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Usability & Accessibility of Websites

As a web designer, I've dealt with issues of usability and accessibility for a while now. When I first started creating sites, I didn't think twice about these aspects. However, my current job as a web assistant required me to be very detailed and precise in regards to these requirements. Simple tags can make a big different in terms of accesibility - for example, alt tags on images that screen readers can present. In the web accessibility 101 reading I was surprised to find out that about 20% of the American population has some type of disability. Moreso because I never thought of disabilities as really impairing their use of the internet. However, it turns out accessibility is a major requirement for large scale sites and any site in general. There are countless people that are benefited by web accessibility such as the deaf, blind, or disabled somehow in their motor skills.

I think usability is a little more common of a goal and more obvious for web creators to focus on. It assessed how easily users can do what they want to when visiting your site. I know we've already talked a lot about the usability of our site - we have clear goals about what we want to accomplish and what we want users to be able to do. The wiki style of our site will definitely help with usability by allowing for selective reading and easy navigation and organization. As the usability reading mentioned this week, if a site is difficult to use, people leave. Obviously this makes sense and I'm sure we can all think of sites that we've been too and quickly left after deciding it was too complicated to use. We want our information presented to us quickly and to be able to accomplish our tasks in a timely manner when going to a site which is what makes usability such an important quality of websites.