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Accessibility and Usability

Accessibility

JISC Techdis address the question what is website accessibility and provide some useful links for further reading: "Accessibility is all about the ability to access - how easy it is for people with different needs to access your services or materials. Web accessibility, therefore, is about how easy it is for people to access your website and other online content." 

How do disabled people access the internet? Technology has revolutionised the way that people with impairments participate within communities.  When you are planning your accessible digital artefact there are many sources of support from organisations which give general guidance such as web content accessibility guidelines and from orgnisations which have more a more specific focus like RNIB who focus on accessibility for visually impaired people.  

How will you know whether your digital artefact is actually accessible to people with a range of impairments?  You can use some web testing tools like wave, or the website accessibilty initiative but bear in mind that they are automated and don't allow for a 'human' response so it is also wise to ask people with impairments to access the artefact and give you feedback if possible.   

You could signpost people from your digital artefact to other links to raise awareness of website accessibilty, e.g. to Ability Net's my computer my way, the BBC's my web my way the emergency accessiblity toolkit or other credible sources that you find.

Usability

"Web usability is the ease of use of a website. Some broad goals of usability are the presentation of information and choices in a clear and concise way, a lack of ambiguity and the placement of important items in appropriate areas." wikipedia sourced Sept 2014
 
People will view your digital artefact via pcs, tablets, and phones.  Jakob Neilson, who at the time of writing has 79 US patents for website usability! gives some interesting points in his introduction to usability as you seek to make your artefact easy to navigate.  He has also provided some tips for usability.
 
Philip Webb in his blog webcredible highlights some things to think about in relation to the differences when writing content for webpages instead of printed articles across different devices and different internet browsers. 
 
 
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Accessible web design and VLE developed by Jim Byrne