Working with Others: Accessibility and User Research

by Maurizio Boscarol

45 Reader Comments

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  1. lets try to do a list of usability guidlines and workarounds here, testing its needed ¿no? lets do some guidlines and test them, many of us here make websites for a living, I know that budget and client espectations are an issue but its better to try and fail that to sit waiting for an answer from heaven.
    I have a question on the bold font issue, ¿is there a type letter easy to read for poor sighted people?
    If by chance this list of open usability guidlines ever needs a web space to keep growing I can provide a space and some company time to make this project keeps moving.
    And sorry for my poor english.

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  2. I found that the best way to develop an accessible website is to use a dynamic language (PHP, ASP, etc) that loads different CSS files for both larger and smaller text sizes and also a version that is high contrast (black background, yellow text, etc) If anyone’s interested I’ve set up a beta site for a client that does just that, and the site will be jsut about WAI-AAA certified when I finish debugging.

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  3. I have learned that the best way to design a website is to start with a logical layout. Meaning that you lay out the page using XHTML as if the CSS doesnt exist. CSS likes when you have a well structured page because then it knows exactly what to do with it. If you have a logical layout, if the CSS doesn’t work for whatever reason, the page might look spartan but at least you will have a accessible layout. You can also use different CSS files to change the way layout and text is viewed by different browsers. And you can also create a CSS file that allows visitors with handhelds and cell phones to view your pages. But you must remember that web pages will be viewed differently by different browsers and no current browsers support CSS fully. I think that whats important is that we create sensible pages with sensible CSS files and just realize that complete accessibility soley depends upon what you’re visitors are using. Of course, making all these CSS files can create more work then if you just laid your page out with XHTML.

    What does all this have to do with visibly impaired visitors you may be asking. Many visitors like different browsers such as IE or opera. Alot like to set their text to different sizes and many others like to use their own style sheets to surf the web. As a professional web designer give yourslef a break by accepting that you do the best you can with the amount of time and budget that you have, and if you truly do the best that you can, then don’t beat yourself up.

    Im always looking to make my own website better and im always interested in your comment, questions and concerns. Send me an email at and dont forget to check out my website at

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  4. Last month I wrote a email to a german group which work for persons with disabilities. I ask following:

    - can persons with disabilites create sites by their own
    – how do persons with disabilites see a site
    – what is important on a site for persons with disabilites

    and last, is it possible to create a site on team work?

    The answer was great, they tell me, that a team work is possible, but dependent from the level of disabilitie. And the next answer was also great. Persons for disabilites have interest about normal things in the world, but not how a site is make.

    After that I get some links to see some examples of sites, who made for and made with persons for disabilites. I see technics with tables, div’s, HTML, XHTML, tabindex and access keys. But all pages are made different. On some sites they use images (sample: house for home), on other they use only the “title” attribute.

    I think, all Web Designers can’t make really a perfectly site for persons with disabilities, only in team work with this people. All recommendations from W3C or other experts are only a recommendation, but not a real cook book.

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  5. Are you kidding me? But Web designers sure don’t need to be doin’ it. Study design and statistical analysis probably aren’t in your bag of tricks.

    However, there are plenty of people out there who do know how to do this stuff, and you’ll find them at any major research university.

    I’m seeing a collaborative effort between, say, the School of New Media at NYU and a school of education. A well-designed study could probably get federal and/or foundation funding and assistance from researchers in appropriate disciplines all over the country.

    Hell, there are probably studies out there already that just aren’t Web specific, but could at least point in the right direction. Time for a lit search!

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