User experience design is a subset of the field of experience design which pertains to the creation of the architecture and interaction models which impact a user's perception of a device or system. The scope of the field is directed at affecting 'all aspects of the user’s interaction with the product: how it is perceived, learned, and used.'
When designing interfaces for browsing data-driven sites, creating navigation elements that are also visualization tools helps the user make better decisions. Wilson Miner demonstrates three techniques for incorporating data visualization into standards-based navigation patterns.
Making the Web more accessible for users with various disabilities is to a great extent a matter of using HTML the way it was intended: to encode meaning rather than appearance. As long as a page is coded for meaning, it is possible for alternative browsers to present that meaning in ways that are optimized for the abilities of individual users and thus facilitate the use of the Web by disabled users.
I’ve been thinking about one particular artifact of the folksonomy phenomenon — the folksonomy menu that serves as a sort of buzz index providing users with a quick visualization of the most popular tags (technically I think it’s called a weighted list). Popular tags are displayed in a larger font and it’s relatively easy to identify hot topics at a glance. This visual representation of the popularity of any given tag is undeniably cool. However, once the coolness factor wears off it becomes fairly obvious that these menus are also not very accessible.
Forms are often the most tricky aspect of web development for beginners to get their head around, largely because it means stepping out of the comfort zone of one-way information - no longer are you simply presenting information at the person viewing your site, now you are asking for input, for feedback that you have to process in some way. And just as it may be difficult for HTML beginners to understand just how they handle form data, so is it difficult to understand some of the issues relating to accessibility.
Though somewhat rare, there are occasions when the accessibility needs of screen reader users appear to be at odds with the needs of visual users. This kind of conflict occurs when Web developers put form elements inside of a data table matrix, when they want to use images as headings instead of text, and in other situations. Adding extra text helps screen reader users, but can complicate the visual layout, thus reducing understandability. One solution is to use CSS to hide the text from sighted users in a way that is still accessible to screen readers. The details of this technique are discussed, along with the technical reasoning behind it.
Sorted out transcripts and subtitles to make your online videos accessible? This is important, but there are other accessibility considerations which are often overlooked. Here are some other things you must consider.
There is no question that the vast majority of tables on the Web are layout tables, used to structure the visual appearance of the page. Often the structure of tables is remarkably complex, with tables nested in tables as much as seven deep.
One of the most common, and least enjoyable, experiences of citizens of the United States is that of filing income tax forms. This year, Sachin Pavithran, who is blind, attempted to complete the forms and file them without assistance from sighted friends. Find out whether he was successful or not.
Our web applications can suffer from inaccessibility problems due to inherent markup limitations. Martin Kliehm helps us sort through the WAI specs for Accessible Rich Internet Applications (ARIA) to increase usability.
We encourage developers of web pages to consider the full spectrum of visitors to their sites. Listed below are some resources that may be helpful in creating pages that are accessible to everyone, including those who have disabilities.
As some in our profession have come to realize, social media and use of the Web in general have changed (and are still changing) the way in which people access and use information.
We aim to prove that accessible, usable web sites built with universality and standards in mind need not be boring. We will show you artfully crafted sites made by some of today’s most progressive web developers.
Your favorite applications have shortcut keys. So can your site, thanks to the XHTML accesskey attribute. Accesskeys make sites more accessible for people who cannot use a mouse. Unfortunately, almost no designer uses accesskeys, because, unless they View Source, most visitors can’t tell that you’ve put these nifty navigational shortcuts to work on your site. Stuart Robertson unlocks the secret of providing visible accesskey shortcuts.
Focus on your users, all of them. Learn from mistakes currently made on the Web. If a user can't fill out a form, they can't buy anything from your site. People turned away by unusable sites will probably try a competitor's site. Don't be the site that turned people away. Make your Web site as usable and accessible as possible. It's the business savvy thing to do. It's the right thing to do. If you don't, someone just might force you legally to do it or threaten to sue.
Collaboration between designers and developers is always great topic to write about. I believe that for the first time that kind of collaboration is possible to full extent and it is possible today. Key element for enabling this is XAML – eXtensible Application Markup Language aka Holy Grail of designer – developer collaboration.