Rajesh Lal on Accessible Web Design #HOWidc

Nokia engineer Rajesh Lal is an internationally recognized digital product leader who has designed and developed software used by millions of people. An active member of the W3C Accessibility group, he’s passionate about design standards that make the web accessible to all. Lal has written multiple books on desktop, web, mobile and rich internet applications and has presented on HTML5 and mobile technologies around the world.

web design conference speaker rajesh lal

At the HOW Interactive Design Conference in Washington, DC, Lal is going to talk about how to design user interfaces that are accessible by people with disabilities and why it’s a good business decision. In his session, Learn Accessible Design, you’ll see how an accessible user interface incorporates multiple input methods, different interaction models and customization based on special needs and limited device supports.

Why’s accessibility so important?

In a digital world, accessibility has a completely different meaning [from the idea of physical accessibility]. It’s about making things easy to use—easy to look at, easy to understand and easy to access and use. In my session, I am going to throw light on four key accessibility challenges and what you as a designer can do about them. Then I’ll dive into how accessibility works in digital products and how you can make your designs accessible.

What were your projects in the design field?

I created a website for the computer science department when I was doing my master’s degree in computer science at Lamar University, Texas, in 2002. Then I realized that I had an aptitude for design. My first professional interactive project was a design of an project tracking system that helps teams across the globe to interact with each other and collaborate together.

When did you realize that digital design was the wave of the future?

Digital design is affecting all of our lives. The internet has become the medium for art, publishing, photography and even sales and marketing and is changing every field in its own way. In last few years it has a matured to a point that now you cannot imagine a photographer without Adobe Lightroom, a designer without Photoshop and Illustrator, or a web designer without an online web portfolio.

Working on the web technologies for last 10 years, I’ve seen the web go from basic static pages to robust HTML5-powered web apps. A website can not only now show your location on the map but can also access your computer. From scalable vector graphics to 2D/3D animations, the web has everything and keeps moving further.

Do you have any pet projects?

Yes, I recently started a website called designandmethod.com, which will be about the big picture of design.

Join us this fall at the HOW Interactive Design Conference. Register by August 15 to save $200 on your registration to our web design conference in San Francisco or Washington, DC.