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How BS8878 brings together usability & accessibility



Accessibility is all about checklists, HTML and assistive technologies. Its only impact on User Experience is to stop designers from being creative.

Sometimes, you'd be forgiven for thinking that those two statements are true.

Professor Jonathan Hassell has spent much of his last three years disproving them, both at the BBC and in other organisations, and coding how accessibility should be seen in the context of user-centred design into BS 8878.

In this presentation from Camp Digital Manchester 2012 he shows how BS 8878 provides a framework for helping UX professionals embed accessibility considerations into their work, how it can empower and free them from onerous constraints, how it can challenge them to be more creative, and how the results can benefit all users, not just those with disabilities.

How BS8878 brings together usability & accessibility

  1. 1. How BS 8878 brings together usability & accessibility Prof Jonathan Hassell (@jonhassell) Director, Hassell Inclusion ltd. Chair, BSI IST/45 Camp Digital Manchester 29th March 2012 © hassellinclusion
  2. 2. Thinking of Accessibility as Compliance with Standards… … gets rid of some of your legal and reputational risks © hassellinclusion
  3. 3. But it’s not the key to your success… And, without thinking of the people you’re trying to help, it’s not exactly exciting… © hassellinclusion
  4. 4. And for a lot of people it feels like this… © hassellinclusion
  5. 5. Listening to your diverse audiences’ needs… identifies challenges… but innovation often follows a challenge © hassellinclusion
  6. 6. What accessibility really should be… • all about disabled people • aim shouldn‟t be accessibility… or even usability… but a great user experience for disabled and elderly people • whether they can get the right value out of what you create • exactly what you aim for, for every other audience • you don‟t want to exclude 10m+ people from using your products… • so why don’t more organisations do it? © hassellinclusion
  7. 7. How does BS8878 help? – presents the business-case for accessibility and digital inclusion – gives advice for how to embed accessibility strategically within an organisation – shows a process which identifies the key decisions which are taken in a web product’s lifecycle which impact accessibility – recommends an informed way of making these decisions… – and a way of documenting all of this to ensure best practice Organizational Web Web Web Product Product Accessibility Accessibility Accessibility Policy Policy Statement © hassellinclusion
  8. 8. The accessibility of your web products is in all these people’s hands… Snr Mgrs Finance Legal Marketing Strategy Project Mgrs Product Mgrs Developers Designers Writers Research & Testers © hassellinclusion
  9. 9. Embedding motivation • Need to motivate each group… • Or just use a business Snr Mgrs case for the top level and set policy top to bottom… – check out OneVoice business cases… Finance Legal Marketing Strategy Project Mgrs Product Mgrs Developers Designers Writers Research & Testers © hassellinclusion
  10. 10. Embedding responsibility • Work out whose responsibility accessibility should ultimately be… Snr Mgrs • Make sure they delegate (and monitor results) well • Make sure those delegated to are trained in their Finance Legal Marketing Strategy responsibilities Project Mgrs Product Mgrs Developers Designers Writers Research & Testers © hassellinclusion
  11. 11. Embedding through strategic policies Snr Mgrs Finance Legal Marketing Strategy • create an Organizational Web Accessibility Policy to strategically embed accessibility into the organization’s business as usual • including where accessibility is embeddedMgrs Project in: Product Mgrs • web procurement policy • web technology policy • marketing guidelines • web production standards Developers Designers (e.g. compliance with WCAG, browser support, AT support) Writers Testers © hassellinclusion
  12. 12. Harmonising accessibility with user-centred/inclusive design processes • relating web accessibility to wider human- • and bringing in concepts of centred and inclusive design practices user-personalised approaches… From: ISO/FDIS 9241-210 Human-centred design for interactive systems © hassellinclusion
  13. 13. 1st stage: 1. Purpose Yes, The right 2. Target audiences research & thought 3. Audience needs before you there are 4. Preferences & restrictions start 5. Relationship 6. User goals 16 2nd stage: Making strategic choices based on that research 7. Degree of UX 8. Inclusive cf. personalised 9. Delivery platforms 10. Target browsers, OSes, ATs 11. Create/procure, in-house/contract steps 12. Web technologies 3rd stage: 13. Web guidelines Production, (sorry…) 14. Assuring accessibility launch, update 15. Launch information cycle 16. Post-launch plans © hassellinclusion
  14. 14. 1st stage: 1. Purpose But The right research 2. Target audiences (if you’re doing & thought before you 3. Audience needs UCD) you’re 4. Preferences & restrictions start 5. Relationship doing most of 6. User goals them already 2nd stage: Making 7. Degree of UX 8. Inclusive cf. personalised strategic choices 9. Delivery platforms – just tweaks based on 10. Target browsers, OSes, ATs that research 11. Create/procure, in-house/contract needed to 12. Web technologies integrate 3rd stage: 13. Web guidelines Production, accessibility launch, update 14. Assuring accessibility 15. Launch information thinking cycle 16. Post-launch plans © hassellinclusion
  15. 15. An informed way of making good decisions • every decision taken could affect whether the product will include or exclude disabled and elderly people • so every decision should be: – recognised as a decision – have all options and implications considered – made based on justifiable reasoning – noted in the Web Product’s Accessibility Policy for transparency • at every step of the process © hassellinclusion
  16. 16. A quick tour of some highlights from BS 8878’s process © hassellinclusion
  17. 17. 1st stage: 1. Purpose The right 2. Target audiences research & thought 3. Audience needs before you 4. Preferences & restrictions start 5. Relationship 6. User goals BS8878 Product process - 1st stage: doing the right research & thought before you start… © hassellinclusion
  18. 18. 2. Define its target audiences • can you predict/control who • is it designed for a particular • or will be used by a range of will use it? audience? audiences? – e.g. an Intranet – or an extranet © hassellinclusion
  19. 19. 3. Analyse the needs of those audiences for the product • what are their general needs from the user experience of any web product? • do they have specific needs from the product you are creating? – how are you going to research these needs? • general desk research into • your own research – surveys, ethnographic research „disabled people‟s use of the web‟ into the context, preferences and specific product needs of your audiences – like you might do for non-disabled audiences… – resulting in personas etc. © hassellinclusion
  20. 20. 4. Note any platform or technology preferences & restrictions – for example: • lack of ability to download & install plug-ins or browser updates • IT policy restrictions preventing use of browser preferences, or installation of assistive technologies • strong platform preferences (due to worries of cost/complexity/security) – will impact on technology choice, platform choice, reliance on ATs to mediate website experiences • cf. rich-media technologies like Flash and ‘alternative versions’ • accessibility isn’t about luddite-ism; it is about understanding what your audience really need… © hassellinclusion
  21. 21. 2nd stage: 7. Degree of UX Making 8. Inclusive cf. personalised strategic choices 9. Delivery platforms based on 10. Target browsers, OSes, ATs that research 11. Create/procure, in-house/contract 12. Web technologies BS8878 Product process - 2nd stage: making strategic choices based on that research © hassellinclusion
  22. 22. 7. Consider the degree of user-experience the product will aim to provide – degrees: • technically accessible • usable • satisfying/enjoyable – an example for online Pacman: • Technically accessible = can control Pacman using a switch • Usable = have a chance of winning as the ghosts adapt to the speed of interaction of my switch • Satisfying = have the right level of challenge (not too easy or too hard) – define the aim for each combination of user group and user goal – BS8878 doesn‟t tell you what degree you should pick, just lets you know what the options are, and asks you to choose a degreel you feel you can justify © hassellinclusion
  23. 23. 8. Consider inclusive design and user-personalized approaches – non-individualized/inclusive • accessibility through guidelines, inclusive design, ATs, user-testing… – user-personalized allows… • users to specify their needs and then… – finds a suitable product from a number of alternative versions, or – adapts the web product to those needs • often through „additional accessibility measures‟ – circumstances where a personalised approach could be useful: • where a „one size fits all‟ approach doesn‟t work for all your target audiences • if individual relationship with audience is possible/expected (e.g. eLearning) then a personalised approach might be expected • for audiences with restrictions on browser, installation etc. – user-personalized should always complement, never replace, inclusive design approaches © hassellinclusion
  24. 24. 9. Consider the delivery platforms you will support (and their accessibility implications) – which platforms are you going to support, and what degree of accessibility will you aim to achieve? – useful research to have: – are you in control of which platforms your users will use your product on? – no, if it‟s available publicly via a browser – yes, if it‟s an intranet or only available as an app – are your users likely to have a preference on the platforms on which to use your product? – options for degree of accessibility to aim for across different platforms? 1. one accessible product for desktop, hope standards will make it work on other platforms 2. as (1) but with responsive design UI and accessibility testing on other platforms 3. versions optimised for each platform, including appropriate UI and functionality subset, fully tested © hassellinclusion
  25. 25. 3rd stage: 13. Web guidelines Production, 14. Assuring accessibility launch, update 15. Launch information cycle 16. Post-launch plans BS8878 Product process - 3rd stage: production, launch and maintenance (lifecycle) © hassellinclusion
  26. 26. 14. Assure the product’s accessibility through production • creating an accessibility test plan Quality of data • which testing methods will be used… • at which points of the production process… User testing Remote testing • strong recommendation to integrate user- User reviews / interviews testing for accessibility with general usability Heuristics Expert walkthrough Testing with assistive technologies testing Cost Automated testing • sticking to the plan during production • finding out whether you are achieving your target degree of UX • and when the ideal isn‟t possible… © hassellinclusion
  27. 27. 15. Communicate accessibility decisions at launch • working out which compromises you can launch with… and which you can‟t… – achieving the minimal viable product and managing accessibility risk • communicating all those decisions & compromises to your audiences… – in an easily found accessibility statement on your website – which your audiences can understand… Confusing help text: A number of sites accessed by participants provided help pages which were so technical that they were practically useless. Mention of plugins and cookies resulted in complete confusion by the users and apprehension about whether they were able to follow the instructions given. © hassellinclusion
  28. 28. “BS 8878 is an integral part of our web accessibility strategy. It has given us the framework to help reduce costs and improve the quality when delivering accessible web products for our customers.” Rob Wemyss Head of Accessibility Royal Mail Group
  29. 29. Summary: in a team/organisation that follows BS 8878 • you‟ll be expected to take accessibility seriously by product managers • you‟ll be in a team where each member knows what accessibility expects from them • they‟ll ask you to follow a user-centred design process (like I guess you want anyway) • they‟ll ask you for/give you real-world user-research to help good decision making • you‟ll be empowered to make decisions re accessibility, as long as you can justify them, and write them down • you‟ll have the freedom to create product variations where users‟ needs diverge • you‟ll have a place to find best practice help for accessible design beyond the web • you‟ll be asked to test products for accessibility, alongside usability, to the level the budget will allow (and they‟ll be aware of the limited benefits of cheap options) • you‟ll be freed from the impossibility of doing everything you could possibly do for v1.0, as long as you tell your audience why and when they‟ll get what they need © hassellinclusion
  30. 30. If you need support & training – I’m happy to help... © hassellinclusion
  31. 31. Training & Innovation support for BS8878 Standards Strategy & research © hassellinclusion
  32. 32. Get slides on all 16 BS 8878 steps © hassellinclusion
  33. 33. Get latest news, tools, blogs, training: Join the community & discussion: © hassellinclusion
  34. 34. e: t: @jonhassell w: © hassellinclusion