Web Site Usability and Accessibility

Resources to help you make your site easy-to-use and accessible to the widest possible range of users. Topics include usability and usability testing, writing for the web, and designing for accessibility.

 

Web Site Usability and Accessibility

Section editor

Introduction

This section links to resources to help you make your site easy-to-use and  accessible to the widest possible range of users.

Web Site  Usability and Accessibility - Usability

Editor's choice: Usability.gov

Developed by: National Cancer Institute, United States Type of  resource: Web site Target audience: General Cost: Free  access

Usability.gov offers extensive resources on web site usability, from basic  concepts to advanced design techniques.

Dhttp://usability.gov/


Usability Research

Developed by: User Interface Engineering Type of resource: Web site Target audience: General Cost: Free access

User Interface Engineering is a company specialising in usability  research. Its web site carries a wealth of information about usability in its  articles and whitepapers, both of which are free to use.

Dhttp://www.uie.com/


Appropriate Use of Alternative Text

Developed by: WebAim Type of resource: Web  article Target audience: General Cost: Free access

"Adding alternative text for images is the first principle of web  accessibility." This article from WebAim shows how to add alternative text  appropriately and effectively.

Dhttp://webaim.org/techniques/alttext/


Creating Accessible Cascading Style Sheets

Developed by: Paul Bohman Type of resource: Web  site Target audience: General Cost: Free access

This tutorial gives an overview of CSS and why they are particularly useful  in terms of accessibility. A special focus looks at options for ensuring  viewable and usable content for all visitors to your website, with detailed  instructions for improving linearized viewing and tricks to skip navigation.  "Skipping over the navigation is a useful feature both for those who use screen  readers and for those who rely on the keyboard for other reasons, such as those  who have certain types of motor disabilities."

Dhttp://www.webaim.org/techniques/css/


Expert usability review vs. usability testing

Developed by: Webcredible Type of resource: Web  article Target audience: General Cost: Free access

"An expert usability review is when a usability specialist inspects a website  to identify potential usability problems. Usability testing involves getting  people from the target audience to evaluate your site whilst performing tasks."  Lisa Halabi compares the two methods.

Dhttp://www.webcredible.co.uk/user-friendly-resourc es/web-usability/website-review.shtml


Introduction to Web Accessibility

Developed by: WebAim Type of resource: Web  article Target audience: General Cost: Free access

WebAim has recently updated their introduction to web accessibility. It  "highlights the web's potential to empower people with disabilities, the  frustrations they feel when they cannot access the web, and what you can do to  make your sites more accessible. This is a great resource for anyone who is new  to web accessibility."

Dhttp://webaim.org/intro/


Usability and User Experience Usability Toolkit

Developed by: Usability and User Experience Type of  resource: MS Word documents Target audience: General Cost: Free access

"The Usability Toolkit is a collection of forms, checklists and other useful  documents for conducting usability tests and user interviews."

Dhttp://stcsig.org/usability/resources/toolkit/tool kit.html


Usability First

Developed by: Foraker Design Type of resource: Web  site Target audience: General Cost: Free access

A wealth of resources on designing usable web sites and software, and  evaluating usability.

Dhttp://www.usabilityfirst.com/


Usability Toolkit

Developed by: Information & Design Type of resource: Web site Target audience: General, Trainers Cost: Free  access

Articles and checklists on a wide range of usability-related topics. An  extended commercial version is also available.

Dhttp://www.infodesign.com.au/usabilityresources/de fault.asp


Usable Web

Developed by: Usable Web Type of resource: Web  site Target audience: General Cost: Free access

Usableweb.com is a collection of links to some of the best thinking and  resources on the web about Web Usability. Although no longer updated,  Usableweb.com remains an excellent starting point.

Dhttp://www.usableweb.com


Web accessibility articles & resources

Developed by: Webcredible Type of resource: Web  site Target audience: General Cost: Free access

Webcredible offers articles a range of web site accessibility topics, from  basic to advanced.

Dhttp://www.webcredible.co.uk/user-friendly-resourc es/web-accessibility/


Welcome to the Global Village: Some Considerations for Doing Usability in  the Global Markets

Developed by: Kath Straub/HFI Type of resource: Web  article Target audience: General Cost: Free access

This article looks at the importance of considering local psychology in  developing globalized internet sites. Although written primarily for a  commercial-focussed audience, the article will be of interest to a more general  audience.

Dhttp://www.humanfactors.com/downloads/mar04.asp


Framing Web Sites: FARN's Experience

Developed by: FARN Type of resource: Web case  study Target audience: General Cost: Free access

FARN first developed their web site in 1997. Soon after, frames emerged as  the new, innovative technique in design. In thinking that frames were more user  friendly and better in general, FARN began converting their site into frames in  1998. By 1999, FARN had removed all frames and moved back to a simpler  design.

Dhttp://www.sdcn.org/webworks/cases/frames_farn1.ht m


Web Site  Usability and Accessibility - Usability testing

Usability evaluation and testing

Developed by: Information & Design Type of resource: Web site Target audience: General Cost: Free access

"Evaluation is crucial in any quality activity; if we want quality products,  we must apply ourselves to uncovering the faults that are inherent in any user  interface, and mitigate or eliminate them." This site walks you through the main  steps of usability testing and evaluation.

Dhttp://www.infodesign.com.au/usabilityresources/ev aluation/default.asp


Usability testing without a budget

Developed by: 456 Berea Street Type of resource: Web  article Target audience: General Cost: Free access

Roger Johansson looks at basic usability testing methods to improve your  site.

Dhttp://www.456bereastreet.com/archive/200505/usabi lity_testing_without_a_budget/


Web Site  Usability and Accessibility - Accessibility

Editor's Choice: Website Accessibility 101: Policy,  Standards, and Design Techniques

Developed by: University of Wisconsin - Madison Type of  resource: web site Target audience: General Cost: Free  access

Full online tutorial offered by the University of Wisconsin. The course  details how to make images, links, tables, multimedia, scripts and more fully  accessible. Each module provides a self-assessment test to ensure full  understanding of the concepts presented, as well as a full assessment at the end  of the course. In addition to ensuring compliance with US laws on accessibility,  the site presents considerations that go beyond Section 508 on accessibility. It  also gives handy tips and suggestions for facilitating the transformation of  your site into an accessible one. The site also features a simple an online quiz  to test your accessibility awareness.

Dhttp://www.doit.wisc.edu/accessibility/online-cour se/index.htm


Accessibility audit vs. accessibility testing

Developed by: Webcredible Type of resource: Web  article Target audience: General Cost: Free access

"There are currently three different options available to you when testing a  website for accessibility: * Accessibility audit - An accessibility expert  reviews your site, highlighting any accessibility issue * Accessibility  testing - Real disabled users complete common tasks on your website whilst a  moderator notes all problems they experience * Automated accessibility  testing - An automated program evaluates your website against accessibility  guidelines" Webcredible looks at the advantages and disadvantages of each  method.

Dhttp://www.webcredible.co.uk/user-friendly-resourc es/web-accessibility/audit-testing.shtml


Accessibility Features of Dreamweaver MX and MX 2004

Developed by: WebAim Type of resource: Web  article Target audience: General Cost: Free access

Dreamweaver MX and MX 2004 allow developers to be prompted when inserting web  elements that may need accessibility attributes added to them. This article by  Jared Smith describes the new accessibility features of these programmes.

Dhttp://webaim.org/techniques/dreamweaver/index


Accessibility: Learn by Example

Developed by: University of Wisconsin Type of resource: Web  site Target audience: General Cost: Free access

"In order to illustrate the best practices for accessible web page design, we  have created a website that contains both Inaccessible & Accessible pages.  These examples should provide solutions to the most common accessibility issues  currently facing web content managers. Each page in the Inaccessible website has  a "What's Wrong" link that connects to both the Explanation of the problem &  to a corresponding Accessible version. Similarly, Accessible pages contain a  "What's Correct" link that guides the users to an Explanation of the best  practices employed on the page."

Dhttp://www.cew.wisc.edu/accessibility/examples/goo dbad/goodbadintro.htm


Accessify.com

Developed by: Accessify.com Type of resource: Web  site Target audience: General Cost: Free access

This not-for-profit initiative provides tools, links and resources to help  you make your site comply with accessibility standards, along with news on  accessibility-related topics.

Dhttp://www.accessify.com/


Building Accessible Web Sites

Developed by: Joe Clark Type of resource: Web  site Target audience: General Cost: Free access

This free online version of Joe Clarke's book (minus the graphics of the  printed edition) offers a comprehensive guide to accessible web design.

Dhttp://joeclark.org/book/


Dive into Accessibility: 30 days to a more accessible web site

Developed by: Mark Pilgrim Type of resource: Web  site Target audience: General Cost: Free access

Using five fictitious characters that represent real-life people with various  disabilities, Mark Pilgrim provides design guidelines that can make it easier  for people like them to use web sites. Available in HTML and PDF formats.

Dhttp://diveintoaccessibility.org/


Facts and Opinions About PDF Accessibility

Developed by: A List Apart Type of resource: Web  article Target audience: General Cost: Free access

"PDF files on the web are sometimes annoying and very often unnecessary. But  when they aren’t either of those things, we need to make them accessible for the  same reasons we make other web content accessible." This article by Joe Clark  looks at how PDF does and does not support accessibility.

Dhttp://www.alistapart.com/articles/pdf_accessibili ty


Four Web Accessibility Myths - Busted

Developed by: TechSoup Type of resource: Web  article Target audience: General Cost: Free access

TechSoup challenges four myths around alternate text, the title attribute,  tables for layout, and javascript.

Dhttp://www.techsoup.org/learningcenter/access/page 5784.cfm


Improving the Accessibility of Your Web Site

Developed by: W3C Type of resource: Web guide Target  audience: General Cost: Free access

If your web site was not designed with accessibility in mind from the start,  implementing accessibility standards can seem a daunting task. This guide from  the W3C Web Accessibility Initiative will help you make accessibility  improvements and repairs to an existing web site efficiently and  effectively.

Dhttp://www.w3.org/WAI/impl/improving.html


Planning web accessibility training

Developed by: W3C Type of resource: Web site Target  audience: General, Trainers Cost: Free access

This set of training resource pages outlines strategies and resources which  can be useful in preparing training sessions on web accessibility.

Dhttp://www.w3.org/WAI/training/


Section 508 Web Accessibility Standards for HTML

Developed by: WebAIM Type of resource: website Target  audience: General Cost: Free access

This detailed check list provides key information for meeting accessibility  standards in the United States, at the same time providing an example of an  appropriately tagged PDF file so that the PDF file is fully accessible. A "pass"  or "fail" listing is provided for each component of Section 508, helping web  designers know if they are appropriately complying with accessibility criteria.  The notes section helps readers avoid common traps when addressing  accessibility. (Section 508 requires that United States Federal agencies'  electronic and information technology is accessible to people with  disabilities.)

Dhttp://www.webaim.org/standards/508/508checklist.p df


The future of web accessibility

Developed by: webcredible Type of resource: Web  article Target audience: General Cost: Free access

This article by Trenton Moss looks at a few of the new challenges to  accessibility posed by evolving web technologies, and makes some predictions  about the factors which will shape web accessibility in future.

Dhttp://www.webcredible.co.uk/user-friendly-resourc es/web-accessibility/future.shtml


WCAG 2.0 Quick Reference

Developed by: W3C Type of resource: Web site Target  audience: General Cost: Free access

A summary of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 requirements  and techniques to meet them.

Dhttp://www.w3.org/WAI/WCAG20/quickref/


Web 2.0 & Accessibility for Disabled Users

Developed by: ICTHUB KnowledgeBase Type of resource: Web  article Target audience: General Cost: Free access

"Web 2.0 has become one of the buzzwords within the internet community. In  this article we examine what Web 2.0 is and what implications it might have for  disabled people who use the Web, particularly the use of Ajax for interactive  web pages."

Dhttp://www.icthubknowledgebase.org.uk/web20andacce ssibility


Web Accessibility Initiative

Developed by: W3c.org Type of resource: Web  site Target audience: General Cost: Free access

Perhaps the first stop on the Web for resources relating to web site  accessibility. This is from the W3C's Web Accessibility Initiative group.

Dhttp://www.w3.org/WAI/Resources/


Defining Acrobat PDF Accessibility

Developed by: WebAIM Type of resource: website Target  audience: General Cost: Free access

An excellent tutorial from WebAccessibilityInMind on accessibility for PDFs -  detailed information regarding how to use Adobe 7.0 to make tags and Adobe 7.0  Professional to modify tags. The tutorial warns of pitfalls and failings in the  Adobe tagging process, and how to get around them. The tutorial first outlines  different disabilities and approaches to accessibility. It also offers general  concerns about accessibility using easy "convert to HTML" tools, which create  unnecessary HTML code.

Dhttp://www.webaim.org/techniques/acrobat/


Web  Site Usability and Accessibility - Validation and testing tools

W3C HTML Validation Service

Developed by: W3C Type of resource: Web page Target  audience: General Cost: Free access

This free service checks HTML documents for conformance to W3C HTML and XHTML  recommendations and other HTML standards.

Dhttp://validator.w3.org/


Evaluating Website Accessibility

Developed by: WebAIM Type of resource: website Target  audience: General Cost: Free access

This WebAIM tutorial provides seven steps to ensure the accessibility of your  site, including validation tools and tips for different types of disabilities. 

Dhttp://www.webaim.org/techniques/evaluating/


FEED Validator for Atom and RSS

Developed by: Sam Ruby, Mark Pilgrim, Joseph Walton, and Phil  Ringnalda Type of resource: Web site Target audience: General Cost: Free access

Trouble setting up RSS? This online tool can help you identify the problem  and find solutions.

Dhttp://feedvalidator.org/


Hermish

Developed by: Hermish Type of resource: Online  accessibility testing tool Target audience: General Cost: Free access

Free, easy-to-use tool to help you check the accessibility and cross-browser  compatibility of your web site.

Dhttp://www.hermish.com/


iCapture

Developed by: Dan Vine Type of resource: Web  site Target audience: General Cost: Free access

This tool delivers a screenshot of your site as a Mac sees it through the  Apple Safari browser.

Dhttp://www.danvine.com/icapture/


ieCapture

Developed by: Dan Vine Type of resource: Web  site Target audience: General Cost: Free access

This tool delivers a screenshot of your site as seen by Internet Explorer  4.01 - 6.0, Mozilla Firefox 0.8, and Opera 7.23 at different screen  resolutions.

Dhttp://www.danvine.com/iecapture/


Usablenet

Developed by: UsableNet Inc. Type of resource: Web site  with free downloads Target audience: General Cost: Free  access

Useablenet are the creators of commercial website analysis tools. They also  offer a number of free services. You can download their award-winning  Accessibility Extensions for Dreamweaver and try out their trial version of LIFT  Online, which tests a web page against usability and accessibility  guidelines.

Dhttp://www.usablenet.com


Vischeck

Developed by: Stanford University Type of resource: Website  with downloadable plug in Target audience: General Cost: Free access

Can colourblind users see your site? Vischeck is a computer simulation that  shows you what things look like for someone who is colourblind. Download the  free tool to test your web designs for colour blind visibility. You will also  find useful information on colour and vision.

Dhttp://www.vischeck.com


Watchfire WebXACT

Developed by: Watchfire Type of resource: Online  accessibility testing tool Target audience: General Cost: Free access

This free service allows you to test web pages (one at a time) for compliance  with accessibility guidelines such as Section 508 and the W3C's WCAG with a view  to repairing barriers to accessibility in your pages.

Dhttp://webxact.watchfire.com/


WebAIM Simulations

Developed by: http://www.webaim.org/simulations/ Type of  resource: Web site (including Shockwave) Target audience: General Cost: Free access

The WebAIM site offers three simulations: * Screen reader simulation -  experience a screen reader and learn how inaccessible content affects screen  reader users. * Low-vision simulation - view web content through several  types of vision disabilities. Learn how to design content to best work with  screen enlarging software. * Distractability simulation - experience the  frustrations similar to what someone with a cognitive disability may experience  on the Web.

Dhttp://www.webaim.org/simulations/


Web  Site Usability and Accessibility - Writing for the web

Effective Activism on the internet

Developed by: Anitra Freeman Type of resource: Web  site Target audience: General Cost: Free access

This website from Anitra Freeman offers suggestions for internet activism in  websites. The simple text site gives tips on how to get your message across, how  to make sure your HTML is accessible to all, including people who have physical  impairments; and writing effective emails.

Dhttp://www.scn.org/~alf1701/


Inverted Pyramids in Cyberspace

Developed by: Jakob Nielsen Type of resource: Web  article Target audience: General Cost: Free access

Jakob Nielsen provides a quick overview of the "inverted pyramid style" for  writing articles, and why it is particularly relevant for writing on the web. He  cites studies of web usability and compares the traditional pyramid and inverted  pyramid frameworks. He also enriches basic print media's linear inverted pyramid  with the interlinked information possibilities of the web, i.e. linking to full  background materials or article digests.

Dhttp://www.useit.com/alertbox/9606.html


Lower-Literacy Users

Developed by: Jakob Nielsen's Alertbox Type of resource: web site Target audience: General Cost: Free access

Lower-literacy users exhibit very different reading behaviors than  higher-literacy users: they plow text rather than scan it, and they miss page  elements due to a narrower field of view. The article explores characteristics  of lower literacy users, and offers design and writing tips to keep them on your  site, as well as results of a study to show the effectiveness of gearing your  site to lower-literacy users. In the United States alone lower-literacy users  represent almost 50% of the population, and anyone who is not a native speaker  of the language being read is more likely to have similiar reading  characteristics.

Dhttp://www.useit.com/alertbox/20050314.html


Writing for the Web

Developed by: MMTK Type of resource: MS Word  document Target audience: General, Trainers Cost: Free  access

Guide by Marion Walton from the University of Cape Town with tips and  strategies for writing effective content for the web. Part of the Multimedia Training  Kit.

Dhttp://www.itrainonline.org/itrainonline/mmtk/mmtk _writing_for_the_web_handout.doc


Writing for the Web: Guidelines for MIT Libraries

Developed by: MIT Type of resource: Web site Target  audience: General Cost: Free access

Based on a workshop given by Janice Redish, these guidelines look at how  people read on the web, writing for the web, and design for on-screen  reading.

Dhttp://macfadden.mit.edu:9500/webgroup/writing/


Writing Online: Best Practices

Developed by: OneNorthWest Type of resource: Web  article Target audience: General Cost: Free access

OneNorthWest offers guidelines, tips, and hints for writing more effective  web content.

Dhttp://www.onenw.org/toolkit/writing-online-best-p ractices


Web Site Usability  and Accessibility - General

Developing with web standards: recommendations and best practices

Developed by: Roger Johansson Type of resource: Web  article Target audience: General Cost: Free access

"This document explains how and why using web standards will let you build  websites in a way that saves time and money for the developer and provides a  better experience for the visitor. Also discussed are other methods, guidelines  and best practices that will help produce high-quality websites that are  accessible to as many as possible."

Dhttp://www.456bereastreet.com/lab/developing_with_ web_standards/


Human Factors International

Developed by: HFU Type of resource: Web site Target  audience: General Cost: Free access

The web site of Human Factors International (a commercial consultancy) offers  a number of free resources relating to usability and accessibility, including a  monthly User Interface Design Update newsletter.

Dhttp://www.humanfactors.com/


The Web Standards Project

Developed by: The Web Standards Project Type of resource: Web site Target audience: General Cost: Free access

The Web Standards Project is a grassroots coalition fighting for standards  that ensure simple, affordable access to web technologies for all. Designing and  building with web standards simplifies and lowers the cost of production, while  delivering sites that are accessible to more people and more types of Internet  devices.

Dhttp://www.webstandards.org


UITest.com User Interface Test resources

Developed by: Jens Meiert Type of resource: Web  directory Target audience: General Cost: Free access

Links to a wide range of free resources for user interface development, and  analysis tools for graphic user interface (GUI) assessment and improvement.

Dhttp://uitest.com/


Web Site Usability and Accessibility for Nonprofits

Developed by: TechSoup Type of resource: Web  article Target audience: General Cost: Free access

TechSoup conducts an interview with Jakob Nielsen about the importance of  usability and accessibility for the web sites of non-profits

Dhttp://www.techsoup.org/articlepage.cfm?articleid= 412

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