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The Benefits of Usablity, Accessibility and Web Standards

Sourcing a professional web developer can be daunting task for clients. This article is a guide for clients and outlines the many benefits of employing a professional Agency focussing on Usability, Accessiblity and Web Standards.

Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

Table of contents


Usability is a measure of how easy a website is to use. Everyone has had an experience where they have been frustrated by long flash introductions, or simply cannot perform simple tasks on a website.

A usable website is one that is simple to learn, encourages return visits and anticipates and responds to user errors.

There are many usability tools at a designers disposal - some of them are outlined in this article.

A usability professional will ensure:

  1. That the design is appropriate and usable for the desired audience.
  2. That the site displays correctly on multiple platforms and browsers.
  3. That user error is anticipated and minimised.
  4. That the information architecture or sitemap is simple and streamlined.

The benefits:

  1. Increased user loyalty and customer satisfaction
  2. Reduced maintenance costs
  3. Increased sales
  4. Fewer support requests resulting in lower overheads


Since 1999 UK law has required that websites are accessible to Blind and Disabled users. Blind users are able to access the web using screen readers. Disabled users also have many tools available to them to help them use the web. But if a site is not built correctly it will be unusable to assistive technologies.

Guidance for web developers has also existed for some time in the Web Content and Accessibillity Guidelines issued by the W3C. Many web developers follow these guidelines but sadly many do not. When sourcing a web developer you should ask about their commitment to Accessbility and ensure they use, understand and follow the Web Content and Accessiblity Guidelines.

Accessible websites are not just about disabled users. Ensuring the site works with images and javascript turned off are just a couple of additional benefits of building accessible sites.

An accessibility professional will ensure

  1. That you acheive an accessiblity level that is appropriate for your organisation.
  2. That you meet criteria as outlined in the Web Content and Accessibility Guidelines.
  3. That you follow recommendations outlined by groups like the Royal National Institute for the Blind and the Disability Rights Commission.

The benefits

  1. A site that is accessible to all of your audience whether they are able bodied or not.
  2. A site that is bulletproof to users disabling images or javascript.
  3. You are doing the right thing morally, ethically and legally.

Web Standards

What are web standards? Web Standards are a series of internationally recognised protocols that designers, coders and browser manufacturers adhere to. With the web moving so quickly it is very important to find a designer with a commitment to web standards. More than that it is also a philosophy that supports efficient and maintainable websites.

Web Standards include a commitment to the code used behind the site, ensuring the site is maintainable and improving user experience. If you are unsure of whether a designer uses web standards ask. If they do not you are likely to be missing out on benefits provided by this commitment.

A Web Standards Professional will ensure

  1. That your site uses valid code
  2. That your site uses the latest techniques to ensure maintainability
  3. Content is available to many platforms - mobiles, screen readers, text browsers, search robots
  4. Content can be restyled quickly and easily

The benefits

  1. Greatly improved search engine rankings
  2. Error free code
  3. Reduced bandwidth costs
  4. Faster download times
  5. Cheaper and quicker to maintain

The Triumvirate of Web Design

As yet there is no mark of Accreditation for a web designer. Until there is asking about Usability, Accessiblity and Web Standards is a good way to ensure that the designer you are employing is committed to the best practices on the web. If you fail to source a designer committed to this trio then you are failing to secure the benefits gained from these philosophies and techiniques.

Have an update or suggestion for this article? You can edit it here and send me a pull request.


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