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Usability Engineering an Accessible Web

Blog topics: 
Short presentation that was part of the FedWeb '98 Seminar on Universal Access, July 7, 1998, Washington, DC.

Goal: People accessing Information and Services

User Interface Hurdles

Usability Viewpoint on Accessibility

  • Accessibility one aspect of usability
  • Understanding users, tasks
  • Disabled only part of audience for accessibility
  • Techniques to make it easy to use can also be used to make it accessible

Example: "The Online Disabled"

Some groups of users "behave disabled" online:

  • Slow connections, browse without graphics
  • No sound cards, not installed properly
  • Older browsers, undetected features
  • User settings, features turned off
  • Poor input devices (WebTV)
  • Poor output devices (PDAs)
  • You, sitting in the audience right now

Usability Engineering for the Web

  1. Walk a mile in my users' shoes
  2. Take a ride on their shoulders
  3. Embrace the Web
  4. Do usability sweeps
  5. Assume I will get it wrong the first time
  6. Sleep with the technology but do not marry it

Webmaster Needs

  1. Easier to do special configurations
  2. User testing with "online disabled"
  3. Accessibility is a feature, not a bug
  4. Checklists, guidelines (tools)
  5. Still iterative design
  6. Accessibility tradeoffs of each technology