Accessibility And Usability

Squeaky Wheel Gets the Grease

29 Jan 2024

Europe saw more than 30,000 cases of measles in 2023, compared with 941 in 2022. For many, the success of vaccination meant the effects of the diseases became so insignificant as to become invisible—to the point where the vaccinations themselves become suspect. Why vaccinate for something that isn’t affecting us? It’s a terrible bit of logic but one that we see elsewhere. “Hey, we need ...

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Keyboard Accessibility for Web Applications

30 Mar 2011

One of the things I really enjoyed working on (and continue to enjoy working on) is keyboard access in the new Yahoo! Mail. As a fan of using the keyboard, I wanted to make sure that using Mail felt natural and was easy to move around the application. This is much harder than it looks because we have to establish a balance between a web page model and an application model. Todd Kloots, from the...

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What does Accessibility mean?

27 Nov 2007

If you were to ask people that question, I suspect most would say that accessibility is about making sure something — in our context, a web site or web application — that works for those who are physically disabled. Maybe they're blind or maybe they're a quadriplegic and unable to use a keyboard or mouse in the traditional sense. Accessibility is a spectrum That definition of acce...

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Making Elements Focusable with Tabindex

12 Dec 2006

After reading James Edwards' latest article on Sitepoint, Accessible JavaScript: Beyond the Mouse, I was intrigued by one section: "... if we want to capture input from the keyboard, we'll need to use elements that can accept the focus: primarily links and form controls ... " I quickly thought about simply adding the tabindex attribute to an element and after some preliminary t...

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A reason to build sites progressively

24 Oct 2006

Sometimes it's nice to see other developers build sites well enough that it works in your favour. In this particular example, I had to call my dentist to reschedule an appointment but the site was down. Now, I remember the site being Flash-based so I didn't hold out much hope that the Google cache would reveal anything special. Luckily, they used JavaScript to replace real content on the page wi...

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Make Your Language Clear

16 Feb 2006

When writing instructions for your users, it's important that the messaging is clear. Here's a quick example when adding a user as a contact on Flickr: When I first read this I thought to myself, "Who's Mark? I'm not adding Mark as a contact." It took me a couple seconds to realize that mark was a verb and not a noun. Including the contact's actual name as in, "Mark John Smith as a friend?" wou...

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Microsoft Office and Usability

08 Feb 2006

Jensen Harris is a Lead Program Manager on the Microsoft Office "user experience" team. It's been a pleasure to read his blog and the effort the team has been putting into the new version of Office. He talks about many of the usability issues and new features that will be in Office 12 but also uncovers things that are already within the application. With going solo, I've been using Outlook much m...

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The Expectations of Links

26 Oct 2005

When developing a web page, the user's expectation of what a link does is well understood. Clicking on a link will take you to another page. Within a web application, like Google Mail or Basecamp, links have much more power. They can perform changes, log you out of the application or even delete records. On one hand, should links even have this kind of power? Links are easily acted upon by search...

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Colour (Color) Contrast Check

11 Jan 2005

I had put together a JavaScript-based colour contrast checker a while back but I thought I'd revisit the code and hopefully improve on it. And that I have. Check out the Colour Contrast Checker. I've improved it by adding some nice HTML sliders and revising the interface. I had also noticed a small bug in detecting my thresholds which has now (hopefully) been fixed. For those not familiar, what...

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The Usable Page Title

07 Oct 2004

We almost forget about it. It's an afterthought, really. The <title> sitting up there in the <head>. It doesn't really add anything to the design of the page. But there are times when a user interacts with the page title. It appears at the top of the window, it appears when printing, it appears in search results and it's used when people bookmark your site. How can we help the user? El...

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Creating Accessible Alternatives of Corporate Site

26 Jul 2004

After hearing of the Odeon fiasco in the UK, it's nice to know that it couldn't (shouldn't?) happen in Canada. The Canadian Intellectual Property Office states: Another category of user to benefit from exceptions is persons with a "perceptual disability." This term refers to someone who has difficulty reading or hearing. Persons with a perceptual disability, or at the request of a person with a ...

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Colour Contrast Check

13 Feb 2004

Based on a tool that I use fairly often from HP, I wanted to make something that was easier for myself to use. Plus, it improves on some bugs that exist in the HP version. My Colour Contrast Check Tool. ...

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