Lessons from Lisbon in accessible design

A young boy peers into the model beneath its battlements
The model is one fiftieth the size of the original

One reason I argue so strongly for designing in accessibility for people with special needs is that accessible design is also good design.

Watching people explore a model of Lisbon’s Belem Tower – provided for people with visual impairments – was a great example of this.An adult tourist explores the tower end of the model

I was in Lisbon for the 2014 UkLx Conference and taking time out to visit the Tower – built in the early 16th century as both ceremonial gateway and part of the city’s defences.

The model proved irresistible to visitors of every age and description. It was clearly a way for them to really get to grips with the ornate architecture, layout and functioning of the full-size original.

Designing for accessibility benefits us all.

• My UxLx 2014 presentation: A deep dive into questions: how to ask better questions and how to assess user experience using surveys