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User Interface Design Methods Explained

User Interface Design Methods Explained: Accessibility Design -

What is accessibility and why is it important?

In general terms, accessibility describes the degree to which a product, device, service, or environment is easy and straightforward to use by as many people as possible. In addition, accessibility concerns itself with the benefits of the entity being accessed: How does easy use of a product benefit the user and the creator.,304690.html

Accessibility is achieved through adequate design of products or services. A good example of accessibility design is public transportation. Public transportation is designed to optimize the routes which users (by bus, tram, or train etc.) must take to get to their given destinations. Public transportation provides users with maps, internet sites that help them plan their routes, elevators and wheel chair lifts for the disabled, and many other features that make it easy and beneficial for people to use. When public transportation is easily accessible, the benefit is that the users have efficient, cost-effective means of travelling and the creators are able to earn money and sustain the transport system.

Computer science, accessibility design and user interface design

In computer science, accessibility design refers to the method of creating websites that are easily usable and available by people of all abilities. This means in particular, that the interface design should grant users equal access to the functionality of and the information contained within the site. When you hear the term accessibility, you probably think its means ensuring that websites are available to users with various speeds of internet connection. But that is not the central issues at hand in accessibility design. At its crux is the construction of interface designs that are accessible to the disabled. For example, how can a designer code the HTML to provide or enable text-to-speech software for the deaf or text-to-Braille hardware for the blind? The concept behind accessibility design is clear: Disabilities should not hinder users from accessing and using a given interface design.

Across the globe there are initiatives aimed at giving web designers the tools they need to understand and thus support the needs of the disabled user. Organizations such as the Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) and the World Wide Web Consortium issue guidelines and information that help designers make their sites as reachable as possible for those with disabilities.

The aims of accessibility design

The overall goal of accessibility design is to make an interface design available to every possible user, but accessibility design is specifically targeted at assisting people with various disabilities. The needs relative to disabilities that accessibility design specifically addresses include:

  • Auditory: How to create interface designs that are user friendly for those who have hearing impairments. Example: providing site users with an auditory option that allows them to hear the site content and control the volume based on their level of hearing impairment.
  • Cognitive/Intellectual: How to create interface designs that are user friendly for those with developmental disabilities such as dyslexia or cognitive disabilities that affect memory, attention, developmental maturity, logic and problem solving skills etc. Example: websites designed with content diagrams helps those with dyslexia or other cognitive disabilities decipher the site without having to do too much reading.
  • Motor/Mobility: How to create interface designs that are user friendly for those with difficulty or inability to use their hands (people with Parkinson’s disease etc.) Example: creating clickable areas that are large enough for a user with unstable hands to click on.
  • Visual: How to create interface designs for people with various visual impairments. Links that are underlined ensures that color blind users will be able to identify them.

Why is accessibility design an important usability method?

Aside from the egalitarian implications, accessibility design is crucial to usability because it creates an interface design that can attract an even wider range of users and thus ensure more success for the website. There are many users who are disabled and if a website is not designed with them in mind, they will not be able to use it. In the context of e-government this is especially important. Integrating accessibility design into the web development process has other benefits as well because in addition to diversifying the number of users, it also makes for a development process that is suffuse with simplicity, as designers must find way to create a site that is simple enough for users of all abilities, thus diminishing the likelihood of interface designs that are too convoluted or contrived.

27/05/2019 11:13