A tutorial on Accessibility and Usability as part of the Flash group presentation-

USABILITY- Design isnt just about how something looks, its about how it works as well. To be a good web designer you need to get into the user’s head and know what they want, what they expect. Make things quick and easy to find, a focused design with a standard orientation.

Why is this important? If people become frustrated or annoyed at the way your site for example works, they will leave, if things are easy to find, people will find them. You must research your target audience, what do they expect?

5 Quality components as laid out in our lectures last year-

  1. Learnability-how easy is it to do basic tasks?
  2. Efficiency- once learned, how quickly can people do the tasks?
  3. Memorability- how fast do they re-establish proficiency on return?
  4. Errors-how many? How severe? Easy recovery?
  5. Satisfaction- do they like the way it works?

Also, utility must be taken into consideration- does it do what people need?

Testing for usability- Research the target market and get them to do representative tasks. Note what they do right, where they go wrong, and where they struggle and change the design accordingly. Keep testing after your initial findings until it is perfect!

People’s different browsers, screen res, and limited colour and fonts must be considered.


  1. legal issues-discrimination
  2. Market issues- excluding potential users.
  3. Search issues- search engines don’t see what people are looking for, be specific.
  4. Compatibility issues- PDAs, mobile phones, touch screens etc.
  5. And what if your user has a disability? Eg. Blind, deaf, or unable to use a mouse?

Do your users use assistive technologies? Keyboard only, touch screens, screen readers, screen magnifiers etc.

So… Make sure your images have <alt>tags, use headings and heading tags, front load your paragraphs, put the most important information at the top (this should be done anyway), make sure the text can be resized, make transcripts of audio and video and check colour combinations for the colour-blind. Use accessibility testing tools.

We see that most of these issues can be dealt with by being considerate towards your reader and spending some time making sure you are not discriminating, testing for accessibility is extremely important.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: