Web Usability - Accessibility Services

By: Web Usability  09-Dec-2011
Keywords: Learning Difficulties, Physical Disabilities, Web Usability

Good site design incorporates the concept of universal accessibility.

Websites should be able to accommodate a variety of browsers and other input devices, such as switches and headwands (pointers). The content of site pages should also be accessible to different output devices, especially screen reading software that converts text into speech or Braille.

Accessible sites are easier to maintain, work effectively with current Internet technologies and have the inherent flexibility to embrace those of the foreseeable future.

Accessibility Review

An expert review of your website by Web Usability can identify potential accessibility problems.

An Accessibility Review includes:

  • Checking site areas for compliance with WCAG Priority 1 and Priority 2 accessibility checkpoints.
  • Identifying issues that could reduce the accessibility of the site for people with impaired vision, other physical disabilities and cognitive and learning difficulties.
  • Testing selected pages to determine the ease with which users of different assistive technologies can access page content.
  • Analysing web page code to identify accessibility issues and non-compliance with recognised web standards.
  • Preparation of a report outlining accessibility concerns and recommending solutions.

Accessibility Evaluation

A full, comprehensive evaluation of site accessibility incorporates the Accessibility Review described above and task-based user testing of the site by people with disabilities. The people and assistive technologies used for the task-based testing are determined by the requirements of the project and may include:

  • Vision impairment. People who are either blind or have significantly diminished vision depend on screen reading software (eg JAWS), Braille devices and screen magnifiers (eg ZoomText) to use a site. The use of some colour combinations can also cause problems for the visually impaired.
  • Physical disabilities. People with upper limb mobility impairment often have difficulty using a mouse and rely on other input devices.
  • Cognitive and learning disabilities. Although people with severe cognitive impairment are not likely to use the web, many people with some level of cognitive difficulty do use the web. User-testing determines how well people with learning difficulties and/or diminished short-term memory are able to use a site.

The outcomes of each task-based evaluation session are analysed and problems experienced by participants are documented. At the completion of the evaluation process, a full report is prepared. It will detail the likely impact of any identified accessibility issues and, where appropriate, make recommendations for addressing them.

Keywords: Learning Difficulties, Physical Disabilities, Web Usability

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Web Usability - Services

As an accessibility specialist, Roger Hudson conducts usability and accessibility studies with a wide range of web users, including the blind or visually impaired and those with cognitive and physical disabilities. Web Usability can help you ensure that your site does not become obsolete as new devices for accessing the web and more advanced browsers come on line.