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Why Accessibility and Usability are Important to You


htmlAccording to Usablenet.com, accessibility and usability are becoming increasingly critical to the internet experience. Is your site accessible to people with disabilities? Is it compatible with browsers other than Internet Explorer? Continue reading to discover how accessibility can benefit you, as well as your visitors.

Author Info:
By: John Britsios
Rating: 3 stars3 stars3 stars3 stars3 stars / 12
January 21, 2004
TABLE OF CONTENTS:
  1. · Why Accessibility and Usability are Important to You
  2. · What is Usability?

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Why Accessibility and Usability are Important to You - What is Usability?
(Page 2 of 2 )

Usability is the measure of the quality of a user's experience when interacting with a product or system — whether a web site, software application, mobile technology, or any user-operated device.

According to Usability Expert Jakob Nielsen, "On the Web, usability is a necessary condition for survival. If a web site is difficult to use, people leave. If the homepage fails to clearly state what a company offers and what users can do on the site, people leave. If users get lost on a web site, they leave. If a web site's information is hard to read or doesn't answer users' key questions, they leave. Note a pattern here? There's no such thing as a user reading a web site manual or otherwise spending much time trying to figure out an interface. There are plenty of other web sites available; leaving is the first line of defense when users encounter a difficulty."  (More: http://www.useit.com/alertbox/20030825.html)

Is your web site usable?
There are several definitions for usability, but basically the following 6 characteristics, can be considered usable:

- Quick and easy to learn
- Efficient to use
- Allows rapid recovery from errors
- Easy to remember
- Usage is enjoyable
- Aesthetically pleasing

Does your product or website have the above characteristics?
 
Usability increases benefits for both parties: the User (potential customers) and the Provider (you).

Users benefits:
- Users are satisfied, not frustrated, with the product or website
- They enjoy interacting with the website or product
- They achieve their goals effectively and efficiently
- They cultivate confidence and trust in the product or website

If your users are satisfied, they will become loyal, and may even recommend your product or service to others.

Providers benefits:
As a provider, you may benefit from usability in many ways, including:
- Reduced development time and costs
- Reduced support costs
- Reduced user errors
- Reduced training time and costs
- Return on Investment

Misconceptions About Usability:
”Misconceptions about usability's expense,” Jakob Nielsen says, “the time it involves, and its creative impact prevent companies from getting crucial user data, as does the erroneous belief that existing customer-feedback methods are a valid driver for interface design.” (http://www.useit.com/alertbox/20030908.html

Usability Can Save Your Company!
John S. Rhodes, Editor and Webmaster at WebWord.com, says: "Data indicate that usability offers a better return on investment than almost any other business action. When times get rough, usability shines. The benefits are huge. Usability is a weapon that can save you money, improve your competitive position, and improve customer loyalty. Now is the time to invest in the research." (More: http://webword.com/moving/savecompany.html)

By making your web site accessible and usable, you make your visitors happier and your wallet more comfortable!

About the Author
John Britsios, a Web Accessibility and Usability Consultant, founded and owns the company Webnauts Net (http://www.webnauts.net), which he is currently in the process of redesigning. He also founded the Webnauts Net Accessibility and Usability Initiative Forum, located at http://forum.webnauts.net


DISCLAIMER: The content provided in this article is not warranted or guaranteed by Developer Shed, Inc. The content provided is intended for entertainment and/or educational purposes in order to introduce to the reader key ideas, concepts, and/or product reviews. As such it is incumbent upon the reader to employ real-world tactics for security and implementation of best practices. We are not liable for any negative consequences that may result from implementing any information covered in our articles or tutorials. If this is a hardware review, it is not recommended to open and/or modify your hardware.

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