In this episode Chelsea, James and Richard discuss the importance of user experience and making your website accessible to everyone.
UX and accessibility
Podcast UX and accessibility
In this episode, we’re going to be talking about the user experience and in particularly accessibility.
So I’m here with James and rich today. And we’re going to be having a chat about what you need to bear in mind for the user experience of your website, and particularly for people who require a little bit more accessibility. So guys, have we do we work on any of these websites where people is a key concern?
Yes, all the time. To be honest, it’s very different to how it used to be. So rewind back several years. And accessibility was always the responsibility of the person building the website at the BBC, were always really good at it, for example, and you could fine tune the dashboard, the home page, however you needed, the font size, the image size, etc. And over the years, these things have been have been passed over and taken over by the web browser to the web browser is now the most powerful tool for accessibility. So you’ll notice things like all the accessibility settings that used to be on a website to set up your user experience are no longer there, or they’re really hidden the web developer or build it within a certain framework. And then it’s down to the individual user to use whichever web browser they’re using to fine tune it. It can easily be done on mobile devices as well, and native platforms and apps. And then the website will respond to whatever settings the browser is. So rather than going to a website, and sometimes they’re a bit clunky, they’re made for someone with bad eyesight, for example, they were the web developer normally would be asked by their client to increase the text, increase the font size, the image size, etc, and change the layout. This is now something we don’t really focus on, we don’t need to focus on as long as we build a site correctly, then the individual user’s web browser should adjust according to the settings that they’ve put on there. And that that seems to be working really well, to be honest, really well, I think from a user experience point of view, accessibility was always something quite tricky. Because as soon as you needed a site with larger text, and, and larger images and different layouts, things got a little bit more clunky. And it’s not necessarily the mass mass market, really, that needed to see that version of that website. So that’s a reason why now it’s great to have websites, you can really focus on the user experience. And then when it comes to accessibility, the browser does a really good job. It never used to, but it does now. Yeah,
I think just to add into that, as well. People are probably more familiar nowadays with accessibility settings that are actually in their mobile devices. So if you look at Apple iPhones, so there’s a whole menu with hundreds and hundreds of options of how to set up that device to suit your particular needs, whether it’s visual impairment, or it’s you can’t see it at all you want things being read to you, Apple, in case anyone didn’t know, we’ve got a nice feature where you can actually tap on the logo on the back, which can help people who have mobility issues, and that can do certain actions on the phone. I think it was like late. So Rich, really, I think, yeah, gone are the days were sort of back in the year 2000, where you see a website, you have three or four options, a font size, and you click it and the website would automatically change this font sizes, everything slightly more nuanced now and slightly more detailed than it was, I think in some to create that sort of great user experience, you can still do it. But then you’re given the the users the ability to control down to a very fine tuned way, how they see things on their own device. Because, again, we don’t really know what device the users on. I mean, nowadays, very few people have laptop computers compared to what they used to have. So they’ll typically be on an iPad, or a phone or any other kind of touchscreen device. And every screen is different. So this is why this is the old technology of this straightforward make the font size bigger way of doing things. It’s kind of been really superseded by this sort of individual user control element to, to make sure that they can see things how they want to see it. From the developer point of view it from us as an agency, when we build websites, we have to build things sort of cater for that. So we have to think about Yeah, the way that we do font sizing and image sizing, what would happen if the user that increased our font size? And how would elements flow around each other? Whilst Yeah, it helped the user, we still need to make sure that the website functionally works as it should do and gives a good user experience for the purpose it was meant for. So that’s kind of where from a development side of things, it’s become more complicated, really, from our point of view to do. But it has taken away that kind of old fashioned straightforward, the developer gives three options of size. And if that if you don’t fit into those sizes, then that is not going to work for you.
And I think with that, because obviously now if it’s down to the browsers that are kind of dictating how things should look or And the device itself. If we put things like that onto a website, do they counteract each other? Or would they work together?
It depends on the website. It depends how it’s been built. Yeah, it’s it’s not an easy thing to do. To be honest. I think looking at the particular website in question, yeah, if you know that the audience for that website is for people that have more assistive needs than that it is more important that we, that we sort of cater for that. If it’s a website that’s maybe aimed at 18 to 30 year old people who are primarily on mobile devices, then it’s less of an issue. But yeah, it’s a case of just being really thoughtful about what what the audience for the website is, and trying to preempt it right at the design stage of it rather than through to the build stage. I mean, I would say that, yeah, the vast majority of clients tend to want font size is larger, through websites. And as an agency, we do tend to push back a little bit on that to sort of say, well, it’s not always required. And this is why. But yeah, you’re right, some of the technologies can counter each other. And sometimes you can see some strange things on screens when they’re all set up. But it’s something that we’d have to go through and test with a client and make sure that we come to a happy compromise with
and the difference between them kind of more brochure websites, or for kind of lead generation or E commerce websites, do you have different requirements for both of those two? Or would it just be down to the design,
and the design is obviously fundamentally different between those two? I think, you know, obviously talking about user experience, with an e commerce website, for example, sometimes we can’t go as creatively wild, let’s say, as we’d want to, because you’re an element of user experience is also familiarity. So people, you know, ecommerce is not a new thing. It’s been around for 20 plus years, people are used to things being where they are expected to be. So yeah, if you’re a user that’s wanting to navigate a website, and by sort of easily without any barriers to conversion, you’re probably going to be looking for an Add to Cart button underneath the thumbnail image of the product, you’re probably going to be looking for a cart icon at the top right. Yeah, there are some standardised things which make the whole piece around UX accessibility easier anyway. But also, they just mean conversions higher, because it makes it more familiar for the user. So yeah, we always try and push the boundaries on some of the design that we do. But in reality, you know, especially on ecommerce websites, that there are some things that really just have to be where they are to make the users and convert better. As a I think, fundamentally, the reason that clients have got these websites is to make money out of them. So from our point of view, if we sort of built something in there was going to be so out there that it didn’t work for those users, or they found the usability hard to navigate, then they’re not going to make money out of it. So we have to have one eye on the fact that it’s a commercial operation. And the reason we’re doing things is to generate revenue for that website. And at the same time, you only do that by making it easy to navigate and easy to work for the users that are actually on it.
Now well, that was really great. Thanks, guys. And if you’ve got any questions about accessibility for your websites and get in touch with us at Hello at so marketing.com