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  1. #1
    SitePoint Guru Zygoma's Avatar
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    A great "how to do" resource for web usability

    http://www.usability.gov/index.html

    Just to help anyone out there needing a resource on Project Planning, information Architecture, Design and Usability Testing for web sites i found this resource very usefull -
    http://www.usability.gov/index.html
    I have had a perfectly wonderful
    evening, but this wasn't it-
    Julius "GROUCHO" Marx - 1890-1977
    http://www.davidclick.com

  2. #2
    SitePoint Wizard bronze trophy Black Max's Avatar
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    Nice link, thanks!

  3. #3
    Follow: @AlexDawsonUK silver trophybronze trophy AlexDawson's Avatar
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    I particularly like the PDF they offer, it's several hundred megabytes thick but it holds a lot of genuinely good seasoned tips for making a website more usable. I know a few programs use the contents of that PDF as checkpoints for a self-set standard. Granted going through all the checkpoints would take forever but I thought it was worth me posting to give extra emphasis to their PDF guide. Hidden away here: http://www.usability.gov/pdfs/guidelines.html

  4. #4
    SitePoint Wizard bronze trophy C. Ankerstjerne's Avatar
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    I couldn't resist to look at their source code, and find these bits quite funny.

    Code html4strict:
    <table border="0" cellspacing="0" cellpadding="0" summary="This table is used to format page header" width="100%">
    [...]
    <td class='active' nowrap="nowrap"><p><a href="/basics/index.html" title="Basics">Basics</a></p></td>
    	<td class="divider">|</td>
    [...]
    <table summary="This table is used to format page body content" cellspacing="0" cellpadding="0" width="100%" class="content_table" border="0">
    [...]
    <img alt="Logo (Boxes)" border="0" src="/images/boxeslogo.jpg" style=" margin-left: 5px; float: right; margin-bottom: 5px;" title="Logo (Boxes)" /> <p class="title">Step-by-Step Guide</p>
    • Why would I want my screen reader to inform me that the table is for presentational purposes? (And why would there be a table for presentational purposes altogether, considering their inherent usability limitations?).
    • Why do the navigation links have title attributes which has the exact same contents as the link text, causing the screen reader to read them twice?
    • Why add an alt attribute to a decorational graphic, with no function - and then, on top of that, add a title attribute to the image, causing the same completely useless text to be read twice by the screen reader?
    • Why style a p tag as a heading, rather than using proper headings, which would enable screen reader users to jump easily between the headers?


    For another cheap laugh (or cry), have a look at http://www.usability.gov/government/index.html. I guess all the usability experts who made the page forgot to mention that replacing 'click here' with another, equally meaningless, link text, will not really help those screen reader users.

    They could also definitely improve the readability for people with poor vision and dyslexia, if they increased the line height and shortened the line length.
    Christian Ankerstjerne
    <p<strong<abbr/HTML/ 4 teh win</>
    <>In Soviet Russia, website codes you!

  5. #5
    Follow: @AlexDawsonUK silver trophybronze trophy AlexDawson's Avatar
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    C. Ankerstjerne, going to keep this quick (as it's off topic) but their website is about usability, they made no claims about being accessible or standards compliant.

  6. #6
    SitePoint Wizard bronze trophy C. Ankerstjerne's Avatar
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    Fair point. Looking forward to accessibility.gov and webstandardcompliance.gov
    Christian Ankerstjerne
    <p<strong<abbr/HTML/ 4 teh win</>
    <>In Soviet Russia, website codes you!

  7. #7
    Follow: @AlexDawsonUK silver trophybronze trophy AlexDawson's Avatar
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    actually replace accessibility.gov with section508.gov (section 508 - accessibility legislation) and that'll set you straight

  8. #8
    SitePoint Wizard bronze trophy C. Ankerstjerne's Avatar
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    That page has a lot of problems as well, though:
    • Table-based design, and again where the summary attributes states that it's for presentational purposes only.
    • Too small line height and too long lines of text.
    • Incorrect semantics (multiple h1 tags where lower-level tags should be used, strong tags used to mark text as bold, etc.).
    • Marking up text in the same style as links (boldfacing and underlining, making a slight colour difference the only distinguishing difference).


    (And yes, this is going off-topic fast )
    Christian Ankerstjerne
    <p<strong<abbr/HTML/ 4 teh win</>
    <>In Soviet Russia, website codes you!

  9. #9
    SitePoint Wizard Stomme poes's Avatar
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    I agree with Christian's points, but Alex is right, usability (for the sighted at least) can be considered separate from "accessibility". Though to me that's saying 6 is different from a half-dozen... I don't see the point in being usable to a segment of the population while not usable to another.

    Section 508 is US-specific. That's ok, it's based at least partly on WCAG (1) and so not a bad thing to go through, but some points in there are law for web devs who do gov't and gov't-funded (with US taxpayer money) websites. The UK has another one, Alex you know the name, right? I forget what it's called. Oz has another one.

    # Why do the navigation links have title attributes which has the exact same contents as the link text, causing the screen reader to read them twice?
    # Why add an alt attribute to a decorational graphic, with no function - and then, on top of that, add a title attribute to the image, causing the same completely useless text to be read twice by the screen reader?
    Best I can say is one popular screen reader won't read the titles on the images if there's alt text (so no doubling with that one particular piece of software) but of course it would be better with no alt or title at all. The link one was a problem with my older JAWS but I haven't had any sound on VB in a while : ( I think they are still read out and at least some readers do no pause between the title and the anchor text.

    So you'll get this:
    <a href="foo" title="What tha diddly, yo">HIPPITTY HOP</a>

    and hear
    "What tha diddly, yoHIPPITY HOP"

    "yoHIPPITY" is gonna be a problem for someone : ) Royal National Institute of Blind People had this pointed out on a page of theirs (which is now 404) and we started putting spaces at the ends of our titles lawlz.

    Uh, for anyone looking for Dutch regulation (more pointed to accessibility than usability alone but, eh, to me they're pretty much the same), they can go here: http://www.drempelvrij.nl/waarmerk
    Also based on WCAG. (and the skip-to-content links are not in English! Hurray)

  10. #10
    SitePoint Wizard bronze trophy C. Ankerstjerne's Avatar
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    I didn't know about the title problems you describe. Thanks

    Uh, for anyone looking for Dutch regulation (more pointed to accessibility than usability alone but, eh, to me they're pretty much the same), they can go here: http://www.drempelvrij.nl/waarmerk
    Also based on WCAG. (and the skip-to-content links are not in English! Hurray)
    And no table-based layout. *Dances*

    For those whose Dutch isn't up to speed, there's also an English version of the guidelines

    (But they still use strong in stead of h* )
    Christian Ankerstjerne
    <p<strong<abbr/HTML/ 4 teh win</>
    <>In Soviet Russia, website codes you!


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