Last week professionals gathered for the inaugural Brightfind World Usability Day. This half-day summit gave attendees the opportunity to concentrate on providing their constituents with usable and accessible websites.
Quantitative Meets Qualitative
The event kicked off strong when Nichole Carelock, Manager User Insights, PenFed Credit Union, discussed the importance of using both quantitative and qualitative research for making decisions about websites. What brought this home most to me was when attendees were handed quantitative website data, complete with facts and figures, and asked to create a breakthrough medical app for the Cystic Fibrosis Community. Next, attendees were given qualitative data, which included a blog written by a lady with Cystic Fibrosis. It contained her photos, her poems, and her personal admissions of feeling scared and alone in the hospital. Attendees then updated their app based on the new information. It was a great example of how decisions change when both sets of data are present. View the slides from Nichole’s presentation on using both quantitative and qualitative data.
A Website for Everyone
Next up, Nina Amato, Brightfind’s Senior UX Designer, put the importance of accessibility into perspective by discussing real-world scenarios. She shared about Jackson, a colorblind child who failed a test because he could not read an inaccessible graph. About Phyllis, a lady who could not read the small, light print on a website, when she tried to find an occupational therapist for her husband who just had a stroke. Nina demonstrated ways to test websites for accessibility and she provided attendees with tools for making their websites more accessible to all. View the slides from Nina's presentation on web accessibility.
A Blind Man Doesn't Have Special Money
Piggybacking off Nina’s presentation was Vencer Cotton, the Assistive Technology Expert, Senior Director of Technology, Columbia Lighthouse for the Blind. Vencer is blind. He is also full of personality. Vencer joked with the crowd that as a blind man he does not have special money. He works just like those who are sighted, but if your website is not accessible, he can’t spend his money there. Vencer discussed the tools he uses to help him navigate the Internet. He demonstrated using a screen reader to navigate the web and how he gets stuck when pop-ups appear on a page (screen readers do not recognize them) and how non-descriptive links, such as click here, do not provide him with any context when using skip navigation. He shared how he had to find a new banking institution when he was unable to see his own financial information on an inaccessible site.
30 Ideas in 30 Minutes
The presentations concluded with 30 Ideas in 30 Minutes. Four usability and accessibility experts provided the crowd with 30 tips they can use to improve their websites. Find all 30 web usability and accessibility tips in the slide deck.
Time for Wine
When the sessions ended, the party began. Frank Klassen, Brightfind’s CEO, and self-appointed wine aficionado held a wine tasting of some of his favorites Spanish gems. Guests stuck around to sip on their favorite glass, or glasses, and enjoy delicious snacks while networking with their new contacts.
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