Making them good, making them accessible
HINT: IT DOESN’T MAKE YOU THINK!
What is Good Web Design?
Favorite Web Design Resources
Vincent Flanders’ Web Pages That Suck
Jakob Nielsen’s Alertbox
WebAIM (Web Accessibility in Mind)
Usability Testing Basics
Test plan and script, including
Surveys & questionnaires to
Video or screencast capability
Testing: with actual site or a
paper mock-up (paper
Perceivable: People can find what they
need, in a variety of ways
Operable: People can interact with the
information, in a variety of ways
Understandable: Content is predictable
and makes sense
Robust: Website technology works across
platforms and browsers, can scale to
The “POUR” Model of site
design as foundation
Accessible Web Sites
The basics of accessible design
Accessible by as many people as possible;
often refers to people with disabilities
Commonly accomplished through assistive
technology (screen readers, input devices)
Not exactly the same as usability (which
focuses on user goals and
Strongly related to universal design (making
things accessible to all people whether they
have a disability or not)
What is Accessible Design?
Why make the Web accessible
to users with disabilities?
For purely ethical reasons
It’s the law for websites that receive
funding from the federal government.
Web Content Accessibility Guidelines
(WCAG) represent good practice;
subset of international World Wide
Web Consortium (W3C)
Emerging technologies work better
with accessible sites
The Business Case
Approximately 56.7 million (18.7%) of the
civilian non-institutionalized population have
More prevalent in older populations
About 38.3 million people (12.6%) have a
severe disability (require personal assistance)
People with disabilities represent more than
$200 billion in discretionary spending.
Brault, Matthew W., “Americans With Disabilities: 2010,” Current Population Reports, P70-131, U.S.
Census Bureau, Washington, DC, 2012.
World Wide Access:
Accessible Web Design
1. Add context & explanation
Provide appropriate alternative text:
present the CONTENT and FUNCTION
of the image.
Be succinct (or use empty quotation marks to
allow the screen reader to skip the image)
Ensure links make sense out of context
A screen reader user can choose to tab
through all the hyperlinks on the page
“Click here” will be useless to the person using
the screen reader
2. Offer alternatives
Caption and/or provide transcripts for audio and
YouTube allows you to automatically or manually
caption videos you own.
Ensure that readers can access files that are not in
MS Word files
Adobe Flash content
(And provide access to free viewing software, if available)
It doesn’t work for people using screen readers or for
people who are colorblind
3. Do not rely on color alone
to convey meaning
Guideline 14 of Web Content Accessibility Guidelines
(WCAG)—Ensure that documents are clear and simple
so they may be more easily understood.
Make sure content is clearly written &
easy to read
Use clear fonts
Use headings and lists appropriately
Ensure high color contrast.
4. Design for Readability
5. Test Readability
Readability tests can be used to estimate
the complexity of a page
Major algorithms: Gunning-Fog Index,
Flesch Reading Ease, Flesch-Kincaid
One web-friendly site:
6. Validate Code against
Run site URLs through a
validator such as WAVE or
Add a browser toolbar (e.g.,
WebAIM’s WAVE toolbar for
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