Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Web Usability

Balancing usability and accessibility ...

"The dividing line between web accessibility and web usability is often blurred and difficult to distinguish. Whilst there is no doubt that the two topics do overlap to a significant degree, it is important to differentiate between them. Unlike web accessibility which impacts directly upon disabled users, web usability affects all users, and can be defined as a measure of how easy it is for a generic site visitor to carry out a task such as finding a given piece of information or buying a certain product. However, there are accessibility benefits to be gained from applying web usability principles to your designs. So let’s take a few simply usability concepts, look at why they are important and see what effect they may have on overall accessibility.

Take any prolonged discussion on web accessibility and there will come a point when someone mutters the phrase

“That’s not an accessibility problem. That’s a usability issue.”

As was demonstrated by The Great Accessibility Camp-Out, even very experienced developers have different ideas as to where accessibility stops and usability begins. But where do we draw the line? And can incorporating a few usability principles improve a site’s overall accessibility?

For a start, I think we need to understand, once and for all, that usability is not the same thing as accessibility.Web usability affects all users and , generally speaking, can be sub-divided into five core components:

Learnability - How easy it is for visitors to find their way around the site during their first visit?
Effectivity - How quickly and easily can they perform tasks?
Memorability - When visitors return to the site after a period of time, how quickly do they recall how to use the site?
Reliability - How many errors do visitors make, how severe are those errors and how easily do they adjust?
Enjoyability - How pleasant is the site to use?

So how do we turn these components into something practical we can use?"    (Continued via    [Usability Resources]


Post a Comment

<< Home

<< Home