Usability in Civic Life
It's a simple idea, really:
access + usability = usable accessibility
Once we remove the barriers to access addressed in standards and regulation, the next challenge is to make communications, technology and other products usable by people with a full range of abilities.
- Accessibility standards
- Plain language
This is just a short list of some starting points for information about usable access.
Just Ask: Integrating Accessibility Throughout Design by Shawn Lawton Henry covers accessibility through the user-centered design cycle, including personas and usability testing with people with disabilitites. (Online and print versions)
The Web Accessibility Initiative develops support materials to help understand and implement Web accessibility, in addition to accessibility standards for web sites (WCAG), authoring tools (ATAG), rich applications (ARIA), and user agents (UAAG)
The Center for Plain Language works to increase the usefulness and efficiency of government, legal, and business documents, so that the people who use those documents can quickly and easily: find what they need, understand what they find, and act on that understanding.
Universal Usability: a universal approach to web usability includes the full text of Sarah Horton's book Access by Design as well as resources and information about universal usability.
Developing accessibility standards
UXPA and UXPA chapters have participated in accessibility standards around the world
- New Zealand government Web Standards - Sam Ng, UPANZ
- UK BSI's PAS 78: Guide to good practice in commissioning accessible web sites - Giles Colborne, UK UPA
- US E&IT and telecommunications regulations Section 508 and Section 255 Recommendations for Updates and poster on the recommendations (pdf, 1,098Kb- 33" x 47") - Whitney Quesenbery & Sarah Swierenga, UXPA
- Access to telecommunications and US Telecommunications policy for people with disabilities (ppt, 736K) - Karen Peltz Strauss, Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center on Telecommunications Access at the UPA Celebration of Usability in Civic Life, 2008
Supporting plain language
Plain language not only makes information easier to find, understand and use, but also makes them more usable for people with cognitive, language and learning disabilities.
- Learn about plain language
- What is a plain language expert?
- Plain Language: Adding Simplicity to Voting
- UPA Supports Easier Access to Government for all Citizens (January 2008)
- US House Hearing "Plain Language in Paperwork—The Benefits to Small Business" - Feb 26, 2008
Video of the hearing