Why accessibility is not the enemy of design

You can build beautiful websites that are accessible to people with disabilities, stresses Léonie Watson

Despite losing her eyesight, Léonie Watson has carved out a successful career in web design, and is on a mission to make the web meet the needs of everyone – able-bodied or disabled. But that needn't mean sacrificing aesthetics, she stresses, in an exclusive video interview you can watch here:

"Absolutely not. Accessibility is a creative challenge, not a challenge to creativity," she retorts. "We've come a long way since the late 90s and early 2000s, when the concept of an accessible website was probably a text-only site. There are lots of companies making beautiful, creative and engaging websites that are completely usable by all sorts of people: people with and without disabilities, and people using different technologies.

"To anybody now who thinks accessibility has to cramp their style, I suggest taking another look at it," adds Watson, who is working with The Paciello Group (TPG). "Put the talent you have as designers and developers to finding accessible solutions to the creative stuff rather than constraining creative stuff to make it accessible."

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If you'd like to see her talk in more depth on the subject, then you'll be pleased to hear she's one of the keynote speakers at Generate London on 21/22 September.

Watson will be joined by a stellar line-up, including Aaron Gustafson, Steve Fisher, Jaime Levy, Zell Liew, and the conference will be held at the iconic Royal Institution. The two-day/one-track event will cover web animations, performance, UX strategy, chatbots, responsive CSS components and much more. There's also a full day of workshop on 20 September, and if you buy a combined conference and workshop pass, you'll save £95!

With sessions and keynote presentations from the very best in the industry, the day – hosted with Creative Bloq in association with net magazine – will be a unique opportunity to learn new skills, participate in one-on-one conversations, and network with the world's best designers.

The interview with Léonie Watson was conducted before her talk at the inaugural Generate London conference in 2013. We're thrilled she will be back to mark the fifth event in September

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UX