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Accessibility and Inclusive Design/Requirements Analysis

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Some people state that "accessibility" includes broader issues than people with disabilities and should include thing like low bandwith, etc. Some people state that usability and accessibility are the same thing.


  • Purpose 1: Provide clear information on the overlaps and differences between accessibility, inclusion, and usability.
  • Purpose 2: Make the case for "accessibility" to specifically focus on people with disabilities, and not include the broader scope of inclusion.
  • Purpose 3: Encourage everyone to know about and incorporate the other — e.g., accessibility to include usability, usability to include accessibility — in research and practice.
  • Purpose 4: Explain that accessibility includes technical component and UI component, and encourage both for accessible design.



  1. Clarify the focus and scope of accessibility, inclusion, and usability
  2. Explain the differences between accessibility, inclusion, and usability
  3. Promote accessibility as complementary to inclusion and usability


  1. Clarify the importance of involving real people as well as technical standards
  2. Provide practical guidance on how to achieve accessible and inclusive design

Note: Do not seek to set a new or definitive definition any of the terms, as these are a matter of debate (possibly refer to other definitions if appropriate)



  • Accessibility specialists, including researchers, developers, consultants.
    Goal: Encourage user-centered design techniques in addition to technical standards to improve 'usable accessibility'
  • Usability researchers and practitioners.
    Goal: Encourage including accessibility and people with disabilities through usability related activities. Promote WAI resources that would help and support their work.
  • Policy or guideline developers.
    Goal: Understand the broader context and ensure involvement of experts from different domains of inclusion; Encourage incorporation of existing WAI resources for accessibility.


  • Accessibility advocates.
    Goal: Highlight the importance of focusing on the needs of people with disabilities to avoid discrimination within the broader context of inclusion.

Key Messages

  • What are accessibility, inclusion, and usability?
  • How are these areas related and how do they overlap?
  • Why is accessibility important as a separate discipline?
    • Important to focus on the needs of people with disabilities.
    • Specialist accommodations make tasks convenient for the mainstream but make them possible for people with disabilities.
    • Accessibility is keenly concerned with issues of discrimination.
    • Need to avoid marginalizing accessibility.
  • Accessibility is more than technical standards -- it also includes making UI really work well for people with disabilities.
  • How can accessibility experts benefit from usability?
  • How can usability experts benefit from accessibility?


We had a draft of a related document with a broader scope: "to encourage increased communication and coordination between accessibility and usability research and practice..." -- which addressed "Including Accessibility in Usability Research and Practice" and "Including Usability in Accessibility Research and Practice". previous requirements analysis, previous editor's draft This resource builds on the work of this previous document.

Changes to be incorporated include:

  • Addition of discussion of inclusion
  • Highlight issues associated with discrimination
  • Research into disability accommodations may lead to broader benefits but less likely the reverse
    ^^^ note that the recent drafts do not include this point

Approach: Provide a single page resource hosted within WAI site.