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

Session scheduled at 10:30-11:20 in Room 1 (Johnson)

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

Attendee skill level: Minimal. I will explain any technical language/terms I use and will provide real-world examples to illustrate.

Session Slides

Presented By

Abby Bajuniemi

Abby Bajuniemi

Abby is a former Professor of Spanish and Linguistics who is bringing her love of language to the world of UX and Content Strategy. As a linguist, she studies how language and society intersect, and how context affects the language we use and learn. She is currently on the UX Research and Design team at C.H. Robinson.

If she could insert a photo of her really cute dogs here, she would.

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