By Chris Millschrismills. Tuesday, February 3, 2009 6:42:47 AM
Please dive in, read through the articles, spread the word and send me your feedback so I can improve the course as much as possible.
By Henny Swaniheni. Monday, January 26, 2009 4:53:55 PM
Web design budgets are always tight but in economic downturns they tend to get slashed even further. One of the first things to get cut back, in my experience, is accessibility and user testing. The short term view seems to be that this is a outlay of cost that could be better used elsewhere and is a "nice to have".
I actually think quite the opposite. If you get it right at the start of a redesign or new build by including user feedback, especially feedback from users with disabilities, you're more likely to have a slicker, faster and more effective website than if you don't user test. And we all know what that means: better ROI, easier maintenance and a substantially bigger user base - all the things the money men like to hear about.
So far from this being a time to cut back on accessibility and user testing I think this is the very time to focus on getting your house in order; build an accessible site and you'll find you have a more usable one that demands less maintenance costs down the line.
So here are some of my recession busting tips for managing to produce an accessible site on a budget:
User test with diverse users. If you can only test with a handful of user testers work with people with disabilities. Little will go unchecked with such diverse group and will give your sites a much more thorough test than if you use able bodied users as disabled users are far more likely to identify usability glitches that affect everyone. Just Ask: integrating accessibility throughout design by Shawn Henry (which is free) offers lots of practical advice on how to include diverse users in your user testing regardless of budget.
Use web standards. Simple really but if you're building a site then use coding and programming languages as intended. That means anyone in your team, or new to your team, will understand your code and your web pages have a better chance of rendering correctly in across different browsers and devices. The Opera Web Standards Curriculum has a wealth of advice and soon the Web Standards Project (WaSP) will be launching their Web Standards Education Framework
Validate your web pages. If you do this as you are building your web pages you will be making a huge step towards making web pages accessible. Validation does not equal accessibility and vice versa but both go a long way to supporting one another. Check out Opera's Debug menu and Opera Dragonfly for validation tools and error consoles
Use graded browser support. If you want your web pages to be functional and readable across multiple browsers and browser versions with minimal fuss then check out YUI's graded browser support also recently referenced in the recently revised UK Government guidelines on browser testing. And if that isn't enough you can find even more practical guidance in the BBC's browser support standards.
Use the Web Content Accessibility Guideline version 2.0 rather than 1.0. WCAG 2.0 is easier and clearer to use, contains test statements (known as Success Criteria), can be applied to all web technologies (and not just W3C technologies like WCAG 1.0) and comes with lots of supporting documentation. As an additional bonus WebAim just today published a handy to use checklist for WCAG 2.0 making it even more usable.
Build code libraries. There's nothing to be gained from rewriting code and starting from scratch what has been done before. If you document accessible code snippets, templates, techniques and style guides as you go along they will then be there for the taking when new developers join the team or new sections of the site are added to. There are some great libraries out there that you can use that also offer accessible code. Check out our Opera Developer Community for solutions as well public code libraries such as Dojo and again YUI for accessible rich internet application solutions (WAI-ARIA).
By Zi Bin Cheahzibin. Thursday, January 22, 2009 2:58:43 PM
Opera publishes a monthly report called State of The Mobile Web. It tells the world how the mobile web is shaping up by analyzing key metric data from Opera Mini usage across the globe.
We have had nine issues published so far, each having a different focus. Some focus on special interest, while others on geography. For example, our latest issue is all about Social Networking Sites usage and ranking.
Some notable findings in the past reports are:
- More than 6.4 billion pages have been transcoded in December. A person using Opera Mini viewed approximately 360 pages on average in December. (December issue)
Since its worldwide launch in 2006, more than 44 million people have downloaded and used Opera Mini. (April issue)
Almost 40% of traffic worldwide is to social networks. In some countries, such as the United States, South Africa and Indonesia, the social Web accounts for more than 60% of the traffic. (April issue)
The Full Web surfing comprises more than 77% of all traffic. Content on WAP and .mobi sites accounted for 23% of mobile Web traffic. This share continues to decline as more consumers both use Opera Mini to access rich Web content and become more comfortable browsing the Web on their phones.(April issue)
The report shows us more and more people are browsing web pages on their mobile phones making it more important for web developers to build with mobile devices in mind. Tutorials and best practices when designing for mobile are available.
Also, Opera Dragonfly is a developer tool that allows you to remotely debug your web pages for mobile and TV from the comfort of you computer.
More findings in State of The Mobile Web.