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…)
Digital officer Charlotte Brewer on why accessibility in web content should never be an afterthought.
It’s really easy to create content, but it’s also really easy to create content that’s hard to use.
It is easy to assume if I can use it, it’s fine.
This assumption ignores the fact that other people may not be fine with your content. It ignores people with a disability or cognitive condition who might struggle to use your content.
This is why accessibility is so important. Put simply, accessibility is about making sure everyone can use the content you create.
When I first started my career, I honestly didn’t think about accessibility. I am a native English speaker, with no disabilities or diagnosed learning conditions. The thought that anyone might struggle with the content I created didn’t cross my mind. (more…)