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Accessibility as a key part of Usability. Andrew Arch Vision Australia Foundation. Web Accessibility. “The power of the web is in its universality. Access by everyone regardless of disability is an essential aspect.” Tim Berners-Lee, W3C Director and inventor of the World Wide Web

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Accessibility as a key part of usability

Accessibility as a key part ofUsability

Andrew Arch

Vision Australia Foundation

Web accessibility
Web Accessibility

  • “The power of the web is in its universality. Access by everyone regardless of disability is an essential aspect.”

    • Tim Berners-Lee, W3C Director and inventor of the World Wide Web

  • “Accessible design is good design.”

    • Steve Ballmer, President of Microsoft

Who benefits by accessible design
Who Benefits By Accessible Design

  • People with disabilities

  • People with poor communications infrastructure

  • Older people and new users

  • People with old equipment

  • People with “non-standard” equipment or restricted access environments

  • People with temporary impairments or who are coping with environmental distractions

Disability in australia

ABS (1998):

3.6m people had a disability

50% of people aged 65 and over, living in private dwellings, had a disability

Ageing population ‘greying baby boomers’Reference:

Major types of disability:






Disability in Australia

Common accessibility issues
Common Accessibility Issues

  • Image-based navigation with no text alternatives and problematic download times

  • Use of PDF with no alternative access

  • No allowance for custom browser settings

  • Inappropriate use of font and other presentation elements – no structure

Accessibility issues cont
Accessibility Issues …cont

  • Tables often used inappropriately to force layout and present text

  • Problems with construction of forms (code, labels and layout)

  • Use of plugins and scripts that exclude some people with disabilities or inconvenience many other users who don’t have the plugin or have scripting disabled

  • Multimedia relying on audio, video, mouse interaction

Accessibility issues cont1
Accessibility Issues …cont

  • Unnecessary and inadequately-maintained text-only versions

    • Often badly coded and designed - the same site as before, minus images

    • Often out of date - blind users avoid them

  • Poorly structured and inadequate code

    • Browsers compensate, assistive technology not so forgiving

  • Problems with overall usability and navigation

    • Inconsistent approaches

    • Poor architecture

Accessibility issues cont2
Accessibility Issues …cont

  • HTML writing software often doesn’t encourage compliance to guidelines and standards

    • Authoring tools New more compliant versions with some testing built-in or available as add-ons

    • Content management system / authoring tool: selection and workarounds

    • Authoring Tool Reviews

  • Still requires thought and extra work to conform

Common usability issues
Common Usability Issues

  • Alternatives to visual and audio content

  • Reliance on colour

  • Inadequate use of styles sheets and inappropriate markup

  • Reliance on scripting and mouse use

  • Opening new windows

  • Clear navigation and presentation

Assessing accessibility
Assessing Accessibility

  • An accessible website has gone through this process:

    • Concept design that considers all users

    • Skilled and intelligent use of WCAG 1.0 guidelines

    • Skilled and intelligent use of testing tools

    • Testing with disabled users and accessibility experts

Concept and design review
Concept and Design Review

  • Critical consideration of end-to-end process

  • Identify:

    • Objective

    • Options for implementation

  • Assess strategies that could be used

    • Consider requirements on the user

Manual checking
Manual Checking

  • Requires knowledge and understanding

  • Involves:

    • Reviewing content

    • Reviewing code

    • User testing

Usability testing by assistive technology users
Usability Testing by Assistive Technology Users

  • Complements technical accessibility testing, but does not replace it.

  • Purpose is to appreciate usability issues for users of assistive technology.

  • User testing CANNOT determine if a site or online object works with all assistive technology.

  • User testers need to be skilled, but not expert with their technology.

Technical accessibility checking
Technical Accessibility Checking

  • Automated Tools

    • All do a partial job

    • All have flaws or weaknesses

    • Interpretation needed (manual checking and rectification)

  • Many “pseudo tools” are available by using the options included as standard within your computer


  • Andrew Arch

  • Vision Australia Foundation(IT-Test Consortium)454 Glenferrie Road, Kooyong 3144Ph 03 9864 9222

  • Email: [email protected]