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Re: accessibility and usability

In article <cohduf$r90$1@godfrey.mcc.ac.uk>,
 Roy Schestowitz <newsgroups@schestowitz.com> wrote:

> Barbara de Zoete wrote:
> > [F'up set to ciwas-d]
> > 
> > I am getting more and more confused as to the meaning of the words
> > 'accessibility' and 'usability' *in the context of the world wide web*.
> > What do these two words mean? How do they differ from one another? Where
> > does the meaning overlap, if it does? Where do they perhaps conflict with
> > one another, if they do?
> > 
> > Can anyone please explain to someone who is not native speaking, nor
> > fluent in English?
> Accessibility is concerned with design that accommodates the need of
> disabled people (usually). For example, if you are near-sighted or blind
> (and hence _listen_ to Web pages), you want the page to have properties
> that make it friendly to you.

To me that's just a subset of 'accessibility". When content is Flash- or 
javascript- or CSS-dependant, it is inaccessible to browsing 
environments that don't handle Flash or javascript or CSS. Equally, when 
content is sight-dependant (like an image without a useful ALT 
attribute), it is not accessible to people who can't see (and to 

W3C's WAI seems to have decided to use "accessibility" to only concern 
"people with disabilities" See <http://w3.org/WAI/>. While accessibility 
issues to such groups are certainly worth considering when designing for 
the Web, to me this is a too narrow view. It seems to me that very 
narrowness even leads to design mistakes, like offering 'text-only' 
versions of Web sites, instead of making 1 single Website that is 
accessible to all.

> Accessibility is a subset of usability, I suppose. It is one aspect that
> makes a page easier to _use_, by all audiences.

I consider usability to come after accessibility. Something that is not 
accessible is not useable, but something that is accessible can be 
unuseable still.

> This leads to the
> definition of 'usability'. Usability can be explained in terms of ease of
> navigation (How do I get to...), good context (where am I inside the Web
> site?), etc.


Sander Tekelenburg, <http://www.euronet.nl/%7Etekelenb/>

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