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World Usability Day opens visitors’ eyes

23 Nov 2017 10:10 | Faculty of Digital Media and Creative Industries

How do you make a website accessible to all web users? What requirements does it have to meet? At the invitation of the Master’s programme in Digital Design, the freelance UX designer Dean Birkett looked at this in detail in a lecture given on World Usability Day.

The whole of Thursday the 9th of November was devoted to the importance of website usability, user-oriented design, and the relevant techniques. “I think website accessibility is vital”, explained Dean in the Leeuwenburg auditorium, an Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences location next to Amstel Station. “You get more visitors. Improving the accessibility of your website means opening the door to everyone.”

Being disabled-friendly

In his lecture Dean talked about the trends and techniques surrounding website accessibility, giving extra attention to disabled-friendly websites; Dean also works for AssistiveWare, a Dutch company that builds support apps for disabled people. The audience was shown an example of a website that was clearly unsuited to this target group, in order to let them experience how frustrating it can be to try to use and navigate a non-inclusive website.

A little trouble yields great results

“It turns out that taking just a little trouble to improve accessibility can yield great results”, agrees Marcel Koster, managing director of sales and business development at Informaat, a design and consultancy bureau for digital products and services that is one of the Master’s in Digital Design key partners. “Everyone thinks that improving website accessibility takes lots of work and trouble, but we now know that this doesn’t have to be the case at all.”

“Work hard and keep developing”

According to Dean, it is also vital to innovate. “We have to keep developing ourselves. Design is getting broader all the time; it’s not just about pixels and colours any more. More and more factors are coming into play.” And he closed with some good advice for the audience: “Always work hard, so that your voice is heard. Try to get the best out of yourself.”

By: Merel Onrust