A couple of days ago I had the pleasure of speaking at the first seminiar on usability in Bulgaria. A great thanks to the people at .net and Lucrat in Bulgaria, it was a great event with great hosts. It was also great to see & meet Peter Merholz, having only seen his presentations online before!
I promised to post up my presentation (and thought I’d add some more links etc) for the people at the event. The Accessibility is usability presentation (2.4MB tagged PDF). is available.
A quick round up of the points made, sans examples:
- Intro and Quick definition of terms.
- There are a multitude of assistive technologies, too many to test with.
- You can categorise the ways that people interact with sites.
- Use these categories to understand how page interactions work in various circumstances.
- Research and a case study that imply usability is improved by increasing accessibility.
- Looking at several general usability principles (e.g. simplicity, consistency) you can see these are even more important for people with disabilities.
- Generally accessibility is usability, but magnified. Take advantage of this – testing people with disabilities will find more issues more quickly, and make it easier to pick up the harder to find issues.
- However, there is a gap, things like alt text, HTML structure, visible keyboard focus etc. do not affect the general population.
- These items in the ‘accessibility gap’ do have other effects though. Google and mobile access are the two most obvious at the moment.
- The answer:
- In theory, accessibility = usability.
- In practice, accessibility is mostly usability.
- Legally, they are not the same.
More reading and info
I refered to a few links in the presentation, for convenience:
- Scripting enabled, a great conference last year which include a lot of information and examples with people who have cognitive issues, including videos from the event.
- DRC research, covered by Mike Davies.
- Legal & General case study.
- Transending CSS, future looking, and a great help in getting into seeing structure under your presentation layer.
- Tantek’s Elements of XHTML, see what we can do with markup today.
- Practical plans for accessible IA.
- Why text-sizing widgets are not a good idea.
The videos in the presentation were pretty straightforward examples, these are more all-round usage videos: