During the summer of 2019, I interned as a New Technologist at Microsoft and Cyborg Mobile. My team was given the theme “visual learning” as a topic for building an iOS app in six weeks. That’s where my team created, Vysus, a social media platform for the visually impaired with accessibility designed at its core. Leading the UI creation of this project, I focused on building around the user’s needs based off user testing and research.
My team used our initial prototype to conduct user interviews to get a feel for the transitions of the screens. We constructed a script of what we wanted the voice assistant, Victoria, to say on each screen. We would switch the paper screens according to the script during the interview. We interviewed a variety of individuals ranging from different ages to level of visual impairment in order to cover a diverse audience.
This project taught me how to iterate through each step of the product design process from conducting and analyzing user interviews to constantly improving my team’s prototype. I learned the importance of always keeping in mind the target user’s needs. One of the challenges that I encountered was wanting to make the design of the user interface more complex as many apps today have intricate animations and displays. To design with accessibility at its core, I made sure to apply the feedback my team received from our user interviews such as making sure the font size of the screens was at least 36 pt. for easy-reading and colors between the text and background had a sharp contrast. I realized through designing Vysus that many social media apps are not designed around accessibility with small text and inaccurate alt text captions. Going forward, I hope to always design a product with accessibility at its core to ensure everyone is provided equal access.