Diamond sat down with Reginé Gilbert, a user experience (UX) Designer, NYU Professor, and author.

Reginé is a UX designer based in New York City. As a professor at NYU Tandon School of Engineering, she teaches user experience design and assistive technology to students in the integrated digital media program.

Reginé is the author of "Inclusive Design in the Digital Age: Designing with Accessibility in Mind."  She is a Certified Professional in Accessibility Core Competencies awarded through the International Association of Accessibility Professionals. Reginé has a strong belief in making the world a more accessible place. 

1. What inspired you to write your book?

In 2015, I started teaching user experience design, and a lot of students were not aware of accessibility and digital products. A lot of the topics in the book came from questions students asked over the years. My students inspire me to continue learning to teach the next generation to make things more accessible.

2. What was the process of writing your book like? What were your goals when you began writing?

The process of writing a book while living life was a challenge, but a fun challenge. I did not work on the book alone. My technical reviewer for the book is Sara Allen (senior engineering director), and she gave a lot of direction. Also, I received feedback from Catherine Kudlick from the Longmore Institute of Disabilities, which I incorporated into the book.

When I began writing, my goal was to make sure I gave the readers ways to make more accessible and inclusive experiences. It is what I think about every day, and for me, it's my life's work to make the world a more accessible place.

3. What is the biggest challenge when designing a digital experience that is accessible to all users?

The biggest challenge I've found is the general lack of awareness about accessibility. Many folks do not know about accessibility and what needs can be done about it. It's part of why I decided to become an educator to provide the foundation of awareness and the necessary actions to make things more accessible.

4. Is there a specific website, app, or other digital experience that you think does a great job of being accessible? Why is it a good example?

I feel the A11y Project, https://www.a11yproject.com/, does an excellent job of being accessible. A lot of times, people feel like making something accessible means that design cannot be attractive. I think the A11y project website is beautiful and useful.

5. You've built a large audience through your book, speaking engagements, and social media presence - what do you hope to instill or inspire through your words?

I hope to encourage folks to work with and hire people with disabilities.  I hope to increase awareness about accessible and inclusive experiences from physical to digital products and services. As an educator, I feel I cannot teach anyone anything. I only hope that the words I use cause people to think.

Learn more about Reginé Gilbert's work at her website, reginegilbert.com. To keep up with our work at Diamond, explore this website or follow us on Twitter at @DWSLA.