Today’s Finds: Usability, Accessibility Jan. 2

Today’s picks:

Usability

According to USNews, in 31 Best Careers for 2008, usability/user experience specialist is on the list.

Cre8asiteforums thread discusses what to do when a form or Internet application isn’t working. Login Form Design looks into ways to communicate bad news in a satisfactory, user friendly way.

I liked this: Focus if You Want Great Usability. John writes:

If you talk to people who do great work, they will tell you that there is dedication based on the inner need to craft something wonderful. It isn’t money or external rewards that drive the best people, unless you’re talking about people who make money for a living such as sales people.

When it comes to usability, this focus and dedication is especially important. The reason is that usability is mostly tedious, nasty work unless you are truly in love with delivery of a great experience for other people.

Research and Call for Volunteers

David Tohidy seeks help and interest for research he’s doing on Layout Stability.

In this experiment we will study and determine all the factors which have an effect on the stability of web pages. Then we will categorize the layout stability based on the impact of these factors after conducting research and testing different layouts at different resolutions/platforms and systems with different browsers.

Accessibility

Site of interest – GAWDS – Guild of Accessible Web Designers

It’s rare that Jakob Nielsen offers his case studies and reports for free. However, at the moment one is.

Nielsen Norman Group Report Beyond ALT Text: Making the Web Easy to Use for Users With Disabilities 75 Best Practices for Design of Websites and Intranets, Based on usability Studies with People Who Use Assistive Technology is free to download.

It’s 148 pages PDF format, 7 MB

The report contains:

* Results of usability tests of 19 websites with users with several different types of disabilities who are using a range of assistive technology:
o blind users using screen readers
o blind users using Braille readers
o low-vision users using screen magnifiers
o motor-impaired users
* Test data collected mainly in the United States, with some additional studies in Japan to ensure the international applicability of the recommendations
o A total of 104 users participated in the usability studies:
o 84 users with disabilities
o 20 non-disabled users who served as a control group
* 75 detailed design guidelines

Cre8asiteforums discussion on the paper – Beyond Alt Text: Making The Web Easy To Use For Users With Disabilities