Accessibility is the degree to which a product, device, service, or environment is available to as many people as possible. Accessibility can be viewed as the “ability to access” and benefit from some system or entity. The concept often focuses on people with disabilities or special needs (such as the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities) and their right of access, enabling the use of assistive technology.
See Article 9 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
In human rights terms, accommodation is the word used to describe the duties of an employer, service provider or landlord to give equal access to people who are protected by Ontario’s Human Rights Code. This includes, for example, people with disabilities, seniors and youth, people from racialized communities, families, single parents, recent immigrants, and all individuals identified with a ground of discrimination recognized under Ontario’s Human Rights Code.
Assistive Technology is an umbrella term that includes assistive, adaptive, and rehabilitative devices for people with disabilities and also includes the process used in selecting, locating, and using them. AT promotes greater independence by enabling people to perform tasks that they were formerly unable to accomplish, or had great difficulty accomplishing, by providing enhancements to, or changing methods of interacting with, the technology needed to accomplish such tasks.
A barrier is anything that keeps someone with a disability from participating fully in society because of his or her disability. A barrier can be visible or invisible. Attitude is the most challenging barrier to overcome because it is hard to change. Architectural or structural barriers may result from design elements of a building such as stairs, doorways, the width of hallways and even room layout. Information and communication barriers can make it difficult for people to receive or convey information. Technology, or lack of it, can prevent people from accessing information. Systemic barriers can result from an organization’s policies, practices and procedures if they restrict people with disabilities, often unintentionally.
Blindness is the condition of poor visual perception. Total blindness is the complete lack of form and visual light perception and is clinically recorded as NLP, an abbreviation for (no light perception). The World Health Organization defines low vision as visual acuity of less than 20/60 (6/18), but equal to or better than 20/200 (6/60), or visual field loss to less than 20 degrees, in the better eye with best possible correction. Blindness is defined as visual acuity of less than 20/400 (6/120), or a visual field loss to less than 10 degrees, in the better eye with best possible correction.
A bridge is a structure built to bypass an obstacle. For example, a structure to span physical obstacles such as a body of water, valley, or road. Networking allow two or more communication networks to create an amalgamated network. Protocol allows translation from one communications programming API to another. Universal design allows all people to overcome communication barriers.
CAPTCHA is a type of challenge-response test used in computing to determine whether or not the user is human. CAPTCHAs are used to prevent bots from using various types of computing services or collecting certain types of sensitive information. Applications include preventing bots from taking part in online polls, registering for free email accounts (which may then be used to send spam) and collecting email addresses. This user identification procedure has received many criticisms, especially from disabled people, but also from other people who feel that their everyday work is slowed down by distorted words that are illegible even for users with no disabilities at all.
The psychologist J.P. Guilford first coined the terms convergent thinking and divergent thinking in 1956. Convergent Thinking and divergent thinking represent two different ways of looking at the world. A convergent thinker sees a limited, predetermined number of options. By contrast, a divergent thinker is always looking for more options. Convergent thinking is the type of thinking that focuses on coming up with the single, well-established answer to a problem. It is oriented toward deriving the single best, or most often correct answer to a question. Convergent thinking emphasizes speed, accuracy, and logic and focuses on recognizing the familiar, reapplying techniques, and accumulating stored information.
Divergent thinking (Wikipedia) is a thought process or method used to generate creative ideas by exploring many possible solutions. It is often used in conjunction with its cognitive colleague, convergent thinking, which follows a particular set of logical steps to arrive at one solution. By contrast, divergent thinking typically occurs in a spontaneous, free-flowing, “non-linear” manner, such that many ideas are generated in an emergent cognitive fashion. Many possible solutions are explored in a short amount of time, and unexpected connections are drawn. After the process of divergent thinking has been completed, ideas and information are organized and structured using convergent thinking.
Creativity is a phenomenon whereby something new and valuable is created (such as an idea, a joke, an artistic or literary work, a painting or musical composition, a solution, an invention etc.). The ideas and concepts so conceived can then manifest themselves in any number of ways, but most often, they become something we can see, hear, smell, touch, or taste. The range of scholarly interest in creativity includes a multitude of definitions and approaches involving several disciplines (psychology, cognitive science, education, philosophy, technology, etc.), taking in the relationship between creativity and general intelligence, mental and neurological processes associated with creativity, the potential for fostering creativity through education and training, especially as augmented by technology, and the application of creative resources to improve the effectiveness of learning and teaching processes.
critical thinking is the intellectually disciplined process of actively and skilfully conceptualizing, applying, analyzing, synthesizing, and/or evaluating information gathered from, or generated by, observation, experience, reflection, reasoning, or communication, as a guide to belief and action.
Design is a roadmap or a strategic approach for someone to achieve a unique expectation. It defines the specifications, plans, parameters, costs, activities, processes and how and what to do within legal, political, social, environmental, safety and economic constraints in achieving that objective. Designers attempt to optimize a design candidate for known constraints and objectives, The design process is plan-driven, and the design process is understood in terms of a discrete sequence of stages.
The first event of the D5 was held in London U.K. on 9 and 10 December 2014, and the summit had three themes: Teaching children to code, open markets, and connectivity. At that time, the five founding members signed a charter
that committed to sharing and improving upon best practice digital services. In February 2018 Canada and Uruguay became a member of the Digital Seven (D7). The goal is to
harness the potential global power of digital technology and help each Participant to become an even better digital government faster and more efficiently through sharing and learning from each other.
- The targets set forth are:
- User needs – public services for citizens
- Open standards – a commitment to royalty free open standards
- Open source – Government systems, tradecraft and manuals will in the future be open source and shareable between members
- Open markets – support for startups and equal competition despite company size
- Open government – transparent and open licenses and data
- Connectivity – build and maintain high quality digital infrastructure that supports the digital population
- Teach children to code – provide children with the skills needed to become the next generation of coders
- Assisted digital – support all citizens so that they can access digital services
- Commitment to share and learn – members share and work together to meet set goals
- Any degree of physical disability, infirmity, malformation or disfigurement that is caused by bodily injury, birth defect or illness and, without limiting the generality of the foregoing, includes diabetes mellitus, epilepsy, a brain injury, any degree of paralysis, amputation, lack of physical coordination, blindness or visual impediment, deafness or hearing impediment, muteness or speech impediment, or physical reliance on a guide dog or other animal or on a wheelchair or other remedial appliance or device;
- A condition of mental impairment or a developmental disability;
- A learning disability, or a dysfunction in one or more of the processes involved in understanding or using symbols or spoken language;
- A mental disorder; or
- An injury or disability for which benefits were claimed or received under the insurance plan established under the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act, 1997.
Discrimination means unequal or different treatment or harassment that causes harm. The Ontario Human Rights Code is a provincial anti-discrimination law that applies to workplaces, housing, services, facilities, and to contracts or agreements.
Dyslexia, or developmental reading disorder, is characterized by difficulty with learning to read fluently and with accurate comprehension despite normal or above-average intelligence. This includes difficulty with phonological awareness, phonological decoding, processing speed, orthographic coding, auditory short-term memory,
language skills/verbal comprehension, and/or rapid naming. There are three proposed cognitive subtypes of dyslexia (auditory, visual and attentional).
Human-centered design (HCD) is a creative approach to problem solving. It is a process that starts with the people you are designing for and ends with new solutions that are tailor made to suit their needs. HCD consists of three phases:
In the Inspiration Phase you will learn directly from the people you are designing for as you immerse yourself in their lives and come to deeply understand their needs.
In the Ideation Phase you will make sense of what you learned, identify opportunities for design, and prototype possible solutions.
In the Implementation Phase you will bring your solution to life, and eventually, to market. And you will know that your solution will be a success because you have kept the very people you are looking to serve at the heart of the process.
Using a human-centered approach to design and development has substantial economic and social benefits for users, employers and suppliers. Highly usable systems and products tend to be more successful both technically and commercially. Support and help-desk costs are reduced when users can understand and use products without additional assistance. In most countries, employers and suppliers have legal obligations to protect users from risks to their health, and safety and human-centered methods can reduce these risks. Systems designed using human-centred methods improve quality.
- Increasing the productivity of users and the operational efficiency of organizations.
- Being easier to understand and use, thus reducing training and support costs.
- Increasing usability for people with a wider range of capabilities and thus increasing accessibility.
- Improving user experience.
- Reducing discomfort and stress.
- Providing a competitive advantage, for example by improving brand image.
- Contributing towards sustainability objectives.
Human-centered design may more fully incorporate culturally sound, human-informed, and appropriate solutions to problems in a variety
of fields rather than solely product and technology-based fields. Typically, human-centered design focuses largely on the production of interactive technology
designed around the user’s physical attributes rather than social problem solving. See also International Standards:
ISO 13407:1999 Human-centered design processes for interactive systems
ISO 9241-210:2010 Ergonomics of human-system interaction, Part 210: Human-centered design for interactive systems
The words impairment, disability, and handicap, are often used interchangeably. They have very different meanings, however. As traditionally used, impairment refers to a problem with a structure or organ of the body; disability is a functional limitation with regard to a particular activity; and handicap refers to a disadvantage in filling a role in life relative to a peer group. The differences in meaning are important for understanding the effects of neurological injury on development. The most commonly cited definitions are those provided by the World Health Organization (1980) in The International Classification of Impairments, Disabilities, and Handicaps.
- Impairment: Any loss or abnormality of psychological, physiological or anatomical structure or function.
- Disability: Any restriction or lack (resulting from an impairment) of ability to perform an activity in the manner or within the range considered normal for a human being.
- Handicap: A disadvantage for a given individual that limits or prevents the fulfillment of a role that is normal.
a practice of ensuring that people in organizations feel they belong. Social inclusion, community inclusion, social connectedness, normalisation, social integration, social citizenship – all these are terms that relate to the importance of the links between the individual members of our society and the role of each person as a member of this group. A culture of inclusion is building a foundation where differences are not only acknowledged, but embraced. For maximum impact on a company’s success, diversity and inclusion must be embedded into all areas of the business to transform these ideals into core
business principles. A socially inclusive society is defined as one where all people feel valued, their differences are respected, and their basic needs are met so they can live in dignity. Social exclusion is the process of being shut out from the social, economic, political and cultural systems which contribute to the integration of a person into the community.
IT infrastructure consists of all components that somehow play a role in overall communications and IT enabled operations. It can be used for internal business operations
or developing customer IT business solutions. IT infrastructure refers to the composite hardware, software, network resources and services required for the existence, operation and management of an
enterprise environment. It allows an organization to deliver IT solutions and services to its employees, partners and customers.
To form into one whole; to make entire; to complete; to renew; to restore; to perfect. To make a person or group part of a larger organization, so as to end the segregation of and bring into equal membership within society.
ISO is an independent, non-governmental international organization with a membership of 161 national standards bodies. Through its
members, it brings together experts to share knowledge and develop voluntary, consensus-based, market relevant International Standards that support innovation and
provide solutions to global challenges. A standard is a document that provides requirements, specifications, guidelines or characteristics that can be used consistently to ensure that materials,
products, processes and services are fit for their purpose. ISO published over 21,000 International Standards. ISO International Standards ensure that products and services are safe, reliable and of good quality. For business, they are strategic tools that reduce costs by minimizing waste and errors, and increasing productivity. They help companies to access new markets, level the playing field for developing countries
and facilitate free and fair global trade. The ISO Definitions from Guidance on usability and accessibility is a context specific definition for the field of interactive systems. Some standards of interest may be:
ISO 9241-11:1998 – Ergonomic requirements for office work with visual display terminals (VDTs), Guidance on usability.
ISO 9241-20:2008 – Ergonomics of human-system interaction, Accessibility guidelines for information/communication technology (ICT) equipment and services.
ISO/TR 9241-100:2010 – Ergonomics of human-system interaction, Introduction to standards related to software ergonomics.
ISO 9241-151:2008 – Ergonomics of human-system interaction, Guidance on World Wide Web user interfaces.
ISO 9241-154:2013 – Ergonomics of human-system interaction, Interactive voice response (IVR) applications.
ISO 9241-171:2008 – Ergonomics of human-system interaction, Guidance on software accessibility.
ISO 9241-210:2010 – Ergonomics of human-system interaction, Human-centred design for interactive systems.
ISO 9241-920:2009 – Ergonomics of human-system interaction, Guidance on tactile and haptic interactions.
Engaged means fully occupied or having your full attention. An engaged reader really focuses on the words and maybe even jots down questions or comments in the page margins. Engaged often describes people who have committed to getting married. You can see this meaning in the word’s origin, the French word engagier, meaning
to pledge. Learners differ markedly in the ways in which they can be engaged or motivated to learn. There are a variety of sources that can influence individual variation in affect including neurology, culture, personal relevance, subjectivity, and background knowledge, along with a variety of other factors.
National Center on Universal Design Learning (UDL), Principle 3, 2012
In reality, there is not one means of engagement that will be optimal for all learners in all contexts; providing multiple options for engagement increases the potential for learning. Some learners are highly engaged by spontaneity and novelty while other are disengaged, even frightened, by those aspects preferring strict routine. Some learners might like to work alone, while others prefer to work with their peers.
Information can be expressed in many different ways. Such as, the act of transforming ideas into words (e.g. the choice of words, phrases, syntax, intonation, in communicating). A manifestation of an emotion or feeling without words (e.g. tears are an expression of grief, and laughter is an infectious expressions of emotion). Communication of emotion through music or painting. A look on the face that indicates mood or emotion, a joyful expression.
National Center on Universal Design Learning (UDL), Principle 2, 2012
Learners differ in the ways that they can navigate a learning environment and express what they know. For example, individuals with significant movement impairments (e.g., cerebral palsy), those who struggle with strategic and organizational abilities (executive function disorders), those who have language barriers, all approach learning tasks very differently. Some may be able to express themselves well in written text but not speech.
An important aspect in the process of learning, which can be defined as transforming information into knowledge, is the way the information is brought to the learner. In learning situations, learners hardly ever interact with the real system they need to understand. Instead, they use a representation that provides them with information about an event, process, or system in the real world. When communicating information it is necessary to use Multiple Representations to Facilitate Conceptual Understanding within context. You may draw a picture, verbally describe using words, or create a mathematical equation.
National Center on Universal Design Learning (UDL), Principle 1, 2011
Learners differ in the ways that they perceive and comprehend information that is presented to them. For example, those with sensory disabilities (e.g., blindness or deafness); learning disabilities (e.g., dyslexia); language or cultural differences, and so forth may all require different ways of approaching content. Others may simply grasp information quicker or more efficiently through visual or auditory means rather than printed text. Also learning, and transfer of learning, occurs when multiple representations are used, because it allows students to make connections within, as well as between, concepts. In short, there is not one means of representation that will be optimal for all learners; providing options for representation is essential.
RWD is defined it to mean fluid grid, flexible images, and media queries. That is, RWD means that one website can serve a range of devices and device configurations. It’s great for the site’s developers and content creators because there is only one site to maintain. It is a good thing for consumers because you don’t have to be concerned about whether a feature is available on the version of the site you are visiting. This explains why you are getting a dissimilar experience on the same operating system using different machines or browsers, the most common reason for the variation is a technique known as Responsive Web Design.
A screen reader is a software application that attempts to identify and interpret what is being displayed on the screen, whether a video monitor is present or not. This interpretation is then re-presented to the user with text-to-speech. Screen readers are a form of assistive technology (AT) potentially useful to people who are blind, visually impaired, illiterate or learning disabled.
Universal design (often inclusive design) refers to broad-spectrum ideas meant to produce buildings, products and environments that are inherently accessible to older people, people without disabilities and people with disabilities.
The 7 Principles of Universal Design were developed in 1997 by a working group of architects, product designers, engineers and environmental design researchers, led by the late Ronald Mace in the North Carolina State University.
The Principles may be applied to evaluate existing designs, guide the design process and educate both designers and consumers about the characteristics of more usable products and environments.
- Principle 1: Equitable Use.
- Principle 2: Flexibility in Use.
- Principle 3: Simple and Intuitive Use.
- Principle 4: Perceptible Information.
- Principle 5: Tolerance for Error.
- Principle 6: Low Physical Effort.
- Principle 7: Size and Space for Approach and Use.
Usability is the ease of use and learnability of a human-made object. The object of use can be a software application, website, book, tool, machine, process, or anything a human interacts with. Effectiveness, efficiency, and satisfaction can be seen as quality factors of usability. To evaluate these factors, they need to be decomposed into sub-factors, and finally, into usability measures.
- Definition of usability:
- Usability is measured by the extent to which the intended goals of use of the overall system are achieved (effectiveness).
- The resources that have to be expended to achieve the intended goals (efficiency).
- The extent to which the user finds the overall system acceptable (satisfaction).
The User Experience encompasses all aspects of the end-user’s interaction with the company, its services, and its products. The first requirement for an exemplary user experience is to meet the exact needs of the customer, without fuss or bother. Next comes simplicity and elegance that produce products that are a joy to own, a joy to use. True user experience goes far beyond giving customers what they say they want. It’s important to distinguish the User Experience (UX) from the User Interface (UI). The UX is a broader concept than the UI. The UI defines the quality of Usability in whether the system is easy to learn, efficient to use, pleasant, and so forth. The UX defines the human system interaction experience in terms of a person’s perceptions and responses that result from the use or anticipated use of a product, system or service. That is, UX includes all the users’ emotions, beliefs, preferences, perceptions, physical and psychological responses, behaviors and accomplishments that occur before, during and after use. See the UXCounts User Experience Glossary.
While User Experience is a conglomeration of tasks focused on optimization of a product for effective and enjoyable use; User Interface Design is its compliment, the look and feel, the presentation and interactivity of a product. But like UX, it is easily and often confused by the industries that employ UI Designers. User interface design requires a good understanding of user needs. There are several phases and processes in the user interface design, some of which are more demanded upon than others, depending on the project. The dynamic characteristics of a system are described in terms of the dialogue requirements contained in seven principles of part 10 of the ergonomics standard.
the ISO 9241 standard establishes a framework of ergonomic
principles for the dialogue techniques. The principles of the dialogue represent the dynamic aspects of the interface and can be mostly regarded as the
feel of the interface.
- UI design core principles:
- Clarity: the information content is conveyed quickly and accurately.
- Discriminability: the displayed information can be distinguished accurately.
- Conciseness: users are not overloaded with extraneous information.
- Consistency: a unique design, conformity with user’s expectation.
- Detectability: the user’s attention is directed towards information required.
- Legibility: information is easy to read.
- Comprehensibility: the meaning is clearly understandable, unambiguous, interpretable, and recognizable.
- User guidance principles:
- Prompts indicating explicitly (specific prompts) or implicitly (generic prompts) that the system is available for input.
- Feedback informing about the user’s input timely, perceptible, and non-intrusive.
- Status information indicating the continuing state of the application, the system’s hardware and software components, and the user’s activities.
- Error management including error prevention, error correction, user support for error management, and error messages.
- On-line help for system-initiated and user initiated requests with specific information for the current context of use.
Web accessibility refers to the inclusive practice of making websites usable by people of all abilities and disabilities. When sites are correctly designed, developed and edited, all users can have equal access to information and functionality. For example, when a site is coded with semantically meaningful HTML, with textual equivalents provided for images and with links named meaningfully, this helps blind users using text-to-speech software and/or text-to-Braille hardware. When text and images are large and/or enlargeable, it is easier for users with poor sight to read and understand the content. When links are underlined (or otherwise differentiated) as well as colored, this ensures that color blind users will be able to notice them. When clickable links and areas are large, this helps users who cannot control a mouse with precision. When pages are coded so that users can navigate by means of the keyboard alone, or a single switch access device alone, this helps users who cannot use a mouse or even a standard keyboard. When videos are closed captioned or a sign language version is available, deaf and hard-of-hearing users can understand the video. When flashing effects are avoided or made optional, users prone to seizures caused by these effects are not put at risk. And when content is written in plain language and illustrated with instructional diagrams and animations, users with dyslexia and learning difficulties are better able to understand the content. When sites are correctly built and maintained, all of these users can be accommodated without decreasing the usability of the site for non-disabled users.
Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 covers a wide range of recommendations for making Web content more accessible. Following these guidelines will make content accessible to a wider range of people with disabilities, including blindness and low vision, deafness and hearing loss, learning disabilities, cognitive limitations, limited movement, speech disabilities, photosensitivity and combinations of these. Following these guidelines will also often make your Web content more usable to users in general.