Usability and Accessibility

Junaid Masoodi

If you have been working with accessibility on the web, you’ll know that the current Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG version 2.0) have been around since 2008. In those nine years, the web and the way we interact with it has changed — a lot. Since version 2.0 was released the smartphone market became accessible to developers with the App Store, Google Chrome 1.0 was released, and GPS was starting to enter consumer electronics. That’s an incredible amount of change, and the WCAG needs to keep up.

Last September, a first draft of WCAG 2.1 was released by the working group overseeing the updates which included an additional set of 21 new success criteria to help content and application creators accommodate users with different needs. These new success criteria focus on the usability of these new technologies for the great diversity of users that are active on the web.

With this focus on usability, I found that the majority of the WCAG 2.1 success criteria fit into Nielsen’s 10 Usability Heuristics. Those heuristics are a valuable guideline for interaction design, and can help us make usable products for everyone. I strongly believe in the tie between accessibility and usability when creating content for the web. You can create beautifully usable and accessible content by following these Heuristics, with a consideration for the needs of users with assistive technology.

By the end of seesion you will have
* Understanding of Usability.
* Understanding of Accessibility.
* Understanding of why it is important to know about Accessibility before being a designer.
* Understanding of balancing contrast.
* Understanding of How to design for Accessibility at large.

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