The Intersection of UX Accessibility and Generative AI: Building for All Users


Hatched by Glasp

Aug 11, 2023

5 min read


The Intersection of UX Accessibility and Generative AI: Building for All Users


In the world of design and technology, two important topics have gained significant attention: UX accessibility and generative AI. While they may seem unrelated at first, there are common points that connect these two areas. This article delves into the importance of empathy in UX accessibility and the potential impact of generative AI on the industry. By understanding the tools used by people with disabilities and examining the dynamics of the generative AI platform, we can uncover unique insights and actionable advice to create inclusive designs and navigate the evolving AI landscape.

Understanding Accessibility:

As UX designers, empathy is a core element of our work. However, when it comes to accessibility, empathy often overlooks the fact that not all users navigate the web in the same way. To design for people with disabilities, it is crucial to familiarize ourselves with the tools they use. The most common tools include screen readers, screen magnifiers, switch controls, and closed captioning. By understanding how these tools work, we can create designs that cater to the diverse needs of users.

Myths Surrounding Accessibility:

Accessibility is often misunderstood, leading to common myths that hinder progress. The first myth is that accessible design is only for people with disabilities. In reality, accessibility benefits a wide range of users, including those with permanent, temporary, and situational disabilities. The second myth is that accessible design only benefits people with disabilities. However, accessible design enhances the user experience for all individuals, making it a valuable practice for every designer.

The POUR Principles of Accessibility:

To ensure accessibility in our designs, we can turn to the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG), an internationally recognized standard. The WCAG can be overwhelming, but it can be broken down into four easy-to-understand principles known as the POUR Principles: Perceivable, Operable, Understandable, and Robust.

Perceivable: This principle focuses on presenting information and components in a way that all users can understand. It involves providing alternative text for images, captions for videos, and ensuring proper color contrast.

Operable: The operable principle aims to offer different ways for people with disabilities to navigate and interact with content. This includes keyboard accessibility, clear navigation, and the elimination of time-based interactions that may be challenging for some users.

Understandable: Creating understandable web content involves using clear language, organizing information effectively, and providing instructions that are easy to follow. This principle ensures that users with disabilities can comprehend and use our interfaces.

Robust: The robust principle emphasizes the importance of creating content that can be interpreted by a wide variety of users, including those who rely on assistive technologies. It involves using standard HTML, avoiding compatibility issues, and ensuring compatibility with different browsers and devices.

Navigating the Generative AI Landscape:

Generative AI has witnessed remarkable growth, especially in image generation, copywriting, and code writing. However, the question of ownership and sustainability within the generative AI platform remains. Infrastructure vendors have emerged as the biggest winners, capturing the majority of revenue. Application companies experience rapid growth but struggle with retention, product differentiation, and gross margins. Model providers, responsible for the existence of this market, are yet to achieve large-scale commercial success.

The Role of Hosting and Commercialization:

For model providers, commercialization is often tied to hosting services. Demand for proprietary APIs and hosting services for open-source models is on the rise. However, the path to building a sustainable generative AI business may not solely rely on selling end-user apps. Margins and retention are expected to improve as competition increases and AI tourists leave the market. Vertically integrated apps that drive differentiation can have an advantage in this landscape.

Supporting the Public Good:

Many model providers in the generative AI field have taken steps to incorporate the public good explicitly into their mission. Public benefit corporations (B corps) and capped profit shares are examples of how these companies prioritize the impact of their decisions on employees, customers, and the environment. Interestingly, these efforts have not hindered their fundraising endeavors.

The Influence of Infrastructure Companies:

Infrastructure companies, such as cloud providers and hardware manufacturers, play a significant role in the generative AI market. A substantial portion of revenue flows through to these companies, highlighting their importance. Nvidia, a leader in data center GPU revenue, stands out as a major winner in the infrastructure space.

The Durability of Moats and Network Effects:

In the generative AI landscape, moats that provide structural defensibility are hard to come by. Scale, supply-chain, ecosystem, algorithmic, distribution, and data pipeline moats exist but may not be durable over the long term. The presence of direct network effects in any layer of the stack is yet to be determined. The future of generative AI might witness the success of both horizontal and vertical companies, depending on the end-market and end-users' needs.

Actionable Advice:

  • 1. Educate yourself and your team on the tools and technologies used by people with disabilities. Understanding their needs will enable you to design more inclusive experiences.
  • 2. Stay updated with the evolving landscape of generative AI. Explore opportunities for collaboration with model providers and infrastructure companies to leverage their expertise and resources.
  • 3. Embrace the POUR Principles of accessibility in your design process. By incorporating perceivability, operability, understandability, and robustness, you can create interfaces that cater to a diverse range of users.


The intersection of UX accessibility and generative AI offers a unique perspective on the importance of empathy in design and the potential of emerging technologies. By understanding the needs of people with disabilities and navigating the generative AI landscape, designers can create inclusive experiences and leverage the power of AI responsibly. By incorporating the POUR Principles of accessibility and staying informed about industry trends, we can shape a future where technology benefits all users.

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