Week 10 – The Race to Make the Web More ‘Usable’ and ‘Accessible’.

For as long as computers and technology have been evolving, the race to make the web more usable and accessible to as many people as possible has been growing rapidly. For example changing fonts to enable people with dyslexia to use the web, to changing networks from dial up to fibre optic enabling the web to be accessed quickly. Companies all over the world are constantly developing new applications and software to aid the web in being more usable and accessible.

The usability of the web is focused on user experience and how you can measure that experience. In contrast the web accessibility concerns the tools available. However the Human Computer Interface (HCI) of the web is also very important when making making the web more usable and accessible. HCI is related to many different subject area’s such as architecture, psychology and graphics. HCI enables the distance between what humans want and what the computer can understand, as minimal as possible. (Remember the computer is only as clever as the person using it!)

The studies into HCI can be varied, for example The Principles of Universal Designs. These are the guidelines that help people create better HCI. These can include how flexible it is in use, perceptible information, tolerance of error and low physical effort. however these are not always followed and can conflict each other all the time. In addition studies into how accessible and usable the web is, are carried out regularly using questionnaires, experiments ans interviews.  For example one study consisted of two groups of people, those trained to search the web and those not. They were both asked to carry out simple tasks and more complex tasks. the simple task only needed one resource to provide the answer, however the more complex needed two or more resources and the study of their relationship to find the answers. This enabled information to be gained on HCI and possible developments, however these studies can be criticised, in relation to reliability. Although accessibility is mostly important as it needs to be used by all due to laws such as DDA (1995) and SEDNA (2001).

Upon reflection I could have added some multimedia and some of my own material. This would have widened as well as, deepen my knowledge. In addition if I had more time I could go over the blog and improve sentence structure and add more key terms to make my blog even more focused upon the topic discussed.

Cites for this Blog:

Fang, X. and Holsapple, C. 2011. Impacts of navigation structure, task complexity, and users’ domain knowledge on Web site usability—an empirical study. 13 (4), pp. 453-469. Available from: doi: 10.1007/s10796-010-9227-3.

Nielsen, J. and Faber, J. 1996. Improving system usability through parallel design. 29 (2), pp. 29-35. Available from: doi: 10.1109/2.485844.

Nielson, J. 1997. Learning From The Real World. 14 (4), pp. 98-99. Available from: doi: 10.1109/MS.1997.595966.

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Week 9 – High Fidelity or Low Fidelity that is the Question

Designers often use prototypes as a way of saving money when it comes to designing a website for a client. The prototype allows the client to view where each element will appear on the page and what it does. In addition all hyper-links can be clicked on and it will take the client to the page the link has been allocated. This allows clients to iron out any mistakes or design issues before the website is made. The earlier the issue is spotted the more costs are saved, not only in money but also in time and effort.

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Low fidelity prototypes can be produce by pencil and paper or by a computer and a piece of software. This then leaves the people to think that low fidelity prototypes are the best option. Simply because it saves a lot of time, money, effort and the problem can be spotted sooner. However high fidelity prototypes give the client an idea of exactly how the website will look and interact with users. High fidelity prototypes are only ever made by a computer and software. This is because it is the only way, the client may view how the links navigate to different pages. Due to these reasons high fidelity prototypes are produced, because of this is seen as more professional.

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As a result low fidelity prototypes are needed to produce quick designs to convey to the client an understanding of their requirements has been met. Also the designer is not limited by the software of a computer, if the designer does not know how to fully use it, because with pencil and paper there are no limitations. Not only this, it allows designers to have a solid foundation on which they can build higher fidelity prototypes. Moreover high fidelity prototypes are needed to convey a more professional approach of the design phase. Also most importantly, convey to the client exactly what will be implemented as the final product, now that all the improvements from previous prototypes have been made. As well as being able to carry out remote testing on the website, to highlight any outstanding or major issues. For example images not being shown, due to a file path being incorrect or new filters blocking the path.

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Upon reflection I feel this week I have been able to really connect with the material and understand the information being given to me. However to improve I feel I need to add my own material and use it to support my writing. In addition I should also be trying to actively participate within the blogging community. Also I feel I could make my blogs more concise and integrate more specialist terminology.

Cites for this blog:

Malamed, C. 2013. Realistic Graphics and Learning: What’s most effective?: The eLearning Coach. [online] Available at: http://theelearningcoach.com/media/graphics/realistic-graphics-and-learning/ [Accessed: 6 Dec 2013].

Smorgasbord-design.blogspot.co.uk. 2013. smorgasbord-design : usability. [online] Available at: http://smorgasbord-design.blogspot.co.uk/ [Accessed: 6 Dec 2013].

Still, B. and Morris, J. 2010. The Blank-Page Technique: Reinvigorating Paper Prototyping in Usability Testing. Professional Communication, IEEE Transactions on, 53 (2), pp. 144-157. Available from: doi: 10.1109/TPC.2010.2046100 [Accessed: 6 Dec 2013].

Walker, M., Takayama, L. and Landay, J. 2013. High-Fidelity or Low-Fidelity, Paper or Computer? Choosing Attributes when Testing Web Prototypes. Proceedings of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society Annual Meeting, 46 (5), pp. 661-665. Available from: doi: 10.1177/154193120204600513 [Accessed: 6 Dec 2013].

Wireframetool.com. 2013. Wireframe Review Series: What Makes a Wireframe Good or Bad, Part 4 | Wireframe Tool – Wireframe Tools. [online] Available at: http://www.wireframetool.com/wireframe-review-series-what-makes-a-wireframe-good-or-bad-part-4 [Accessed: 6 Dec 2013].