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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