Think Accessibility: Personalize Your Site to Send the Right Message to Visitors with 5 Easy Tips

57 Million Americans have a disability (Internet Accessibility, 2017), and 54% of American adults with a disability use the web 
(Pew Internet Project).

1. Great Design NEEDS Great Code

A great design can make users ooh and ahh, if they can access it. Check out Google Web Standards or W3schools.org for tips on how to write good clean code.

  • Use labels for input fields
  • Clearly mark all required fields and use a label that indicates what labels like images or an asterisk (*) represent
  • Use more than just icons, images, colors or symbols to identify ANYTHING – it is absolutely okay to use these assets, just be sure to also integrate alt attributes, descriptions, transcripts, and aria fields
  • Integrate title tags
  • Use unique and page-relevant meta data for each page (title, author, description, keywords)
  • Avoid inline javascript and styles
  • Test your page without CSS (does it still make sense)?
  • Captcha is not accessibility friendly
  • Bootstrap (at the time of this post’s publishing) is not accessibility friendly out-of-the-box
  • Do not replace form labels with placeholder text
  • Avoid using WYSIWYG editors if you know HTML/CSS. Editors in most CMS tools and Dreamweaver can add a lot of gunk to the code.

2. Accessibility May Require More than the 508 Basics

The Rehabilitation Act was enacted by U.S. Congress in 1973 with a section specifically identifying electronic devices, software, and best practices as an amendment called Section 508. The original section, similar to the current one (in my opinion), was mostly ineffective, overlooked, and overall under-promoted with basic rules and guidelines to provide developers and people creating electronics the information needed to provide people with disabilities a similar experience to those without. The EU and UK have similar laws and guidelines. There are also various web standards managed by various groups like Web Aim and W3C.

Section 508 was last updated in 1998, ten years before the first iPhone was released by Steve Jobs (January 2007). So, the laws and requirements required may be considered a little out of date or behind the technological times. That being said, there are many great resources available to teach the basics, and even the basics are often skipped. Skipping the basics hurts the end-user, and leaves many government agencies, schools, and organizations open to expensive law suits.

  • Skip Navigation allows people using assistive technology, like JAWS, to skip over the navigation section of a site. This is important because many disabled internet users with motor skill impediments only use keyboards to tab through a site (never using a mouse). Blind users may have sites read to them and it would take a long time to navigate if they have to listen to the entire navigation over and over.
  • Alt attributes are tags attached to images that describe the image, why it is relevant, and what it means in relation to the page. This text also appears if the image is missing from the file server. 
  • Title tags can be used to describe the anchor text of a link’s location and provide additional context so users do not have to navigate to the page.
  • Meta data is used to describe a page and is also used in the tab of a browser, search engine results, and can be used to propagate sitemaps.

3. Avoid Using Images for Text

Web fonts are easy to integrate and custom typography can now be used on the web via CSS. If you don’t want to host fonts, consider using Google’s free font library. Many designers choose to create print-ready designs and instead of splicing and optimizing images for the web, quickly integrate whole designs via free content management systems like WIX, WordPress, or Blogger.

Beautiful design CAN be accomplished in a responsive (mobile-friendly) way without hosting images as web pages. Plus multiple large images, animations, and designs with fonts inside the image are not readable by search engine bots (the evil little creatures who live inside the interwebs that are responsible for categorizing and managing the library that is search engines).

4. Color with Contrast

8.1 Million American’s are known to have a vision impairment, many with color blindness. If font colors look similar to the background behind the text, the content may become unreadable. There are many versions of color contrast checkers. Web Aim offers a free tool on their website, and WAVE is a Google Chrome add-on that allows web developers to quickly quality check sites for common accessibility issues.

5. Testing Takes Time

Know your user, and plan for more users you don’t know. User experience research can be fun! User interviews are just the start, but ongoing research using tools like Krux, Google Analytics, Adobe Analytics, Moz, CrazyEgg, and others can help developers and designers better understand who they are creating for. There are dozens of browsers available, hundreds of versions, and various devices that people may be using to access a web page or application. Analytics can help narrow down the requirements to a specific browser, various devices, versions, and what time of accessibility tools are CURRENTLY being used. A good tool and knowledgeable researcher can even discover which browsers have the highest exit rate (meaning you’re losing traffic and should optimize for those users).

Over time content can be customized based on demographics, keywords, web morphing, and the use of machine learning to give a dynamic (almost unique) experience to a large number of users.

  • Wahlbin, K.,  Bunge, K., Krause, G., Miller, M., Wahlbin, S. (Accessed May 2017). Interactive Accessibility. Accessibility Statistics. http://ift.tt/1Km7LsK
  • Dolson, J. (2009). Practical Ecommerce. Pew Internet Project. (Accessed May 2017) http://ift.tt/2qwBvzb

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Think Accessibility: Personalize Your Site to Send the Right Message to Visitors with 5 Easy Tips

57 Million Americans have a disability (Internet Accessibility, 2017), and 54% of American adults with a disability use the web 
(Pew Internet Project).

1. Great Design NEEDS Great Code

A great design can make users ooh and ahh, if they can access it. Check out Google Web Standards or W3schools.org for tips on how to write good clean code.

  • Use labels for input fields
  • Clearly mark all required fields and use a label that indicates what labels like images or an asterisk (*) represent
  • Use more than just icons, images, colors or symbols to identify ANYTHING – it is absolutely okay to use these assets, just be sure to also integrate alt attributes, descriptions, transcripts, and aria fields
  • Integrate title tags
  • Use unique and page-relevant meta data for each page (title, author, description, keywords)
  • Avoid inline javascript and styles
  • Test your page without CSS (does it still make sense)?
  • Captcha is not accessibility friendly
  • Bootstrap (at the time of this post’s publishing) is not accessibility friendly out-of-the-box
  • Do not replace form labels with placeholder text
  • Avoid using WYSIWYG editors if you know HTML/CSS. Editors in most CMS tools and Dreamweaver can add a lot of gunk to the code.

2. Accessibility May Require More than the 508 Basics

The Rehabilitation Act was enacted by U.S. Congress in 1973 with a section specifically identifying electronic devices, software, and best practices as an amendment called Section 508. The original section, similar to the current one (in my opinion), was mostly ineffective, overlooked, and overall under-promoted with basic rules and guidelines to provide developers and people creating electronics the information needed to provide people with disabilities a similar experience to those without. The EU and UK have similar laws and guidelines. There are also various web standards managed by various groups like Web Aim and W3C.

Section 508 was last updated in 1998, ten years before the first iPhone was released by Steve Jobs (January 2007). So, the laws and requirements required may be considered a little out of date or behind the technological times. That being said, there are many great resources available to teach the basics, and even the basics are often skipped. Skipping the basics hurts the end-user, and leaves many government agencies, schools, and organizations open to expensive law suits.

  • Skip Navigation allows people using assistive technology, like JAWS, to skip over the navigation section of a site. This is important because many disabled internet users with motor skill impediments only use keyboards to tab through a site (never using a mouse). Blind users may have sites read to them and it would take a long time to navigate if they have to listen to the entire navigation over and over.
  • Alt attributes are tags attached to images that describe the image, why it is relevant, and what it means in relation to the page. This text also appears if the image is missing from the file server. 
  • Title tags can be used to describe the anchor text of a link’s location and provide additional context so users do not have to navigate to the page.
  • Meta data is used to describe a page and is also used in the tab of a browser, search engine results, and can be used to propagate sitemaps.

3. Avoid Using Images for Text

Web fonts are easy to integrate and custom typography can now be used on the web via CSS. If you don’t want to host fonts, consider using Google’s free font library. Many designers choose to create print-ready designs and instead of splicing and optimizing images for the web, quickly integrate whole designs via free content management systems like WIX, WordPress, or Blogger.

Beautiful design CAN be accomplished in a responsive (mobile-friendly) way without hosting images as web pages. Plus multiple large images, animations, and designs with fonts inside the image are not readable by search engine bots (the evil little creatures who live inside the interwebs that are responsible for categorizing and managing the library that is search engines).

4. Color with Contrast

8.1 Million American’s are known to have a vision impairment, many with color blindness. If font colors look similar to the background behind the text, the content may become unreadable. There are many versions of color contrast checkers. Web Aim offers a free tool on their website, and WAVE is a Google Chrome add-on that allows web developers to quickly quality check sites for common accessibility issues.

5. Testing Takes Time

Know your user, and plan for more users you don’t know. User experience research can be fun! User interviews are just the start, but ongoing research using tools like Krux, Google Analytics, Adobe Analytics, Moz, CrazyEgg, and others can help developers and designers better understand who they are creating for. There are dozens of browsers available, hundreds of versions, and various devices that people may be using to access a web page or application. Analytics can help narrow down the requirements to a specific browser, various devices, versions, and what time of accessibility tools are CURRENTLY being used. A good tool and knowledgeable researcher can even discover which browsers have the highest exit rate (meaning you’re losing traffic and should optimize for those users).

Over time content can be customized based on demographics, keywords, web morphing, and the use of machine learning to give a dynamic (almost unique) experience to a large number of users.

  • Wahlbin, K.,  Bunge, K., Krause, G., Miller, M., Wahlbin, S. (Accessed May 2017). Interactive Accessibility. Accessibility Statistics. http://ift.tt/1Km7LsK
  • Dolson, J. (2009). Practical Ecommerce. Pew Internet Project. (Accessed May 2017) http://ift.tt/2qwBvzb

via Blogger http://ift.tt/2q11ZoS

Feedback/Ideas for Audible.com and Audible Applications

Recommendations for Audible

I wish that I could provide feedback directly from the iPhone or Android app. I wish that if the application crashed it would save which items have been read or marked as finished.

In the list of books it would be nice to see how many stars each book has been rated and to be able to sort them by rating (IN APP).

I would like to be able to login to the app with biometrics (thumbprint). The android app integrates the store better than the iphone app.

When rating books, there are too many clicks required. Seems like the multiple stars could all just be on the initial screen (with the list of recommended books) rather than clicking overall stars, being redirected, then submitting and going back. When doing this to multiple books it becomes very tedious.

It would be nice to integrate the Listener page better with other book lover’s social media like Shelfari and GoodReads or even blogs so that feedback can be auto posted to Amazon, Shelfari, GoodReads, and Blogs.

Why haven’t improvements been made to the gamification of the Audible application? I earned most of the badges a few years ago, but no new badges ever appear or rewards for earning them, or the ability to compete with friends. Most of the application seems to just revolve around the antiquated “share feature” which in its default form is annoying and spammy. I read a lot of books and if I shared every book, every badge, and every other thing from the application with the default verbiage… it would annoy my friends. There seems to be little motivation to this, but if people could earn points or rewards for commenting, inviting friends, sharing books, and writing reviews – more people might be involved. It could track the number of people invited, make a competition out of books read, or for every 100 books offer 1 free credit.

The tracking for the number of titles in my library seems to always be off. It would be awesome if books returned would show up somewhere. I’m not sure if I would accidentally repurchase a book I didn’t like, but at least I could see the books I rated poorly and the “similar” books recommended.

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Consider Good Human Factors

“If consideration for good human factors is given early in the design process, considerable savings in both money and possibly human suffering can be achieved.” — Wickens, Lee, Liu & Gordon-Becker: Chapter 1 of “Introduction to Human Factors Engineering.”
“The system must support the user’s task: if the system forces the user to adopt an unacceptable mode of work then it is not usable.” — Dix, Finlay, Aboud & Beale (2003): Introduction to “Human-Computer Interaction.”
“In other words, companies would be wise to invest early and often in a well-thought user experience for their products and services. Too many companies believe that their brand recognition will suffice when launching and maintain products. This is just not the case anymore in our day and age. A successful company will invest time into testing the usability of their products to ensure they aren’t wasting time and money focusing in the wrong areas.” — Ryan Stone

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Good Vs. Bad Product Design.

Charles Di Renzo
Week 2 Reading Reactions
COLLAPSE
I liked the Wickens reading the most out of these 3. It covered the different types of experiments and under which conditions to use them. This was very fascinating to me as I love the science involved with HCI. I spoke about it in my last post, but I’m always thinking about whether or not a product can be ‘objectively good’ and if so will that mean the most products are headed down a road to imitate one another in the hopes of the being the best product on the market? I think we all feel that products can be ‘objectively bad’ because there are products that are either hard to use or they don’t accomplish their purpose very well, but can a product be deemed ‘objectively good’ if there are people who would prefer a different interface? Either way I enjoy hearing about the science and research that goes into everything. I was also glad to see the discussion of P and t values and their importance in research, as it was a really interesting part of my economics major to see how studies were conducted. I hope that my previous experience with statistics will come in use during this graduate program.

I also enjoyed the Dix Ch. 9 article and how they discussed the Heuristic evaluation, we had touched on these in my undergraduate ‘Usability’ class and I enjoy using an app or a webpage and thinking about how they’ve been applied.

Charles,

I like that you pointed out Wicken’s experiment types and the objectively good/bad products. I didn’t really consider discussing either of these in my response to this weeks reading, but the way you responded reminds me a lot of other readings and lectures I’ve been to on how products are invented or revolutionized. Too often, it seems products are given “extra features” for the sake of doing something meaninglessly different that distract from products, but sometimes they are done poorly.

I own the Samsung S2 Smart Watch. I like it a lot. It functions well as a phone and a watch, but beyond that it holds little value for me. It COULD do so much more (I’m trying to learn to build my own apps for it). I was also extremely disappointed that the SmartThings app is not in products yet for the S2 (which it was deceivingly advertised and is also owned by Samsung).

Mechanical keyboards now come with distracting, but very cool lights. Makes a great expensive techy purchase, but I also wonder at the necessity (though maybe I’m a hypocrite as I type on a mechanical keyboard at work.. but I don’t think it’s really that much better than my built in laptop one).

Shoes can track your steps, but do little more than that. The sensors is inconveniently on the bottom of your dirty shoes. It is dependent on a phone.

Smart home devices are extremely expensive, for what they are and how poorly they are built. Many of the devices are built for battery installation so you do not have to wire them into a wall, but there are rarely other options to do this without the battery. Why don’t they come with rechargeable batteries or solar panels?

It just seems all too often, things are designed because they are cool new ideas without trying to solve problems or ask the question is there anything wrong with the current design? How could this be better? OR they do ask the questions and do not try to encourage REAL conversation or negative feedback. Growth in HCI often comes the most from negative feedback, not feel good answers.

I really like the idea of doing a pilot study before the real study. This makes a lot of sense as a test run, but ideally in software development, I like doing multiple evaluations and tests. The process becomes very cyclical: build, test, revise, repeat. The problem with this is the software is only “new” once. Finding lots of users who are unfamiliar with the system can be hard for me since I work in an industry where everything is secured or confidential.

Something else I wondered about the multitasking study was if the users had high familiarity with the types of tasks, perhaps the task itself was hard for them? In which case, does that reflect on their multitasking abilities? I would probably consider myself a HMM or high media multitasker vs. light media multitasker (LMM). I wonder if the results from the study or takeaway could be used to identify self-deficiencies in this area for improvement and what multiple follow-ups to the test would produce.

I doubt that picking out red or blue rectangles would be hard, but you never know. Perhaps the task was distracting in itself because it was boring? I wonder if motivational factors should also be considered. Since the HMM and LMM are also self-identifying, wouldn’t it be best to have a survey or tasks that also confirm their assumptions? Like, what makes you a multitasker? Do you frequently have multiple tabs open at the same time? Does it bother you to have music or a TV on while you are doing something else like work or homework? Do you perform well in high stress or high anxiety situations? Do you like to work ahead? Maybe also define for them, better, what that means?

Lab tests are never going to be just like real life. They are unfamiliar spaces for the participants and people are aware they are being watched in a way that is hard to forget. So, another question I have is how different this would be if it was made it to some kind of similar test or even a video game. That way it could be tested on a larger audience without the nuances of lab testing. (Wickens, 2008) does discuss that there are varying methods to testing that involve less controlled and more realistic observation. I would like to see how some of these tests could be conducted using mixed methods. How they are setup, analysis is done, synthesis, and learn more about the backgrounds of individual researchers.

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