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31

Building Accessible Websites

With his book Building Accessible Websites, Joe Clark has done an amazing job in explaining how disabled people experience the web and how we can improve their online life. The book is a thorough, practical and pragmatic guide, with a mission to teach us to do accessibility the right way - opposed to the "correct" way.

Clark's book is engaging, informative, amusing, frequently provocative and available online for free. But you should consider buying it, since Clark deserves every penny he gets from it.

Links:

  • The book at joeclark.org
  • The book at amazon.com
  • The book at amazon.co.uk

Henrik Olsen - December 20, 2003

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See also: Books (32)  Accessibility (11) 


 

32

Screen reader simulation

Ever wanted to know how blind and visual impaired people surf the web with their screen readers. Here's your chance. WebAIM has designed a screen reader simulation of a fictional web site, which includes a few tasks that you can try out. It's designed with some common accessibility errors to illustrate what users of screen readers have to put up with.

Links:

  • The screen reader simulation

Henrik Olsen - December 16, 2003

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See also: Tools (51)  Accessibility (11) 


 

33

W3C rocks the house

Ok, this beats it all. If you are a musician and accessibility consultant this might be an obvious thing to do, otherwise not. Anyway, here's a song about writing accessibility standards for WCAG. To the tune of YMCA. Faturing "Sharky" the ScreenReader rapping. Made me fall of my chair with stomach cramps.

Let's rock the house...

Links:

  • The WCAG Theme Song (lyrics and MP3)

Henrik Olsen - December 11, 2003 - via Maccessibility

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See also: Accessibility (11)  Fun music and videos (4) 


 

34

Balancing visual and structural complexity in interaction design

For people with little experience in interaction design it's tempting to equate visual simplicity with usability. But there is more between heaven and earth than meets the eye. The Q4 issue of GUUUI takes a look at some common pitfalls, where studies have proven that what appears to be simple isn't always what is easy to use.

Links:

Henrik Olsen - September 30, 2003

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See also: Visual design (14)  Web page design (23) 


 

35

Product lists' impact on sales

A study conducted by the usability consultancy UIE has show that the design of product lists at e-commerce sites can have great impact on sales.

UIE found that when product lists provided enough information for the test participants to make informed product selections they where five times more likely to add items to their shopping carts, than when they had to click back and forth between product lists and product description pages - a behaviour named pogo-sticking by UIE. Also, the participants who didn't find enough information in the product lists where one-third more likely to quit shopping and had lower opinions of the site.

They study was conducted with 30 people who were given money to spend on products they wanted to buy.

Links:

  • The article Are the Product Lists on Your Site Reducing Sales? (registration required)

Henrik Olsen - September 27, 2003

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See also: E-commerce (21)  Navigation (46)  Research (93) 


 

36

20 Tips to Minimize Shopping Cart Abandonment

Bryan Eisenberg from clickz.com lists 20 different ways to reduce shopping cart abandonment.

Here's a few of his guidelines:
- Include a progress indicator on each checkout page
- Provide a link back to the product
- Add pictures inside the basket
- Provide shipping costs early in the process
- Make editing the shopping cart easy
- Provide meaningful error messages and don't blame the customer
- Make the checkout process easy for new visitors

"Some of these tips will result in dramatic improvements, others may not do much at all. Test each one that's appropriate. Improve conversion rate one step at a time."

Links:

  • Part 1 of 20 Tips to Minimize Shopping Cart Abandonment
  • Part 2 of 20 Tips to Minimize Shopping Cart Abandonment

Henrik Olsen - August 24, 2003

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See also: Shopping Charts (5)  E-commerce (21) 


 

37

Online health searches have become commonplace

According to Pew Internet & American Life Project, the act of looking for health or medical information is one of the most popular activities online, after e-mail and researching commercial products and services. 80% of adult Internet users report that they have searched for at least one of 16 major health topics online.

Some of the more popular health topics are:
- Specific disease or medical problem (63%)
- Certain medical treatment or procedure (47%)
- Diet, nutrition, vitamins, or nutritional supplements (44%)
- Exercise or fitness (36%)
- Prescription or over-the-counter drugs (34%)
- Alternative treatments or medicines (28%)

Some additional findings:
- Women are the primary consumers of online health information
- Internet users find support in online support groups and use e-mail to discuss health issues with family and friends.
- Health seekers want access to more information, but can't always find what is already available online

Links:

  • The report Internet Health Resources

Henrik Olsen - August 06, 2003

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See also: Research (93)  Search engines (7) 


 

38

The myth of 7 +/- 2

Periodically, we hear about the rule of 7 +/- 2 from inexperienced interaction designers: Users can't handle more than 7 bullets on a page, seven items in a form list, or more than seven links in a menu. According to James Kalback, this has no evidence in reality on the contrary. The psychologist George Miller's conclusions apply to what we can memorize not what we can perceive.

Current research strongly supports that broad structures perform better than deep structures. Users can more easily cope with broad structures, they have a greater chance of getting lost in deep hierarchical structures, and new visitors are able to get a better overview of sites offerings from a broader structure.

Links:

  • The Myth of Seven, Plus or Minus 2

Henrik Olsen - June 23, 2003

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See also: Research (93)  Information architecture (12)  Links (12)  Navigation (46) 


 

39

Using Photographs to Increase Trust in a Website

According to Dr. Bob Bailey, current research and studies show that staff photographs increase peoples trust in a website. But they should be used with care. In a study of online shopping, the photographs had a positive impact on non-experienced shoppers, while some experienced shoppers rejected them as fluff.

Links:

  • The article Using Photographs to Increase Trust in a Website

Henrik Olsen - May 19, 2003

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See also: Research (93)  Credibility, Trust and Privacy (6) 


 

40

Analysing search engine keywords

Wordtracker is a online tool for analysing how often people search for specific keywords at a number of search engines, and how many competing sites use those keywords.

Wordtracker is a commercial tool, but they have a limited free trial version, which will analyse you queries against Altavista only.

Links:

  • The online search engine tool Wordtracker

Henrik Olsen - May 11, 2003

Permanent link Comments (1)

See also: Tools (51)  Search engines (7) 


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