Web Accessibility and the “Curse of Knowledge”

I’m currently listening to “Made to Stick“, which introduced me to the notion of the “Curse of Knowledge”. The premise is simple: once you know something, you can’t imagine NOT knowing it. It’s terribly important to keep in mind, and a great reason why I believe in user-centered design and speaking directly to users. We make assumptions, or simply know our own products too well to be objective.

I’ve been tapped to a) write a short article on web accessibility, and b) make a presentation at Columbus Digital. I’m very excited about both these opportunities. When I was first tapped about the article, I very quickly jotted down several article ideas.

Today I was talking to a coworker about testing for accessibility — showing him some Firefox extensions, but cautioning how limiting they were in what they actually could test for, and it occurred to me that that too was a good topic. I’ve been struck with the Curse of Knowledge, and some of the basics don’t occur to me anymore. I’m trying to decide what would be of the most interest/benefit to my audience, but it’s hard to narrow down.

A few of my ideas:

  • The difference b/t accessibility and indexability
  • Comparative review of techniques ppl have for making flash indexable/searchable
  • Dev testing tools
  • RIA – DOM-based vs Plugin
  • Overview of WCAG, Section 508, etc
  • Intro to assistive technologies (this could be good for the presentation, showing videos, etc)

I feel as though I could make all these topics work, I’m just not sure which I should go after..

2 thoughts on “Web Accessibility and the “Curse of Knowledge”

  • I’d go for “Intro to assistive technologies (this could be good for the presentation, showing videos, etc)”, this might allow you to involve the audience as well.

  • Hi Andrea,
    I have just seen your article and I am not sure whether you will have time before your talk but if you have, and you feel it would help, you are very welcome to visit with our testing team. We audit sites for accessibility and the team comprises of 6 people who are disabled and they test for
    low vision
    no vision
    colour blindness,
    learning difficulties
    Limited limb mobility
    If this will help drop me a mail and I will organise it for you.

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