Usability and Accessibility
For a list of access keys this site uses, view my accessibility page.
It is a simple concept, yet there are too many web designers out there who don't consider usability when creating websites. In its simplest terms, usability is how easy a website is to use. For instance, is the navigation clear, is it easy to use and instantly noticeable; are the web pages organized effectively; is the font size large enough to read with sufficient contrast to the background color; and so on. While you may be thinking, "Duh," it is all too easy to complicate what should be a straightforward and easy-to-use website. Usability is perhaps the most underrated aspect of good web design.
I design usable websites
From the very beginning of working with me, I'll give my input on usability. This is especially true if I think your ideas are going in the wrong direction with regards to the general usability of a website's layout or the content. Internet surfers have a very low tolerance for websites that don't give them what they want fast enough, and if it takes more than a few seconds for visitors to figure out how to navigate your site, or to see that your website has information they want, they will leave.
Your website doesn't need to reinvent the wheel, and when a website sacrifices its content by employing bleeding-edge techniques that confuse the average internet surfer, neither you nor the visitor wins.
Accessibility has been a hot topic over the past decade, and as the word implies, it has to do with the range of browsers and devices that can or cannot display or read a website. Accessibility specifically benefits disabled people, and The World Wide Web Consortium explains what accessibility is quite concisely.
Web accessibility means that people with disabilities can use the Web. More specifically, Web accessibility means that people with disabilities can perceive, understand, navigate, and interact with the Web, and that they can contribute to the Web. Web accessibility also benefits others, including older people with changing abilities due to aging.
Less capable browsers
The majority of users on the internet surf the web with fully functional browsers, however, most smart phones don't usually come with a particularly functional browser, and accessible websites can seriously improve a user's experience on pint-sized browsers.
Accessibility for those with disabilities
Screen readers take the content of a website and read it aloud which enables people with vision problems to surf the internet. My websites are coded in XHTML and CSS while keeping accessibility in mind. Everything from text-only browsers and screen readers to the most functional browsers on the market today are aided by accessible websites.