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There are many issues that face all web users in today’s world. While not every issue affects all users, there are certain issues in particular that may have a greater impact on certain categories of users. These issues tend to fall under two headings. accessibility and usability. Accessibility defines how easily a user of a disabled nature can access and use a website, while usability typically describes in greater detail the functionality of a website. Under the guise of accessibility, the main users who are affected are those with disabilities such as blindness, deafness and/or cognitive & intellectual disabilities.
The standard web user does not truly understand the difficulties for accessing the web if you possess one or more of these disabilities. Most people with complete blindness or severe loss of vision tend to rely on a screen reader or refreshable braille displays, A Braille display is a device, typically attachable to a computer keyboard, that allows a blind person to read the contents of a display one text line at a time in the form of a line of Braille characters. Each Braille character consists of six or eight movable pins in a rectangular array. Issues for blind people using these tools include no ALT text, poorly described images/bad use of ALT and poor layout of on-screen text. Website Users suffering from colour blindness may encounter a number of accessibility issues concerning such problems as text overlaid on background images where the contrast between the text and image is not sufficient for the text to actually be visible in general, and especially to someone with colorblindness. Another issue could be a lack of description on colour with clothing for example. All of these issues make for an extremely difficult experience for users of a blind, partially blind or colour-blind nature. When focusing on users that may be blind, you must also focus on users that are deaf or hard of hearing may encounter some accessibility issues whilst using websites for a few reasons such as lack of, or no subtitles for videos, navigation around websites being cluttered, and also the use of a more complicated vocabulary. Most deaf users require transcripts/subtitles for audio/visual content. A lack of subtitles may cause issues to arise for deaf users or users who are hard of hearing, some people who are deaf lip read videos but this may not always work or provide as much detail as opposed to subtitles, and also automatically generated subtitles on websites such as Youtube. com aren’t the most accurate so adding in proper transcripts/subtitles to a website could massively help.
For some deaf people English is not there first language, sign language is. This means that using difficult vocabulary may make it increasingly difficult for them to use certain websites. Avoid overly complicated syntax and use more informative and to the point sentences. There is extreme difficulty in creating websites that satisfy each and every user, therefore there is a lack of a large range of solutions for cognitive and intellectual disabilities. This does not mean that there are zero solutions, as below we will briefly describe many efforts to conquer these disabilities. For those who are physically handicapped, the devices that are used greatly affect the users experience. Making your website with the use of eye tracking and on screen keyboards in mind allows these users to experience your site. This means that there should be many icons and multimedia on screen, large enough that a person using eye tracking devices will be capable of clicking. The text and images on screen must also not be too clumped together, in order to avoid an on-screen keyboard from covering all the text. With those who may be mentally handicapped, then the site creator may take into consideration on-screen training and/or instructions. Icons with self-descriptive pictures, or instructions on what to do to complete a common task will make it easier for any user with intellectual disabilities to use the site. Once the the accessibility of a user has been properly thought about, and efforts made to ease their experience, then the creator can focus on the usability of their site for all users. This means that the site can be accessed quickly and fully from any device, and also that it is not too difficult to navigate through. Adding a search box to your page may help users who may being looking for a specific product, or a particular page on your website and will allow them find it with ease and save on time navigating around for it. Some websites may have a tricky layout, and too many buttons to click to get where you want to go. Why make it difficult for the user to find the location of the object they’re looking for, when they know exactly the object they are looking for. Without the inclusion of a search function on a website issues may arise. Users may not be patient enough to click through buttons and links to get where they want, making user friendliness an issue.
The website will also not be efficient to some users, as without search functionality the amount of time it will take them to get where they want to go, will increase significantly, depending on the user. When it comes to the usability of a website, the visual design is the most important part. This is where the reader first lays eyes on the website, creating an impression on them from the start. This first impression can decide how many people actually stay on the site. If they choose to stay on the site, then they must be able to navigate through any text and images easily. It must not be jumbled together in one big wall of text, but there must be a sufficient amount of information to keep the user interested. When creating a website, the creator must work extremely hard to condense the information into short yet coherent pieces, enough to not bore the user, but enough to keep them interested. In doing so they have created a website that is easily used by any form of user on any device. For example, if they created a site that was too clumped together, mobile users would not be able to use it comfortably. This is the reason that the visual design should be the main thought on creation of a website. Once a site is starting to take shape, the optimization becomes a common conversation. If a site is poorly optimized, the usability towards users will be very low, making any and all previous work redundant. To optimize a site for all users, you must take many things into consideration. The main issues that face any web user is the amount of time it takes a page to load. If it takes too long, they will simply leave the page. Another issue is the content within the page, and does it grab their attention.
Finally, the content within the page must be available to be shared, on any device at any time. An issue that faces the user must be easily overcome, if it should exist at all. It is the goal of the web site creator to make the website as simplistically built as possible. In doing so there are less things to go wrong, and making it easier to optimize the site for any future task or project. The key to doing so is to focus on the accessibility and also the usability towards your users. The result is a beautifully designed, user friendly site that caters to everyone’s needs.
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