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Accessibility and Usability Working Together at MIT

Accessibility and Usability Working Together at MIT



How we unified Accessibility and Usability within the project management and web development workflow at MIT.

How we unified Accessibility and Usability within the project management and web development workflow at MIT.



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  • SWho we are and the fact that we are with MIT’s Accessibility and Usability TeamPass off to K
  • S
  • KWhat we do in terms of accessibility
  • SOur work at MIT – We are part of the customer service branch of IS&T. What we were before and where we are now, how it has evolved over time. we are consults who work on large and small projects across the instituteWe are free, we don’t do audits, we have made strides in becoming an integral part of IS&T’s development process.Reorg details – We had been working side by side and in 2009 Usability became part of ATIC and Accessibility.Enterprise wide, Student sites, Community web sites
  • KNeed concrete anecdotal examples to discuss about thisThe lack of connection on one distance teaching tool design (blossoms) between the logo, the slug line that explained the site, and the branding for what the site was about. There was no general organizing principle. Everything at the same level and visual clutter.Search box not available on every page. Irregular “go” button.Early is better : sloan executive ed, structure, overwhelming information, tab order and poorly structured forms (we were not involved in the design phase and when we finally saw the code three were major problems)Missed Opportunites: A series of surveys for MIT Research and Grant fellows were reviewed by accessibility but they have not allowed Usability Reinforcing recommendationsCaptionsGood structureReadble layoutWhite spaceColorsAll contribute to make sites and applications to be more usable and accessibleIncreased client satisfactionWe are an academic institution – students are our customers – laws protect equal access and we ensre that that happens – when we do our jobs we reduce reliance on ATIC lab – and reduce calls to the help desk
  • K
  • SEASI and Knowbility WebinarsPOUR – Perceivable, Operable, Understandable, Robust
  • S & K
  • K and S
  • SNow we see that there’s overlap between Usability and accessibilitySites with all the hooks impact the accessibility without detracting from the visual or usable sideSmall font size, poor contrast, improper use of more links, and not enough white space ( are issues for both accessibility and usability)Where usability and assistive tech overlap - for example solid IA & consistent labels make for more coherent screen reading experienceFor course sites the lab remediates the areas where usability and accessibility are unable to make an impact or are not implemented, when we do our job well there’s less work for them.
  • K – merging reports didn’t workWe both have an understanding of the high level principles so we can advocate for each other in our absenceWe can quickly assess and see potential trouble spots and recommendationsProcess is evolving: looking at ways to tweak our work as we move forward. Ex. code recommendations for JPEGsStructure recommendations for code reviews
  • S

Accessibility and Usability Working Together at MIT Accessibility and Usability Working Together at MIT Presentation Transcript

  • Accessibility and Usability…
    Working together at MIT
    Stephani Roberts, MIT Accessibility Consultant
    Katherine Wahl, MIT Usability Consultant
    IS&T Accessibility and Usability Team
  • Agenda
    The landscape at MIT
    The merger of usability and accessibility
    Our approach
    Our services
    Why our collaboration works
    Where we are now
  • The landscape at MIT
    Our work at MIT
    No charge
    Projects of all sizes
    Now part of the IS&T process
    Reorganization and merger of the teams with the ATIC (Assistive Technology Information Center) Lab in 2009
  • Where we started
    Assistive Technology Lab
  • What we noticed
    Reinforcing recommendations
    Few conflicting recommendations
    Early is better in both practices
    Missed opportunities
    Increased client satisfaction
  • Our Approach
    Integrating communication
    Established group email lists
    Presentations to raise awareness
    Coordinating timelines
    Working together to assess client needs
  • Our Approach
    Some cross-training
    POUR guiding principles
    Bentley accessibility and usability classes
    EASI and Knowbility online webinars
    Library of reference materials
    Sharing tools
    Colour Contrast Analyser
    WAVE toolbar
    Firefox web developer toolbar
    Usability evaluation template
  • Our services
  • Optimal Development Timeline
    Requirements Gathering & Specification Creation
    Alpha/Beta Release, QA, Documentation & Training
    Overall Product Development Cycles
    Project End
    Project Start
    Reviews (Expert & Heuristic)
    Prototyping, Design, & UI Design
    Traditional UsabilityTesting & Evaluation
    User Research
    Accessibility Evaluation
    Accessibility Design Review
    Accessibility Code Review
  • Assistive Technology Lab
    Bringing it all together
  • Where we are today
    Tandem processes and consistent deliverables
    Cross-functional understanding of high level principles
    Evolving process
  • Why our collaboration works
    Stronger advocates for the end-user
    Fewer things ‘falling through the cracks’
    Fewer places where ATIC Lab (Assistive Technology Information Center) has to bridge the gap
    Helping each other meet client timelines
    Reinforcing key issues related to both disciplines
  • Accessibility Resources
    WebAim’sPOUR principles - http://webaim.org/articles/pour/
    Paciello Group’s Colour Contrast Anylyzer - http://www.paciellogroup.com/resources/contrast-analyser.html
    The WAVE Toolbar - http://wave.webaim.org/toolbar
    FireFoxWeb Developer Add-on – https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/web-developer/
  • Usability Resources
    Usability Body of Knowledge
    Boxes and Arrows: The Design Behind the Design
    Information Design.org
  • Questions?
    Katherine Wahl - kwahl@mit.edu
    Stephani Roberts – stephani@mit.edu