‘Universal usability’? What’s that?

I’ve stumbled across* an interesting website called Universal Usability. It’s the (free) online version of ‘Access by Design: A Guide to Universal Usability for Web Designers’, a book by Sarah Horton.

Sarah describes universal usability as going ‘one step further’ than accessibility. Not only does it try to make content and functionality accessible to all users, it tries to make them usable too.

The book covers a range of topics, from document structure to interactivity, with lots of useful examples. A number of sections interest me as an online writer, including text, images (alt-text), links and editorial style.

Much of it is common sense and is similar to recommendations made by groups such as the Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI). Other parts are simply best practice in terms of writing good copy for websites.

The site’s a good refresher for online writers and it’s a good place to start if you’re trying to find some basic guidelines.

*I was going to write about information architecture and content. Next time….

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