Web-Writing Webinar (2): accessibility and usability. They really do matter.

One of the slides I used for the Web-Writing Webinar on 11 April asked the question:

Users with accessibility or usability issues. Who are they?

The answer was:

All of us.

We all at one time or another (indeed eventually) become less able: you fall and sprain your wrist, get repetitive strain injury, you get older and your eye-sight deteriorates.

That’s life

I got a taste of this myself at the gym the other day. One of the exercises involved throwing a medicine ball to a partner. I caught the ball awkwardly, and it hit my finger at a painful angle. It was the middle finger of my left hand, so not vital for using the mouse or the arrow or tab keys. But it slowed down my typing quite a bit for the day.

The moral of the story is: if you’re thinking of creating a new website or revamping your existing one, make sure it’s accessible for users with impaired abilities. Who sooner or later could be yourself, unless you’re lucky enough to sail through life unscathed by medicine balls or any other fiendish gym apparatus.

The webinar, by the way, can still be viewed through the eCPD Webinars website.

By Marian Dougan

Published by Marian Dougan

Marian is a translator and editor (specialising in web content) currently based in Glasgow, Scotland. Marian previously lived in Italy for over 20 years, working as a language teacher, translator and policy analyst with the British Embassy in Rome. A qualified member of the Institute of Translation and Interpreting (ITI) and its Italian-language and ITI Scotnet networks, she is currently Scotnet's Convenor and Deputy Webmaster. From 2003 to 2006 Marian taught translation skills at the Italian Department of Glasgow University and now gives Master Classes as part of the new Masters in Translation Studies course. She also conducts web-writing and usability workshops to help people improve their websites and communicate more effectively with their readers, users and customers. In September 2014 Marian obtained User Experience Certification, with specialisation in Web Design, from the Nielsen Norman Group. She loves language, especially English, and is convinced that learning languages opens up people’s minds and horizons (and increases their brainpower!). To share her enthusiasm, she advises schools and educational authorities on language skills and enterprise. She gives talks to pupils on how to combine language studies with other subjects and so enhance their potential and increase their career options. Marian is an active member of organisations such as: Scottish Council Development and Industry (SCDI); Association of Scottish Businesswomen; Dunbartonshire Chamber of Commerce and the Italian Chamber of Commerce in Scotland. She also loves architecture, design, fashion (British Vogue!), cities and chocolate. She’s a great fan of Twitter and you can also find her on Linkedin.

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