Week 5, Part 3: Questions

Accessible Design

Accessible design is designing a web site in a way that allows the majority of users visiting your site to view and interact with your content regardless of how they have gained access to your site.  A designer can hopefully enable this through the way in which they code their site.  That is to say the amount of thought and time they put into the planning and coding of their web site.  These considerations can make a web site more or less usable depending on the user accessing the site.

What information and how much of it that can be gleaned from a website is dependent on what types of issues the designer has planned for.  The types of issues the designer needs to consider can have a significant impact on the number of visits to their site.  A designer needs to consider if their users will access their site from multiple operating systems, if they have visual or auditory disabilities, and if they are older and require the ability to increase the font size of a web page.

Accessibility vs Usability

Accessibility is a subset of usability.  Besides considering a web site’s accessibility, web designers must consider other usability issues, such as ease of navigation, target audience, and multiple access points.  navigation terms and placement, what group of people is the site focusing on, and can users or visitors gain access to the site if they begin using the site from another page other than the homepage are all usability considerations.

The Need for Accessibility & Usability

Both accessibility and usability need to be implemented in order for users or visitors to a web site to be able to maximize the information on that site.  If a site is designed without considering that a user is more likely to scan their page for the information they seek rather than read every word and consider every bit of a page’s well thought out content, then the user will go somewhere else to find their information.  In addition, that user may not return to your site either.  Both usability and accessibility need to be considered because they directly affect the user’s ability to make sense of your web site.

Culture’s Role in Web Site Design

A web designer cannot completely finish a web site if they have not considered culture’s role in the process.  These are key considerations, such as which colors to use and date formatting.  One major consideration is how a user’s culture will influence their perspective and behavior.  We designers need to keep in mind that a user’s culture has a direct impact on how they intend to use a web site and the information they intend to glean from it.  In this way, designers need to approach the job from the user’s perspective, engaging in a user-centered design.

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