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  1. #1
    SitePoint Addict lveale's Avatar
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    Convincing your clients of the need for usability/accessibility

    I've had a number of frustrating experiences trying to convince clients of the need for clear, consistent design, encompassing web standards (XHTML, CSS etc) usability, accessibility etc.

    I produced a number of clean clear designs, some similar to some of the CSS Zen stuff (http://www.csszengarden.com/), but the client still wanted to go down the route of Flash.

    Now, I'm more than happy to take the clients money in return for giving them what they want, but how do you OR even should you convince the client otherwise?

  2. #2
    ☆★☆★ silver trophy vgarcia's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lveale
    Now, I'm more than happy to take the clients money in return for giving them what they want, but how do you OR even should you convince the client otherwise?
    I'd try to convince the client otherwise, but within reason. You must remember that all the client wants is a good, nice site. As somebody outside the world of Web development, they may have a different idea of what is "good". You have to live with that to a certain extent. However, your clients did hire you because of your expertise in the field, so it is your obligation to warn them of the pitfalls of their decision, and in many cases to propose an alternative. I let my clients know that an all-Flash site is not a good way to go, because either a) accessibility goes down the toilet (I know that Flash is becoming more accessible every day, but if people don't use its features then it doesn't help), or b)they have to create an HTML alternative, which immediately doubles the time/cost of a site. The best solution in this case is to compromise: Do some Flash, for non-essential and "purely visual" parts of the site (providing image-based or text-based alternatives of course ), but keep any information or functionality (i.e. Press Releases, navigation, online store) in HTML format. This will probably keep your client happy, as his/her site is still aesthetically pleasing, but will also allow for full use of the site by anybody.


    Hope this helps!

  3. #3
    Sidewalking anode's Avatar
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    Speak to their wallet.

    "What if I told you that I know a way to increase the website's visitors by xx%? What, you'd love it? Now what if I told you that that's the % of visitors that are being turned away by bad usability/accessibility?"
    TuitionFree — a free library for the self-taught
    Anode Says...Blogging For Your Pleasure

  4. #4
    gingham dress, army boots... silver trophy redux's Avatar
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    not sure about ireland, but if it's uk clients i'd mention that under the Disabilities Discrimination Act there is a strong incentive to have a site that's at least accessible to a basic level. consistent design, structure and usability enhancements usually follow from accessibility...
    re·dux (adj.): brought back; returned. used postpositively
    [latin : re-, re- + dux, leader; see duke.]
    WaSP Accessibility Task Force Member
    splintered.co.uk | photographia.co.uk | redux.deviantart.com

  5. #5
    Forensic SEO Consultant Webnauts's Avatar
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    For convincing clients to do usability, read this article:

    Convincing Clients to Pay for Usability
    http://www.useit.com/alertbox/20030519.html

    and for convincing clients to do accessibility, read the article here:

    Auxiliary Benefits of Accessible Web Design
    http://www.w3.org/WAI/bcase/benefits.html

  6. #6
    Forensic SEO Consultant Webnauts's Avatar
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    Oh, you are in Ireland?

    Have a look here:

    http://accessit.nda.ie/index.html

  7. #7
    Matt Williams revsorg's Avatar
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    If you're in England

    http://www.loud.co.uk/read/article1.html

    You want clients who pay you good money to do the right thing for them. SOMETIMES this means making usable and accessible sites.
    work: revs | ecru
    reviews: films | mp3s
    projects: Glastonbury Tor | London IT support

  8. #8
    Forensic SEO Consultant Webnauts's Avatar
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    Accessibility is not expensive...

    This narrow focus is at the expense of a much larger segment of society, that have milder impairments such as partial sight, poor hearing, and poor language skills.

    The needs of this larger group can be more easily accommodated – resizable text, big tactile buttons, plain easy to follow instructions etc. are simple and inexpensive design steps to implement.

  9. #9
    Forensic SEO Consultant Webnauts's Avatar
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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by anode
    Speak to their wallet.
    you could also point out that SEO is much better with a non-flash site. and even better than that is a standards-compliant design (where the *content* is indexed/searched by search engine bots more effectively becuase the structure/display code lives in CSS file)... as is mentioned in this article vinnie posted on another thread:
    http://devedge.netscape.com/viewsour...web-standards/
    clever sig file

  11. #11
    Forensic SEO Consultant Webnauts's Avatar
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    Here is another interesting link I was reading last night:

    http://webword.com/moving/savecompany.html

  12. #12
    SitePoint Zealot
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    If I weren't a web designer, this would convince me: http://www.wired.com/news/politics/0,1283,55708,00.html
    Last edited by CRA; Aug 7, 2003 at 01:52.

  13. #13
    Forensic SEO Consultant Webnauts's Avatar
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  14. #14
    SitePoint Member aliceast's Avatar
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    Here is a quote from "Building Accessible Websites"
    by Joe Clark

    "Why should I make my website accessible? Greed! I want it all. The more people can access my site, the more I make!"
    (This is not word for word.)

    Here is the actual quote ( I like my version too!

    “The true reason to design for accessibility is greed. Quite simply, I want it all, and so should you. Give us everything you’ve got. Give us everything there is to give”

    and

    "Designers assume accessibility means a boring site, a myth borne out by oldschool accessibility advocates, whose hostility to visual appeal is barely suppressed. Neither camp has its head screwed on right. It’s not either–or; it’s both–and."

  15. #15
    Forensic SEO Consultant Webnauts's Avatar
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    Here is another cool article to read:

    http://webdesign.about.com/library/weekly/aa051099.htm

  16. #16
    Ensure you finish what you sta bronze trophy John Colby's Avatar
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    At the end of my time with my previous company I gave a presentation 'How not to Get Sued' that concerned itself with the necessity of making web access accessible. As were then writing products that used the web as a presentation medium this seemd to me important.
    John
    No electrons were harmed during the creation, transmission
    or reading of this posting. However, many were excited and
    some may have enjoyed the experience.

  17. #17
    SitePoint Enthusiast Jenny McDermott's Avatar
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    I'm doing a section 508-compliant version of our home page at www.experioronline.com. The page has the standard vertical row of buttons linking to main divisions of the site. I've seen a couple examples of the "Skip Navigation" feature which is recommended as part of the specifications, so that people using talking browsers don't have to listen to the alt text of the navigation buttons every time they go to a different page. My question is, should I put a "Skip navigation" on the home page? My thought is that they should have an opportunity to learn what the navigation system is before they skip over it. I could just put the Skip Nav link on the inside pages. What do you all of you think?
    "Nobody ever went broke by underestimating
    the taste of the American public." -- H.L. Mencken

  18. #18
    Forensic SEO Consultant Webnauts's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jenny McDermott
    I'm doing a section 508-compliant version of our home page at www.experioronline.com. The page has the standard vertical row of buttons linking to main divisions of the site. I've seen a couple examples of the "Skip Navigation" feature which is recommended as part of the specifications, so that people using talking browsers don't have to listen to the alt text of the navigation buttons every time they go to a different page. My question is, should I put a "Skip navigation" on the home page? My thought is that they should have an opportunity to learn what the navigation system is before they skip over it. I could just put the Skip Nav link on the inside pages. What do you all of you think?
    I think this is the wrong place for your post, but I would like to answer short.

    Well, you should also have the "Skip Navigation" link on your homepage too! Why? What is if the user(s) visit your homepage more than once? Should he/she hear everytime he arrives to your homepage the whole navigation menu? [img]images/smilies/nod.gif[/img]

    Something off topic. On your homepage you have a serious(?) accessibility issue which must be fixed?

    The document's DOCTYPE indicates that it's written in an old version of HTML. For accessibility reasons and other reasons, this document should be updated to HTML 4.01 or XHTML (XHTML recommended). Versions of HTML prior to 4.0 are considered outdated and do not provide important accessibility features.

  19. #19
    SitePoint Enthusiast Jenny McDermott's Avatar
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    The document's DOCTYPE indicates that it's written in an old version of HTML. For accessibility reasons and other reasons, this document should be updated to HTML 4.01 or XHTML (XHTML recommended). Versions of HTML prior to 4.0 are considered outdated and do not provide important accessibility features.
    Thanks for the reminder, Webnauts. I've been usinghtml 3.2//en for some time because I have so many users of NS 4.x cruising the site. But I'm ready to tell them to get a decent browser if they want to see the pages the way they should be viewed. (Sorry, I can't seem to get the unbold to work.) So I'll change the new pages to dtd 4 transitional.
    "Nobody ever went broke by underestimating
    the taste of the American public." -- H.L. Mencken

  20. #20
    Forensic SEO Consultant Webnauts's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jenny McDermott
    Thanks for the reminder, Webnauts. I've been usinghtml 3.2//en for some time because I have so many users of NS 4.x cruising the site. But I'm ready to tell them to get a decent browser if they want to see the pages the way they should be viewed. (Sorry, I can't seem to get the unbold to work.) So I'll change the new pages to dtd 4 transitional.
    My own homepage build two years ago, http://www.webnauts.net is marked up in XHTML and can be viewed with Netscape 4.7.

    Why don't you go for XHTML?

  21. #21
    Robert Wellock silver trophybronze trophy xhtmlcoder's Avatar
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    Precisely the die-hard Netscape 4.xx groupies should have no problem with viewing pages that are written in XHTML 1.0 Transitional, it's mainly the CSS you have to watch out for.

  22. #22
    Forensic SEO Consultant Webnauts's Avatar
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    Misconceptions About Usability
    Jakob Nielsen says: "Misconceptions about usability's expense, 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."
    More: http://www.useit.com/alertbox/20030908.html

  23. #23
    Forensic SEO Consultant Webnauts's Avatar
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    Another link on topic:

    Accessibility Arguments Revisited: http://infocentre.frontend.com/servlet/Infocentre?access=no&page=article&rows=5&id=301

  24. #24
    Forensic SEO Consultant Webnauts's Avatar
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    Here is an interesting resource of W3C:

    Buy standards compliant Web sites http://www.w3.org/QA/2002/07/WebAgency-Requirements


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