Organisation charts presented in PDF format are one of the worst offenders when it comes to accessibility. Rob, from our Content Design team, explains how he turned one such chart into accessible HTML content.
When the bristol.ac.uk site was audited by Government Digital Services last year, one of the main issues that we had to fix was inaccessible PDFs.
PDFs pose particular problems for anyone with accessibility needs. It is possible to painstakingly add all of the structural tags for titles and headings so that the PDF passes accessibility criteria, but it’s unlikely that the effort will pay off; if someone finds 99% of PDFs that they encounter inaccessible, they’re not going to take the risk of opening another.
UX manager Miles Taylor on the benefits UX writing can bring to the usability of forms, instructions and error messages.
Major upgrades are afoot to a raft of University systems that support student recruitment and the students themselves once they arrive here.
At the coal (inter)face of each are forms that facilitate tasks and activities students need to complete. Things like booking on an open day, uploading documents to support their application, providing their accommodation preferences or accessing support.
Improving our forms’ usability
Typically, the Digital Communications team has been brought in right at the end of the development process to ‘sign-off’ on accessibility. But we’ve noticed so many more issues with the way we display form than just poor accessibility. (More about our accessibility testing in another post.)
While internal stakeholders have been consulted, users haven’t always had much of a look-in. Research hasn’t always been conducted or designs tested, beyond the purely aesthetic. As a result, several of these forms have been overly long, complex and confusing to complete.
We’ve been working with project teams on each of these systems to offer advice and guidance on form design best practice to improve layout and flow.
And we’ve introduced them to the importance of UX writing to improve the clarity, consistency and usefulness of their forms’ instructions, labels, buttons and error messages.
In preparation, I put a workshop together for our Content Team. Here’s the guidance I
stole synthesised from several excellent blog posts on the subject. (more…)
User testing is the cornerstone of every successful project. And, say digital officers Charlotte Brewer and Geraint Northam, it needn’t break the bank.
User testing tends to be thought of as a lot of work. Planning, finding volunteers, making sure they turn up, preparing and managing the session, reporting and summarising it afterwards – all take significant time and effort.
It’s worth it. As a digital team we want to find problems, solve them, and improve the user experience. This then allows the University to meet its business objectives.
But does it have to be so time-consuming? We’ve started to embrace ‘user testing on the cheap’ – quick, small tests done often. (more…)