Best Practices for Developing a Universally Usable Interface

CIS 524 Computer Interaction and Design

Strayer University

Building a user interface that meets the needs of a diverse population can be incredibly difficult. This paper will discuss five (5) of the best practices for developing a universally usable interface, as well as some of the federal legislation that applies (i.e., section 508). and assess this compliancy standard’s impact on users. It will discuss three (3) examples of available tools for verifying the interfaces meet universal design guidelines and show some of the advantages and disadvantages of each tool.

Let’s begin by examining the practicality of building multiple interface options for diverse populations, rather than building one (1) interface that meets the needs of most end users. Mandel has eight golden rules of interface design: Strive for consistency. Seek universal usability. Offer informative feedback. Design dialogs to yield closure. Prevent errors. Permit easy reversal of actions. Keep users in control. Reduce short-term memory load ().

Research the guidelines, principles, and theories in an HCI setting, by describing the usability properties of interactive systems, and uncovering the issues in human-computer interaction. Summarizing with rule and regulations mandating accessibility for persons with disabilities.

Designed for All

Universal access suggests the design is specifically made for everyone to use anywhere anytime. Easy to use and learn, targeted to allow equitable access and active engagement of any persons now or future. Products and services, which can accommodate invariably every individual requirement regardless of location. Early approaches of Universal accessibility targeted those with disabilities. Eventually, accessibility methods and techniques extended towards inclusion. HCI, (human-computer interaction) design is Design for All. (Stephanidis, Antona, Partarakis, Doulgerakii, & Leonidisi,) It is difficult to empower variety of mental and physical difficulties

Best Practices1

The Law.

The federal legislation that applies to accessibility typically applies for the availability of access for persons with disabilities. According to the ADA, (American with Disability Act ), and ADAAA, (ADA Amendments Act) a disability is defined as: The term ‘disability’ means, with respect to an individual—

(A) a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities of such individual;

(B) a record of such an impairment; or

(C) being regarded as having such an impairment

The ADAAA advise that websites should be accessible. The ADAAA states, “Web accessibility is design with universal access as the goal. “No matter how or when accessibility features are added, the important thing to keep in mind is that these features are for real people (WebAim), including people: who are deaf or hard of hearing, with low vision, with color blindness, with physical disabilities, with language or intellectual disabilities, and who are blind..” (Northwest ADA Center, 2019)

The Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as Amended (Rehab Act) prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in programs conducted by federal agencies, in programs receiving federal financial assistance, in federal employment and in the employment practices of federal contractors. (A Guide to Disability Rights Laws, 2009)

Section 508, an amendment to the United States Workforce Rehabilitation Act of 1973, is a federal law mandating that all electronic and information technology developed, procured, maintained, or used by the federal government be accessible to people with disabilities. (The Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Rehab Act))

Why be Compliant.

Along with being against the law, there are other reasons to having a website that is ADA complaint. It broadens your audience. There are millions of persons who have disabilities who may not access your site due to it not being accessible to them. It also is listed in more search engines, because your website meets the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines. Being ADA compliant also shows the community that you value everyone’s ability to access your website. Having an ADA compliant website also allow you or your company to avoid penalties and costly litigations. (Slack, 2019)

Tools to Check Compliance.

There are several tools that can use to verify that your web site is ADA compliant.

“Three of the most popular tools are

Ally Compliance Platform


AATT (Automated Accessibility Testing Tools” ()

Some of the pros of these compliance tools are they are free of charge. They produce results immediately. The toolbar allows you to make changes immediately. Some of the cons are: Some toolbars don’t work with every browser; they may require a particular browser. Some of the tools only verify some of the web page and not all. Sometimes the reports are too technical for many. (Web Accessibility Toolbars: 7 Pros, 8 Cons of Automated Testing Tools, 2018)

Web Accessibility Toolbars: 7 Pros, 8 Cons of Automated Testing Tools. (2018, March 02).

Retrieved June 27, 2019, from


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