Accessibility/Usability/You!

The first resource here is the ultimate on web standards and is a simple 'must' for any web designer wishing to conform to today's current good practice in web design. It can be a bit 'dry' but you should percesevre with it...

W3CW3C

Web Accessibility InitiativeWAI

W3C ValidatorW3C Validator

W3C ChecklistsW3C Checklist

 

Accessibility and Usability Books

Designing Web UsabilityDesigning Web Usability

Prioritizing Web UsabilityPrioritizing Web Usability

Don't Make Me ThinkDon't Make Me Think

Web Site UsabilityWeb Site Usability

Homepage UsabilityHomepage Usability

Graphic DesignTypography Accessibility & Usability XHTML & CSS Web 2 Web Integration

Welcome to the world of accessibility and usability for the web.

There is quite a lot to learn in this field and it's certainly not something which can be easily got-to-grips with so it might take a little bit of researching, reading and designing before you get used to it all.

Really what you should be doing is thinking accessibility and usability right from the start of the design process - if you leave it until the last minute to consider these two topics then it could mean that you've wasted a lot of time, effort and money; so it is imperative that you think about these things before you even begin designing anything.

I've given you a couple of quotes to get you started and there is also the resources list on the right-hand side.

Anyway, on with the designs my friends...

 

 

 

Accessibility means

Woah, it's a big word and it has big meanings! If you are really serious about web design then this word is just a given. So what does it all mean Basil? Well let me explain - the following website provides a definition of what this actually is:

Introduction to Web Accessibility (2008) Available at: http://www.w3.org/WAI/intro/accessibility.php . (Accessed: 22 July 2009).

Web Accessibility

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Usability - what does it mean?

With accessibility comes usability - in fact it's very hard to talk about one without the other. A suitable quote for this comes from Webcredible:

Web Usability - the basics (2009) Available at: http://www.webcredible.co.uk/user-friendly-resources/web-usability/basics.shtml. (Accessed: 22 July 2009).

Web Usability

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Barriers to access

No entry

 

Now you might be wondering what types of thing might prevent your web visitors from accessing your website. Well if you are you might like to consider the following:

Visual: Impairments including blindness, low vision or poor eyesight, various types of colour blindness
Motor/Mobility: Difficulty or inability to use the hands, including tremors, muscle slowness, loss of fine muscle control
Auditory: Deafness or hearing impairments
Seizures: Photo-epileptic seizures casued by visual strobe or flashing effects
Cognitive/Intellectual: Developmental disabilities, learning disabilities (dyslexia), and cognitive disabilities of various origins, affecting memory, attention, developmental "maturity", problem-solving and logic skills, etc

 

 

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The importance of accessibility

Web Accessibility PDF

 

Over the last 10-15 years the web has become a key resource for lots of things - you only need to think about the types of website you visit to put this in to perspective:

News, information, commerce, entertainment,

Classroom education, distance learning,

Job searching, workplace interaction

National and local Government services

Online social networking i.e. Facebook and Flickr

With this we are seeing that the web is displacing traditional sources of information and interaction i.e. in Schools, Libraries and Print-based materials. Remember one key fact:

An accessible web helps people become active in society

Why not take a look at this pdf file on web accessibility - it covers more theory.

 

 

 

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Making Flash Accessible

 

Using Flash While Supporting Standards

 

One thing I've repeatedly come accross when designing webpages is that if you have a Flash animation sequence embedded within your webpage and you come to validate that page it renders them inaccessible - so how do ya overcome this? Previously I would shy away from using Flash simply due to this fact - but then I thought that if I really need to use an animation surely there must be a work-around to this issue. Well I'm really chuffed to say that there is!

The article on the left by Drew Mclellan gives a lot of very useful advice on just how this can be achieved. I reccomend that you go and check this out if you are going to include Flash animation (.swf files) into your webpage designs. Just click on the image to take you to the website.

Make sure that you come back when you have read this :o)

 

 

the Web Validator

 

This resource from the W3C provides you with more information on its validation service and in particular it looks at how you can ensure that your webpages validate ok when you are using Flash within the design. Another nifty little resource which just might help keep your designs out of trouble!

Again, just click on the actual image to be taking to the website.

 

 

 

 

 

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So You Wanna YouTube?

Something that is increasingly popping up is the whole idea of providing interactivity for your audience - I mean who wants to visit a website that is static and non-engaging? Well one simple and effective way in which you can do this is to provide video streaming. Hell yes if you want a quick fix then there is always YouTube. If you have ever tried to include a YouTube video within your webpage, and tried to validate it, chances are that you've come across validation errors with the <embed> tag. If ya wanna know how to fix these errors please read on...

 

YouTube's suggested code


This is the code which YouTube suggests that you use but unfortunately when you do your webpage renders as being invalid - the solution to this problem is shown below.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

YouTube work-around code


 

If you use the code shown opposite then you shouldn't have any issues with your webpage validating! Hey presto it's excellent. This way you don't fall foul of any accessibility issues and you can use the video streaming to enhance your website designs.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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