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Design, Digested 8 – How a website lost community trust

In this inspiration series: a well-known website lost community trust with a redesign that didn’t take into account its users with disabilities.

Design, Digested 8. Three skeins of yarn on a grey surface with the writing 'How a website lost community trust'.
Photo by Tara Evans, composition by Silvia Maggi

In a moment when people spend more time at home and need to be and feel connected, we realise what a privilege it is to have a good internet connection. Tim Berners-Lee, who invented the World Wide Web, made it clearer than ever: access to the internet should be a universal right. But it doesn’t stop there: websites need to be accessible to everyone, regardless of disability. It seems surreal to have to say this in 2020, but a website designed with accessibility in mind benefits everyone.

Ravelry, the well-know website among knitters and crocheters, underwent a redesign of the interface. It was a surprise for everyone, especially for the ones that started to experience physical issues while or after browsing it. At the same time, screen reader software stopped working, effectively blocking a group of people from accessing the site.

I wrote a blog post, detailing what happened and explaining what are the best practices from a UX Design point of view. You’ll also find some useful articles if you’re interested in knowing more. In the meantime, Ravelry didn’t fix the accessibility issues. Moreover, the founders and team closed or made private their social media accounts, and closed the threads about the redesign on the forum: not a good sign of the things to come. It’s up to us, designers and developers, to build accessible websites. It’s up to all of us to call out companies that don’t do it. We are all responsible for making the web accessible, usable and inclusive.

🔗 Read the blog post

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