CIS 524 COMPUTER INTERACTION AND DESIGN
DR. JIMMIE FLORES
27TH January 2012
Q1. Best practices for developing a universally usable interface.
One of the defining principles of the Web is that it should provide all people, regardless of physical or technological readiness, with access to information. Since the Web took off as a visual medium, the goals of design have been at odds with the goals of accessibility. When designers began to use large images, exclusive media formats, and complex page layouts to produce well designed documents, the Web became a better-looking place, but those users who require clean HTML for access were shut out from many pages. Today, the course of Web design is shifting back to its original purpose. The result is that Web interface design is intricately tied to accessibility design. It is the responsibility of Web designers to understand and support the needs of disabled users. (Lynch & Horton, 2002)
In one of the few best practices reports on disability, Timothy L. Jones noted in 1993,
“The fundamental idea is to create an approach for meeting the [Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)] requirements that does not compromise sound human resource policy but enhances it, that does not thwart productivity but unleashes it, that does not burden managers but empowers them. This is what characterizes best practices under the ADA” (Jones, 1993).
Features that make products useful for people with disabilities and persons experiencing functional limitations normally make them convenient for everyone else. Closed captioning for television programs and voice recognition software are examples of design features originally intended for people with disabilities but frequently used by everyone. Remote controls that can be operated without looking at them will be appealing to anyone who likes to watch movies in the dark, not just to the visually impaired.
Consider these examples of accessible E&IT product...