Usability meets accessibility

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Information about Usability meets accessibility

Published on March 20, 2014

Author: whitneyq



Presentation on how usability and accessibility problems are related. Including people with disabilities in usability testing can reveal deeper insights into the kinds of problems users might encounter

Where usability meets accessibility Whitney Quesenbery, Center for Civic Design Jayne Schurick, Knowbility

2 Hi! Whitney User research, plain language, usability Found accessibility through work on civic design and elections. Jayne Usability Found accessibility through Phillip Morris.

3 Our starting point: user experience and the user-centered design process 1. Understand people and context of use 2. Identify requirements 3. Explore design solutions 4. Evaluate with users Source: ISO 9241-210 (formerly ISO-13407)

4 Accessibility and usability go hand in hand Usability The effectiveness, efficiency and satisfaction with which a specified set of users can achieve a specified set of tasks in a particular environment. – ISO 9241-11 Accessibility The usability of a product, service, environment or facility by people with the widest range of capabilities – ISO 9241-20

5 Accessibility error priorities 1. Critical An absolute barrier to access 2. Serious A barrier that could cause frustration to most and be a barrier to some, causing a need for work-arounds 3. Moderate A frustration that would not prevent someone from using the site 4. Minor A WCAG error that is unlikely to cause problems - Glenda Sims, Deque Source: 2103 Accessibility Summit:

6 Usability problem priorities 1. Critical A problem that will prevent some users from completing a common task 2. Serious A problem that will slow down some users and force them to find work-arounds 3. Medium A problem that will cause frustration but will not affect task completion 4. Low A quality or cosmetic problem, such as a spelling error, that can damage the credibility of a site. - David Travis, User Focus Source:

7 Both evaluate priorities by impact on the user How likely is it that this problem will stop someone from being able to use the site? Priority Label What it covers Critical Barriers that stop someone from using a site or feature successfully Serious Problems that cause frustration, slow someone down, or require work-arounds Annoying (moderate) Things that are frustrating, but won't stop someone from using the site Noisy (minor) Minor issues that might not cause someone a problem, but which damage credibility

8 Examples of how usability and accessibility problems interact These examples are drawn from our experiences doing usability testing. Although we show partial screens from real site, these are simply typical problems, and not unique to those sites. In most cases, these companies are actively working on both usability and accessibility, and some of the issues described in this presentation have already been fixed.

9 Coding errors turn a serious usability problem into a critical accessibility problem Usability problems (serious) • Too many links (281 of them)] • And 45 lists • 98 Poor headings • Overly complex information Accessibility barriers (critical) • Missing semantic coding: • Headings • In page navigation

10 Noisy – easy to find - problems masked a critical one Accessibility (noisy) • Missing alt text • Inconsistent heading coding • Confusing labeling of sections But the real problem was Accessibility (critical) • No way to jump past the infinite ribbon at the top of the page

11 All information and links are “accessible” but rely on visual layout for meaning Accessibility (serious) • The overall site is accessible but • The insert task links rely on visual position to tell you where the task will be inserted. Insert Task Insert Task

12 Long pages make information hard to find (even with headers, without a table of contents Really really long page  Usability & Accessiblity (Annoying to Serious) • On a long page with a lot of detail, users had trouble finding specific information Adding a well-designed "on this page" menu helped everyone decide whether this was the right page

13 The interface is harder than the test Usability (serious) Kids have to know how use the tabs Accessibility (critical) Same problem, but worse because the test question is hidden No heading Follows long text

14 Participants with disabilities add perspectives to a usability problem Usability & accessibility(serious) The general interface is both usable and accessible, but the language and terminology in the content created serious and critical problems for people who did not know university terminology.

15 Repeated and inconsistent page titles make the IA incomprehensible Usability (annoying) Page titles repeat at different levels Links and titles don't always match Accessibility (serious) Same problems have more impact for screen reader or zoom text users

16 Look at real behavior, not just coding requirements. People with different interaction styles add depth to usability.

17 "The future is already's just not evenly distributed." – William Gibson

18 Whitney Quesenbery @whitneyq Jayne Schurick A Web for Everyone print, MOBI, ePUB, printable PDF, DAISY

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