this article, I’ll share one aspect of design accessibility: making sure that the look and feel (the visual design of the content) are sufficiently inclusive of differently sighted users.