Usability and Accessability

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"When people decide to test, they often spend a lot of time trying to recruit users who they think will precisely reflect their target audience- for instance, male accountants between the ages of 25 and 30 with one to three years of computer experience who have recently purchased expensive shoes." ---- Krug 139


I really enjoyed the part about usability, especially as it related to the tests we did. I definately agreed that it seems pretty unnecessary to pick people who would actually be interested in the content of the site. The web sites I selected were band websites, and only one of my test subjects even slightly liked one of the bands. This had no effect on the tests whatsoever. It turns out that artistic tastes are not something that predict or in anyway relate to the way someone uses a website.

I was also interested in the part on accessability. I really wasn't aware of the previous lack of a stylesheet (I can only imagine making a website without a stylesheet and it's pretty terrifying.) Besides saving A LOT of effort, I can really see how it's organizational benifits could be extremely helpful for someone using a screen-reader. In many cases, once you get to the page you actually want to read (assuming it has few images), it could just as well be in notepad as internet explorer. Most of the extra bits are stuck in the style sheet. 

I'm not 100% sure how screen readers work, but I was kind of wondering if there would be a way for them to take over for the style-sheet and re-position everything, so that at every-website the user would have the same identical layout, or as close as possible. That way, someone could, without seeing, more quickly reach the particular sort of text they want read. Just a thought. I don't know if it could be done purely through the style-sheet or if it would need some sort of search engine to determine that five lines, each with just a link is likely a nav bar, etc. I wonder how possible that would be....or if it's how all of them work and have worked for the last five years.    


Yes, style sheets can rearrange content in useful ways, moving sidebars to the bottom of the page, for instance, or replacing photos with captions. Of course, the page has to be set up properly for that to work, but it's worth it to plan for such things when you're starting a big project.

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