Universal usability refers to the design of information and communications products and services that are usable for every citizen. The concept of universal usability is closely related to the concepts of universal accessibility and universal design.
In trying to build accessible products, it is sometimes difficult to find key components. This is particularly true when building prototypes or coordinating small volume productions. This resource listing is provided to assist people in finding sources for key accessibility components such as accessible telephone handsets (for use on kiosks, etc.), voice technology products and other accessible components. It is maintained on an 'as we find it basis.' In other words, when we locate particular components or they are brought to our attention, we wll include them here.
The key difference between user interfaces for sighted users and blind users is not that between graphics and text; it's the difference between 2-D and 1-D. Optimal usability for users with disabilities requires new approaches and new user interfaces.
With current Web design practices, users without disabilities experience three times higher usability than users who are blind or have low vision. Usability guidelines can substantially improve the matter by making websites and intranets support task performance for users with disabilities.
The idea that environments can support human function is not new to designers. But, the perception that design can enable one’s abilities and participation in society is something relatively new from a consumer perspective.
How do you keep usability, accessibility, and user experience requirements on track while developing standards? It is part of the very nature of standards to focus on details--and in the process, to sometimes lose sight of the real goals. This is especially true when a standards-making process goes on for a long time, a situation is highly political, or most people are focused on technology issues.
By now most readers of Design for All India have a healthy grasp of Universal Design. Many, perhaps most, have become highly competent in its application as is evident from the articles appearing in past volumes and today. Beyond technical mastery of the Seven Principles, knowledge of best-of-breed solutions, and familiarity with allied concepts such as Visitability, Adaptive Technology, or anthropometrics there is a cultural component to this design approach that is unquantifiably – but undeniably – transforming Universal Design. By systematically and thoroughly examining this cultural component in the coming decade we will discover the true nature of Universal Design to be social sustainability.
People who could benefit from more universal designs include many both with and without disabilities. In some cases, people may experience difficulty in using products purely as a result of the environment or an unusual circumstance. Beneficiaries of universal design include: * People in a noisy shopping mall who cannot hear a kiosk * People who are driving their car who must operate their radio or phone without looking at it * People who left their glasses in their room * People who are getting older * People with disabilities * Almost anyone In order to design for the general population, it is important to understand the diversity, problems, tools, and abilities of its members.
For this study, we recruited low-vision users with a variety of vision problems who need software to magnify computer text. Although we did not systematically recruit for specific vision problems, the fact that our users had different needs gave us one of the most critical insights in this study: The needs of low-vision users are too diverse for simple solutions to Web accessibility and usability. We show a few ways in which today’s Web sites are missing the needs of all low-vision users and provide guidelines for fixing those problems. However, the diversity of vision needs and the resulting adaptations that low-vision users require mean that there are no simple solutions to making Web sites work for everyone. In this article, therefore, you will not find many simple guidelines. Instead, we raise a critical issue and suggest a 'vision of the future' solution.
Have you ever thought about what it would be like to be disabled? Well, you better start thinking about it! As my collegue Gregg Vanderheiden is fond of pointing out, 'We all will have disabilities eventually, unless we die first.'
Accessibility is not something to be left to specialists hired to clean up our mess at the end. It should be a priority of the entire development team from the beginning. Yes, companies should definitely have accessibility people on-board, but they should act as much as educators and coaches as designers. Everyone on the development team must be aware of and responsive to the full spectrum of identified users if your product is to sell to the widest possible audience. That’s the only way to achieve inclusive design.
The W3C WAI Page Authoring Guidelines (Vanderheiden, et al, 1998a) contains nineteen general concepts that Web page authors should follow to make their pages more accessible and usable, not only to people with disabilities, but for newer page viewing technologies (mobile and voice), for electronic agents such as indexing robots, and etc. In this paper/presentation, we will talk about and demonstrate how scripts and style sheets can be implemented today, and still work on systems that do not support scripts and style sheets ('Transform gracefully'). We also talk about and demonstrate how the data in a table can be presented and navigated both via scripting and by an accompanying application ('Context and navigation').
In this paper, we argue for an increased scope of universal design to encompass usability and accessibility for not only users with physical disabilities but also for users from different cultures. Towards this end, we present an empirical evaluation of cultural usability in computer-supported collaboration. The premise of this research is that perception and appropriation of socio-technical affordances vary across cultures. In an experimental study with a computer-supported collaborative learning environment, pairs of participants from similar and different cultures (American-American, American-Chinese, and Chinese-Chinese) appropriated affordances and produced technological intersubjectivity. Cultural usability was analyzed through the use of performance and satisfaction measures. The results show a systemic variation in efficiency, effectiveness, and satisfaction between the two cultural groups. Implications of these findings for the research and practice of usability, in general, and cultural usability, in particular, are discussed in this paper.
Begins by showing us the core functionality of screen readers and how they interact with the desktop. In the second part it demonstrates how a blind user may use them to explore and understand web sites, how sites are “linearized”, and how using semantic markup to build sites supports accessible navigation and usability.
Today, as I write this article, my Google search found “about 13,200,000” references. There is no denying that the concept of Universal Design has gained widespread use. But what does it really mean?
The changing physical, cognitive and social requirements of customers demand the changes of user interfaces. Universal design is a solution. Let's look at what Fidelity has done to incorporate accessibility into their system and in return how Fidelity benefits from it. Though there are no formulas and figures to calculate ROI in this article, the ROI of the universal design adoption is obvious.
A major project of the Trace Center is the development of an on-line design and evaluation tool to assist product developers in creating better and more usable products. The design tool will lead designers through a process that encourages them to ask questions about their design and provides them with information about aspects or features of their product that might pose access barriers. A listing of possible strategies and ideas they might use to address the accessibility issues or to make their product more generally usable is provided. Specific examples, audio and video clips, copies of reference documents and studies, and resources they can contact or refer to will all be included over time.
The presenter describes a long series of technological assistive devices she has used to overcome a double disability--—blindness and deafness—--over the past 30 years in pursuing a highly successful career in technical communication. She also demonstrates the equipment and shows how it makes it possible for her to do her job.
Text-only websites are not suited to all users with impairments. Although they are often ideal for users who are blind and use a screen reader, accessibility goes far beyond this user group.
There are over thirty million people in the U.S. with disabilities or functional limitations (of which a major cause is aging), and this number is increasing. An examination of the role of human factors in addressing this population is presented which would include both special designs for disability/aging and the incorporation of disability/aging into mainstream human factors research and education. Statistics regarding the size and characteristics of this population are presented, including the costs of disability. Examples demonstrating the economic and commercial feasibility of incorporating disability/aging considerations in mass market designs are provided along with a discussion of the benefits to non-disabled users.
The time for universal design is now because, as the Designing for the 21st Century III Conference website states “This is an extraordinary moment. We are more diverse now in ability and age than ever before. It is time for design to catch up. There is an urgent need to exchange ideas about the design of places, things, information, policies and programs that demonstrate the power of design to shape a 21st century world that works for all of us.”
Essential to the ability of people to come up to universally designed products and know how to operate them is the existence of interface standards. Work is currently under way in a number of areas to ensure that people: 1. Know what to do to operate products they encounter; 2. Are able to connect any assistive technologies they may have with them to the products they encounter.