Usability, Accessibility and Search Engine Optimisation
Usability, Accessibility and Search Engine Optimisation are three of the most often used, but rarely understood buzz-phrases in our industry. So let us break them down for you in their most simplest terms:
Usability is the practice of making something convenient to use, whether that’s a website, or any product or device.
Accessibility is the practice of making something easy to understand or accessible to everyone, no matter what their abilities or disabilities may be.
Search Engine Optimisation is the practice of making sure the information on your website is organized in such a way that it can be perfectly accessed and categorized by search engines.
When it comes to content online, these three practices are very important to the success of a project and they all go hand in hand with each other. Nearly all of the guidelines involved, while intended to benefit each practice in their own unique ways, actually end up benefiting each other mutually.
Through many years of experience working in the industry, we know exactly how these practices interact with each other and exactly how to use each of them to expand your audience and give you access to a greater percentage of the population.
And now, let’s get into a little more detail for those who are interested:
When it comes to websites, Usability is a vital tool for guiding users through your website to wherever you want them to go, and also in ensuring that they can gain access to whatever information they want quickly and easily.
Through usability, we ensure that the most important information on the website is displayed where the user can see it, above the fold (at the top of the page and within the window before the use of a scrollbar is required) and also in a manner in which a user will find easy to see. We have many years of extensive agency experience in understanding exactly how users view and navigate through websites and we use this knowledge to ensure users have access to everything they need, and are also guided to wherever our clients wish them to go.
Ourselves and our clients do occasionally want to try something atypical in terms of website design and the usual way in which users will view a website, but we always know how to find a solution that is perfect not only in terms of usability, but technically as well.
Accessibility should be standard practice in the creation of all digital online content, yet it is often an afterthought because it doesn’t effect the majority of the population. So it’s important to know that there are realistic monetary gains and competitive advantages to be gained by making your website accessible.
Roughly 20% of the population suffer from a disability in one form or another. Which can range from less severe disabilities, such as short-sightedness, to more severe disabilities, such as blindness.
When you cater for disabled and able-bodied users alike, you unlock access to a further 20% of your audience, which is a great competitive advantage over your competition. Yet even today, most agencies don’t create websites that are accessible.
In a recent review of the FTSE 500 company’s websites, only three were found to pass the World Wide Web Consortium’s Accessibility Guidelines, and one of those was created by one of the directors of Positive Hype, Aidan Williams.
Part of making your website accessible also involves using a more efficient code structure which makes your website run more efficiently, faster and with greater stability. This will also ensure that you have greater access to users either with older computers, or with alternative devices, such as mobile phones, PDAs, or even gaming devices.
Tim Berners-Lee always intended the Web to be a public utility when he invented it - An Information Super Highway - A library containing the world's information, accessed by anyone and everyone of every country on the planet.
“The power of the web is in its universality. Access by everyone regardless of disability is an essential aspect."
Tim Berners-Lee, W3C Director and inventor of the World Wide Web
Search Engine Optimisation
All too often the content on a website isn’t indexed correctly and when using a search engine, users find themselves on the page of a website which has little related to the search term they used, and they therefore leave the site. The information they want may well be on that website, but it hasn’t been organized correctly, so the user wasn’t taken to the right page.
We at Positive Hype know that different search engines look for different things when they rank your website. Yahoo is more interested in the Page Rank of your site – which correlates to the number of incoming and outgoing links to and from your website – and Google is more interested in the relevance of the content in your site itself.
We know exactly how to create your website so that the information is indexed perfectly on search engines, ensuring that users are pointed directly to the content they’re looking for and also ensuring the best rank possible for your website.