[Accessibleweb] A Christmas present from Jakob Nielsen

Rick Ells rells at u.washington.edu
Mon Dec 17 11:51:16 PST 2007



Kathryn Sharpe forwarded this item to us from Jakob Nielsen's Alertbox
mailing list (http://www.useit.com/alertbox/). Jakob Nielsen just released
a 153 page document titled "Beyond ALT Text: Making the Web Easy to Use
for Users with Disabilities"

I have been reading the report and I am delighted and the breadth and
detail of his effort to take on a fundamental topic - usability of Web
sites for the disabled. I heartily recommend reading it carefully. - RE

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HOLIDAY GIFT TO SUBSCRIBERS

I have a holiday gift for you to thank you for being a loyal subscriber to
the Alertbox email newsletter and for your support over the years: a free
copy of "BEYOND ALT TEXT", our report on usability for users with
disabilities.

> http://www.nngroup.com/reports/accessibility

Despite the keyword used in the download URL, I am tired of seeing the
discussion framed purely in terms of accessibility. What matters is how
*easy* websites are to use for disabled users. This is why we conducted
user testing with this target audience, just like we do with any other
customer segment.

As an analogy, consider a website that only displays correctly in IE
version 7. This site would be inaccessible for a Firefox user. If we
recoded the site to be compatible with other browsers, it would suddenly
become accessible for our sample user. Fine, but as we know from countless
usability studies, this user might still be lost on the site and leave
without ever buying anything.

Accessibility is insufficient to get business from disabled customers. You
also need to emphasize *usability*, which is difficult for people who
listen to an audio version of your content or who see it through a tiny
peephole in a screen magnifier. But that's what we tested.

Please take advantage of my gift and improve the usability of your site
for disabled users, many of whom are ready to give you money if only they
could use your site.

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