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Don't Shut Me Out! Language Is Content, Usability, and Accessibility

We don’t always think of language itself as a usability or accessibility issue, but language is highly complex and socially constructed. Language can draw a user in or make her feel rejected or othered, which will make or break an experience. This talk will center on why language is a content, usability, and accessibility issue, and highlight the consequences of not considering your users/audience when designing/writing content. You will learn how to reflect on your language choices, be more thoughtful with your content, and when/how to use translators.

By the end of this session, you should learn:

  • How language standards become standards and what that means when writing for specific audiences
  • More about the social and contextual effects of meaning-making and how humans communicate without saying exactly what they mean
  • How you can be more inclusive with your writing
  • Why you need to test your content with users, especially if you are using translated material
  • The benefits of using a human translator and testing your translated content with your target audience and why it matters that you test