Usability and accessibility

When did you last test the usability of your website?

Usabilty is the second most important aspect of your website after content. Usability defines how easy it is for your website users to complete the goals you have set for them.

Usability is about understanding your users. Making changes which help them, and finding out what helps them through testing.

Carrying out usability tests and usability studies is a measurable process using information from real users. You can test in a closed environment asking users to carry out specific tasks or you can makes changes and compare traffic statistics.

We can also use tried and tested methods of usability improvements to hekp you make your site easier to use.

Accessibility

Making your site acessible to the widest possible range of customers is not only polite, it has legal implications. Websites provide a service under the auspices of the Disability Discrimination Act and you could be prosecuted if you fail to make your site accessible to people with diasabilities.

So what makes a website difficult to use for a disabled person?

Disabilities are wide and varied, but where they matter in this context is input and output devices, so basically your screen, keyboard and mouse. Near blindness, for example, might require contrasting colours and large letters. Tiny links would prove difficult to click on for someone with fine motor difficulties, while coloured button states might be difficult for people with colour blindness.

But accessibility isn’t just about disabled people. Websites should be built to be widely accessible depending on which browser your users use, at varying screen resolutions or mobile devices.

At Canary Dwarf, we follow guidelines set down by the W3C (Worldwide Web Consortium) which exists to maintain standards across the web. We use their validation tools to check our code meets their criteria and we also use our own experience of accessibility issues when testing sites prior to going live.