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A Stark Difference

Issue No. 66

Hey there, a few things on deck. We got feedback that a weekly send for this is preferred, so we're gauging consensus on Thursdays.

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Around the web


Changing the disability design narrative

"...the way we currently approach disability in design can actually cause more problems that solutions for people with disabilities, and how language –  phrases we commonly use in design, like accessibility and inclusion, and even design thinking methodology – makes disabled people the recipients, rather than the drivers, of design. And what a product or design team can do to get the perspectives they need and make sure that disabled people are treated as the experts in disability."

In this podcast episode, the host and guest focus on the importance of designing with disabilities versus for disabilities. I'm glad we're seeing this come up as it puts emphasis on not just the language we use, but the people we include when it comes to bringing a product to life in a way that is successful and not harmful.

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Question: Do you include individuals with disabilities in your user testing? What's that process like?


Usability Testing on Shopify Themes

"Company-wide buy-in is necessary not only because it takes only one small error to render a site unusable, but more importantly, the people who do work that falls under the umbrella of ‘Diversity and Inclusion’ should not be placed in a position where they are seen as constantly rejecting and critiquing the work of other people in the company. When we move beyond this idea of just ‘compliance’ and integrate accessibility holistically into the entire process of building things, we might finally be able to move the field forward."

This post is eye-opening. Not only is it a good read, it's testing and a study all in itself. The author (and dev) Nic conducted some basic accessibility testing of all the themes on the homepage of the theme store to get an overview of what the theme landscape looked like in regards to accessibility. 

Now, he makes clear (and we want to press this too) that proper auditing takes time, should be through, and generally needs to be measured against WCAG 2.1 guidelines and the legal requirements.

Nonetheless, it's somewhat painful to see how many merchants turn to platforms like Shopify hoping to have a quick solution for their storefront, only to put themselves in legal risk. Nic goes on to include a few themes that meet guidelines as well, which is great.

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Question: If and when you design and develop a theme for Shopify, Webflow, Squarespace, etc. is accessibility something you bake in from the beginning?


How a Team Matures Its User Research Integration

I'm not going to even include a synopsis for you. I'll just drop this snippet from the post because it's amazing.

"Outsourcing your research is like outsourcing your vacation. It gets the activity done, but it doesn’t realize the value. If only your researchers are doing the research, you’re doing it wrong.

For research to be truly valuable, everyone on the team has to be part of it. Everyone should be a part of the planning and have a say in who our participants will be and what we want to learn from them.

Every member of the team needs to observe the research and be part of the synthesis of the outcomes. They need to feel ownership in understanding the problems users have and potential solutions."


The Paradox at the Heart of A/B Testing

In this post Matthew goes through the scenarios in which A/B testing is both useful and useless. And in the event that it's useless (which he argues is most of the time) he provides you with two strategies that are actually more effective and also cheaper. If you have already, you're not wrong for thinking "Cheap is often expensive". But the examples are worth looking at and arguably worth trying. Realistically, most early stage companies can't afford the fancy solutions to test.

And plus, you were already experimenting anyway, right? :)

"When faced with two similar alternatives, Fredkin’s paradox predicts you’ll have a hard time choosing. This is when A/B testing is most appealing: A/B tests settle debates with data instead of deliberation. But our generalization of Parkinson’s law of triviality says that this kind of A/B testing — testing as an alternative to difficult decisions — results in the least value.

Most of the time, A/B testing is worthless. The time spent designing, running, analyzing, and taking action on an A/B test will usually outweigh the value of picking the more desirable option."

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Question: What does A/B testing for your organization look like? Any favorite experiments you've run that yielded fantastic results, enabled success for the user, and was affordable?

From Stark

💌 Have an article you wrote or found that you'd like to see in the Stark newsletter?

We're always looking to elevate folks in the community, especially our customers. Having said that, customer or not, if you wrote a post or found one that you'd love to see included in the Stark newsletter, be sure to submit them for review.

⚡️ We made the Colorblind Simulator instantaneous

Instead of making simulations faster (as per all of your requests), we just went ahead and made them instantaneous. Now we can roll out export features for the Sim knowing your workflow is genuinely optimized for speed and efficiency. 

This will be released in an update soon. Until then, check out the video!

🤓 Some design work from our end

Designing and exploring a few versions of what a simple and passive card for promotion / marketing of Stark Pro around the web could look like.

🖤 Community love of the week 

 Product designer at Google and all around gem of a human, Kyle Grady shared Stark with others in the community looking for plugins to enhance their work.

🐛 Known Bug(s)

1. Our newsletter section of our website on mobile is broken as soon as it degrades down to a certain size. Thanks to all who reported that!

2. A couple folks experienced a hiccup when trying to access our website on Firefox due to SSL issues. Doesn't seem to be happening in Chrome though. Regardless, we're looking into it!

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