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UX design - web usability and human-information interaction issues for older people

Tech design & web usability issues for older people

I recently researched web usability and human-information interaction issues for older people (view the list of resources on web usability, accessibility, & older users that I compiled for my research). Based on this research, I designed a museum website prototype whose primary user group was adults over 65. The article “Tech Is Ignoring a Huge Untapped Market: Older People” by Naomi Day for Marker, makes the case for prioritizing the needs of older people when designing user-interfaces:

“Older folks are poorly represented in tech — and it shows in its designs

It’s becoming increasingly popular for tech companies to design for accessibility when it comes to disabled users. There are intro to web accessibility lists all over the internet. The Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) has easy-to-follow tips for getting started with accessible design and accessible development. […]

Older folks, however, are rarely mentioned explicitly in conversations around tech accessibility. Age is usually presented as a potential contributor to impairments, as in WAI’s discussion on Diverse Abilities and Barriers, but not an experience that might need intentional design.

But while screen readers, typography, and color contrast are all worthy and necessary accessible issues to consider, designing for older folks needs to start earlier and go far deeper than addressing accessibility questions that are raised too far after much of the development work has already finished.”

How can products be better designed for older users?
1. Include older people in the design and development process.
2. Design products specifically for older people.

Keep reading

Source: Tech Is Ignoring a Huge Untapped Market: Older People, Naomi Day | Marker


Photo by Med Badr Chemmaoui

Software for blind: A pad lock locking a fence representing website inaccessibility

Software can help the blind access the internet, but not every website supports it. | Chicago Tribune

A wave of lawsuits is pushing to change that

“Jose Martinez has been thwarted when buying concert tickets online. He changed banks after finding his financial institution’s mobile app wouldn’t work for him. Sometimes, when he can’t finalize a purchase on an e-commerce site, he simply takes his business elsewhere.

Martinez, 37, is legally blind. The Chicago resident uses screen-reading software on his computer that converts text into descriptive speech, a technology that has made it possible for him to live independently.

“I live alone … I want to make my life as practical as possible,” Martinez said.

But not every website is compatible with the software Martinez and visually impaired consumers across the country use. There is no federal law requiring businesses to design websites that work with the tools blind and deaf consumers use to navigate the internet. Nor are there any federal guidelines on how to create one. The Americans with Disabilities Act requires companies to make accommodations for individuals with disabilities, but it was signed in 1990 when the internet was nascent, and it does not address websites.”

As the internet has become an increasingly integral part of daily life, with everything from shopping and dating services to job applications moving online, there is a growing push to get companies to make their sites usable by all. But businesses and trade groups say that’s a costly, complex ask, and because of the lack of federal standards, it’s unclear how best to make the technological changes.

As a result, the number of lawsuits filed over companies’ websites is growing.”

Keep reading

Source: Special software can help the blind access the internet, but not every website supports it. A wave of lawsuits is pushing to change that | Chicago Tribune



WordPress .com and WordPress .org icon with a question mark

WordPress for beginners: .org or .com ?

If you are thinking of starting a blog or creating a website, probably you’ve considered WordPress. You search on the web and come across wordpress.com AND  .org. Why are there two? Are they both official? Is one only for blogs? Is just one free? For beginners, this can be a bit confusing. To help you understand the differences, I suggest reading WordPress.com vs WordPress.org: Which Is Right for YOU?, by Jazmine Betz at G2 Crowd:

“Before getting into the differences between .com and .org, it’s important to understand what WordPress is. WordPress is a free, open-source CMS based on the MySQL database management system and the PHP scripting language. While it can be used for any type of content, it’s a popular option for web content management. Web content management systems are used to build out websites, notably ones that frequently post fresh content, such as blogs, news sites and online stores.

WordPress has been so successful because it’s easy to use and offers users mobile- and SEO-friendly websites and hundreds of plugins. And since WordPress isn’t owned by a company — it’s maintained entirely by volunteers — the software is completely free.”
Keep reading the article on G2 Crowd

If you need a bit (or a lot!) of help to get your website designed, I can help you with that! Feel free to get in touch — I’d love to work on a project with you.

To symbolize not accessible: A photo of fallen trees blocking a dirt road

Accessible Websites are No Longer an Option—They’re Law

By David Linabury

“Can I be sued if my website isn’t accessible? YES.  Over 5,000 website accessibility lawsuits were filed in the United States between January and June last year. In 1990, the Americans with Disabilities Act was created. At first, it only dealt with “barriers to entrance” meaning physical barriers, such as installing wheelchair ramps for stairs, doors, etc. In 2010, the Act was updated to included websites. The ADA determined that denying access to information constitutes a barrier to entrance.” Read the full article on Automation Alley.

Read a related article on how businesses in Ontario are under pressure to make websites accessible.

A photo of a button for people in wheelchairs to open a door

We Build Stores With Disabilities In Mind. Why Not Websites?

“The internet has long been known as the great equalizer, democratizing access to information for the masses. But a glaring oversight has lately drawn the attention of advocates and shoppers alike: the lack of websites and online stores accessible to people with disabilities.

While the designs of brick-and-mortar stores increasingly accommodate people with mobility concerns, the online world still presents significant challenges for the 15 per cent of the world’s population living with disabilities. For example, hearing-impaired users may have trouble with…”  Keep reading

Source: We Build Stores With Disabilities In Mind. Why Not Websites?

An image of the McMilian Arts Centre building

New website for the McMillan Arts Centre

The new website I designed for the McMillan Arts Centre in Parksville BC, has been up since July.  Feedback from visitors and MAC volunteers and staff has been great so far, which is encouraging. Working with Rhonda Roy (MAC Media) was a cinch and I especially enjoyed how we problem-solved together.  I’m glad I was able to meet (surpass?) the expectations of Jennifer Bate, the MAC Executive Director, and create a site that is user-friendly and on-brand for a community arts centre.  The MAC is growing—and helping to invigorate Parksville—and I hope the website I made facilitates and expediates this.

A special thanks to Heidi Abbott at OCAC for getting me this gig!


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