John Maeda’s 2020 CX Report and Accessibility

The report doesn’t directly address people with disabilities and CX. Here is the TL;DR version of how to align his main points with your accessibility initiatives

Blurry computer monitor with Dashboard tracking things like quality scores and cost for conversion
Photo by Stephen Dawson on Unsplash

John’s Buyer/Customer Relationship

John talks about how people navigate the buyer experience to become customers. But if the buyer experience is not accessible, a person with a disability will never be able to navigate it independently. An accessible buyer experience allows potential buyers to:

  • Evaluate the product
  • Exchange your money FOR the product
  • Additionally, not mentioned by John — an accessible buyer experience allows organizations to avoid lawsuits and the collateral mess and expense those entail.

My favorite way to sum this up is “I do not owe you a teachable moment.”

Typically I vote with my pocketbook and give my money to someone who appears to care, rather than spending MY free time teaching people who don’t care how to care. That may seem callous, but it’s not my job to teach others about my lived experience. To do so sets oneself up for rejection, and there are only so many times you can take that leap and keep your sanity. I hoard those leaps carefully and dole them out when I think I can succeed.

People who use assistive technology who can’t navigate the customer experience won’t commit if the customer experience is not accessible

John’s report further identifies the following activities as part of the customer experience:

  • Using
  • Struggling
  • Getting support
  • and finally, commit or exit

The most important thing to understand is if you believe in John Maeda’s work, don’t forget that there are DISABLED humans in that Buyer/Customer Experience infinite loop.

John spends a lot of time comparing the Kardashev Civilization Scale to digital evolution. The Kardashev scale starts at one and tops out at five, what Maeda refers to as the “digital singularity.” One thing that is crystal clear from this comparison is that anyone who is blocked from participating in the digital experience when we hit and of the more advanced levels of the Kardashev Scale as applied to digital transformation is going to be completely out of luck and excluded from being customers.

Other John Maeda CX thoughts as they pertain to accessibility

  • Nobody’s in charge of customer experience because everyone is.

Blogger, disability advocate, nerd. Bringing the fire on ableism. A11y Architect @ VMware. Wheelchair user w/ a deaf daughter. CS, Law, and Business background

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