Even large projects cannot cover the diversity of disabilities, adaptive strategies, and assistive technologies.
Accessibility guidelines, standards, and techniques ensure that the wide range of issues are adequately covered. Accessibility practitioners and researchers can incorporate usability techniques to improve 'usable accessibility'. User experience designers and researchers can incorporate accessibility to make their designs work better for more people in more situations. Addressing accessibility, usability, and inclusion together can more effectively lead to a more accessible, usable, and inclusive web for everyone.
Resources to help are linked throughout this page.
- What is the difference between accessible, usable, and universal design?.
- What is the difference between accessible, usable, and universal design? | DO-IT!
- Bah, Humbug! (A Christmas Street Romantic Comedy Novella).
- Accessibility, Usability, and Inclusion;
- You Cant Fillet A Nibble... Its the Catch that Counts.
The role of accessibility in a universal web is a related resource that:. Introduction Accessibility, usability, and inclusive design are closely related. Distinctions and Overlaps Accessibility Accessibility addresses discriminatory aspects related to equivalent user experience for people with disabilities, including people with age-related impairments.
For the web, accessibility means that people with disabilities can perceive, understand, navigate, and interact with websites and tools, and that they can contribute equally without barriers. For more information, see the Accessibility introduction. Usability Usability and user experience design is about designing products to be effective, efficient, and satisfying.
Everywhere for Everyone
Inclusion Inclusive design , universal design , and design for all involves designing products, such as websites, to be usable by everyone to the greatest extent possible, without the need for adaptation. Inclusion addresses a broad range of issues including access to and quality of hardware, software, and Internet connectivity; computer literacy and skills; economic situation; education; geographic location; and language — as well as age and disability.
Accessibility and Usability While accessibility focuses on people with disabilities, many accessibility requirements also improve usability for everyone. Requirements that are more specific to people with disabilities — for example, they ensure that websites work well with assistive technologies such as screen readers that read aloud web pages, screen magnifiers that enlarge web pages, and voice recognition software that is used to input text. Most of these requirements are technical and relate to the underlying code rather than to the visual appearance. Requirements that are also general usability principles — which are included in accessibility requirements because they can be significant barriers to people with disabilities.
For example, a website that is developed so that it can be used without a mouse is good usability; and use without a mouse is an accessibility requirement because people with some physical and visual disabilities cannot use a mouse at all. In defining accessibility requirements, care is usually taken to not include aspects that impact all people similarly, and only include aspects that put person with a disability is at a disadvantage relative to a person without a disability.
Accessibility and Inclusive Design Several accessibility requirements also benefit people and situations that are a focus of inclusive design.
Centre for Accessible Environments (CAE) » About Us
Accessible Design The goal of web accessibility is to make the web work well for people with disabilities. Usable Accessibility Web designers and developers can use usability processes, methods, and techniques, such as user-centered design UCD process and user experience design, to address the user interface component of accessibility. A key aspects is incorporating real people in design, including: Ensuring that everyone involved in web projects understands the basics of how people with disabilities use the Web , Involving users with disabilities early and throughout the design process, and Involving users in evaluating web accessibility.
Conclusion Accessibility practitioners and researchers can incorporate usability techniques to improve 'usable accessibility'.
Uk and Sprout Design www. Uk to name just a few. To understand their success it is first important to understand the drivers behind Universal or Inclusive Design. The demographics of the developed world are changing; longer life expectancies and a reduced birth rate are resulting in an increased proportion of older people within the adult population.
This is leading to a reduction in the Potential Support Ratio PSR , which is the number of people aged who could support one person aged over 65 UN, Maintaining quality of life and independent living for this ageing population is increasingly important and will soon be an absolute necessity for all countries in both the developed and developing world.
With increasing age comes a decline in capability Figure 1  , yet often increased wealth and free time. Where previous generations accepted that capability loss and an inability to use products and services came hand in hand, the baby-boomer generation now approaching retirement are less likely to tolerate products that they cannot use, especially if due to unnecessary demands on their capabilities.
Figure 1 - Variation of capability within the Great Britain population Grundy et al.
Designing a more Inclusive World
In fact capability varies continuously, and in reducing the capability demands of a product, inclusive design helps meet the needs of those who are excluded from product use, and improves the product experience for many others. This is consistent with research undertaken by Philips which found that two thirds of the population as a whole have difficulties with technological products Figure 2 .
Figure 2 - Philips many people have difficulties with technological products When the capability demand of a product exceeds that of the user, they can no longer use it. Often this is seen as the person's fault for having a poor memory, reduced strength or imperfect vision. However, inclusive design places the responsibility with product designers to ensure that the capability levels required to use a product are as low as possible.
In the UK there are approximately 60 million people, where this single number hides significant diversity of age, status and capability: Without the need for special adaptation or specialised design. Transforming this need into a solution that can successfully satisfy the real need requires an appropriate design process. There are many ways to describe this transformation, but the 'waterfall' model figure 3 is one of the most useful: Note that all decisions made throughout the process affect the level of design exclusion. In addition, knowledge of the intended users is particularly important.
Figure 3 - An inclusive design process Clarkson et al. Any interaction with a product or service typically requires a cycle where the user perceives, thinks and acts; where for the most part, perceiving requires sensory capability, thinking requires cognitive capability, and acting requires motor capability figure 4. The interaction between a product or service and the user's capabilities is also influenced by the environment in which it is used. Figure 4 - The product interaction cycle The following seven capability categories are helpful to measure a person's capability, or assess the ability level that a product demands in order to use it Keates and Clarkson, They may be employed in a number of ways to maximise their influence on the understanding of the real need, in defining requirements, and in evaluating concepts and final solutions.
There are many different ways of involving users in the design process. They can be asked about their lives, what they want or need or what they think of the design. They may be observed in daily life to understand their experiences and needs. They can also participate as co-designers, providing direct input into the creative process.
They identify the motivations, expectations, goals, capability, skills and attitudes of users, which are responsible for driving their product purchasing and usage behaviour. Although personas are fictitious, they are based on the knowledge of real users and may be described to suit the market segmentation adopted by an organisation.
Capability simulators are devices that designers can use to reduce their ability to interact with a product.