Andrew Huth

April 27, 2021

Book insights: Mismatch

A colleague recently recommended Mismatch by Kat Holmes, which is about inclusive design. I work on web accessibility, and I usually think about inclusion in terms of web sites. But it could apply to any type of design and engineering.

Key insights
  • Create many ways to participate
  • There are many challenges to inclusion
  • Inclusion and accessibility benefits organizations

Create many ways to participate. People who design the web determine who can participate, and who is left out. This often happens without thinking about it, because we tend to use ourselves as a proxy for users. Instead, we must design and build many ways for people to participate.

There are many challenges to inclusion. Inclusion isn't "nice", and requires fighting the status quo and fighting for hard-won victories. We need to disrupt the momentum of how things have been designed and built for a long time. It's really easy for people to defer responsibility by claiming that things have always been this way.

Inclusion and accessibility benefits organizations. Inclusion helps increase customer engagement, which tends to increase with ease-of-use. It also helps with innovation and differentiation, as there's a long history of accessibility seeding innovations for a wider audience. And there's a high cost to retrofitting inclusion, which can be avoided by thinking about it up front.

Overall, I enjoyed this book. It has helped me think deeper about the mindset an organization needs to have to get really good at accessibility.