On Accessibility and Inclusiveness in UX Design with Regine Gilbert

Regine Gilbert is a user experience designer, an educator at NYU teaching User Experience Design, an international public speaker, and the author of the book ‘Inclusive Design for a Digital World: Designing with Accessibility in Mind (Design Thinking)’. Throughout her ten years of career working in the design field, she has always been trying to bring inclusiveness and accessibility to her work.

What are some of the most satisfying elements of your work?

As an educator, it is the most satisfying to see a growing amount of young people getting interested in the field of user experience design. When I am able to give them what I have and seeing them coming up with new and better things with their talents, it is very rewarding.

As a designer, I’ve worked at several companies and helped with their accessibility and inclusive design. Putting that into action into their design and seeing great impacts on our users is also very satisfying to me.

How do you do user research during the pandemic?

It is totally different than doing normal times. This is when I go to Twitter and ask questions like: “What are the pros and cons of using VR?”. A lot of people would respond to me. This is a good time to reach out to your community and ask for help when you’re having trouble getting inputs.

Another thing is the incentives. What is going to make people want to participate? I firmly believe that you need to pay people for their time.

How has the UX field changed in the past years?

In the past few years, a lot of companies have shed light on user experience design. More and more job positions are new and for UX designers. Even a lot of current programs on user experience design are fresh. We are a growing field and constantly learning from ourselves.

As an educator and designer in UX, what do you hope to see more in this industry?

In the future, I would like to see more and more diverse people in this field of what’s being built. I would like to see more inclusion and accessibility from a web perspective because we need to think of ourselves as both disabled and non-disabled. And that changes all throughout life. I wish that things are available and have options to access things, especially when it comes to anything designed, which is everything.

Knowing that your focus in bringing accessibility and inclusiveness into user experience design, how do you communicate that when teaching your students?

I oftentimes will ask the question like “Have you ever been left out of something?” and “How did that make you feel?”. And people answered “sad”, or “frustrated”. And I say well that’s what happens when we make stuff and we don’t make it inclusive. If you don’t want to feel missed out why would you want to make someone else feel that way?

What advice can you give as a future UIUX designer?

I don’t like giving advice. I would love to rather tell a story and have you take away your own insights. What is really important is to hear other people’s stories and go and make your own. Because your journey is yours. And even if you take the exact advice from someone else, the result will not be the same. There are no mistakes, so go and make some.