Post category: Usability & accessibility

Jan 2018:

#A11YBerlin meetup series kicked off with two great talks

The newly established Accessibility Meetup Berlin had a great start in January, featuring speakers looking at the topic from two different angles.

Jun 2017:

Bookmark: A day without Javascript

It must have been in 2006, in my first full-time web-related job back at Satama Interactive that I was not only introduced to, but I myself actively promoted (in our then state-of-the-art web standards advocacy group, together with Harri Kilpiö and others) that any website should work without JavaScript enabled. Back in those days this […]

> 1y ago:

Bookmark: How to get the most value out of remote user research (without breaking the bank)

From my first-hand experience, this lightweight research process described by Rian Van Der Merwe is incredibly efficient. In the article it is summarized as chosing: The RITE testing method (Rapid Iterative Testing and Evaluation) The right remote usability testing tools The right fidelity The right people to talk to The right way to analyze and […]

Bookmark: The inaccessible web: how we got into this mess

Mischa Andrews lists five reasons how the web, an accessible medium by default, ended up in an inaccessible mess: We can (and do) learn to make websites without learning accessibility We’re not held accountable for inaccessible products Assumptions guide us astray The legislation doesn’t tell us what to do New trends push technology into untested […]

Turning the Feb 2017 AWS outage into a case for “offline first” design

Allow me to begin my ponderings by picking up a point made by Karissa Bell on Mashable related to the major disruption of Amazon’s cloud services that took down a wide range of online services: Amazon’s lengthy AWS outage Tuesday was a stark reminder of just how much farther we have to go to realize […]

Using the “Cognitive bias codex” for design concept evaluation

Cognitive bias – the tendency of the human brain to interpret information based on unrecognised irrational factors – is a phenomenon that has been fascinating me for well over a decade. There is no more efficient way to improve the quality of a design concept than by doing a heuristic evaluation on potential cognitive biases […]

Bookmark: Why Nothing Works Anymore

Ian Bogost, in this piece on The Atlantic, expands the notion of “precarity” from the economic into the technological sphere – the instability and unpredictability of (technological) objects: The frequency with which technology works precariously has been obscured by culture’s obsession with technological progress, its religious belief in computation, and its confidence in the mastery […]

Bookmark: Top 10 Enduring Web-Design Mistakes

The results from this large-scale study by Nielsen Norman Group are significant not so much for what usability issues they identified to be most common, but the fact that these are still the same basic problems that have been around as long as websites have: The big news? None of the top issues today is […]

Bookmark: Discrimination by Design

A great read on how the long history of discrimination by design continues in the realm of the digital. It’s likely that as long as humans and their institutions hold prejudices and bias, their designs will reflect them. This upsets me every time I see yet another shiny digital product that embraces what its designers […]

Social media and usability – people-centred design in communications

Social media and usability are words rarely expressed in one sentence. Publishing in social media means adherence to a strict corset: the services limit the length of texts, unify the appearance of messages and profiles, and define the interactions enabled around them. If usability in only seen as a question of easy-to-use and smooth interfaces, the means to make an impact are indeed limited. But considering technical usability along with context of use and individual worth for the user, communication professionals can largely improve the usability of their organisations' social media channels.

Ignoring social inequality in design: poor customer experience

As sociologists, we frequently use inequality as a lens to examine various dimensions of social life. A blog post by Jenny L. Davis illustrates how the non-use of technology (in this particular instance, due to lack of access) may not only be a manifestation of the so called “digital divide” – the topic of the […]

MoMo – the anxiety that strikes when friends become non-users

The impact of social technology’s non-use on its users is sometimes abstract to explain. But every now and then, the issue surfaces in very accessible manner as in an editorial piece by Radhika Sanghani on the Telegraph. While active social media users, through constant sharing of detailed accounts from their lives, can cause their friends […]

The job anniversary that wasn’t

A few days ago, I noticed an interesting item on my LinkedIn feed that serves to illustrate one of the instances how non-use may manifest itself in social web services. A message featured in the news feed encouraged me (and likely a large number of others) to congratulate a former colleague for her 5 year […]

Leaving the phone behind: Intentional disconnect and the appropriation of “flight mode”

“Leave your phone behind”, a recent writing by a NYC startup CEO on LinkedIn gained quite a bit of traffic and comments when Rafat Ali suggested to create short periods of disconnection from the omnipresent network and its distracting forces. Both in the article and the 100+ comments by the readers, there is a sense […]

Scarcity of personal time resources as a reason for quitting Facebook?

The Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project published some interesting non-use related numbers related to Facebook, in a report titled “Coming and Going on Facebook”: 61% of current Facebook users say that at one time or another in the past they have voluntarily taken a break from using Facebook for a period of […]