Thursday, 15 December 2005

Web usability, accessibility and design guide: free download until 23 December 2005

"Webcredible Handbook - all you need to know about effective websites" (1.1 MB, 100 pgs) is freely downloadable until 23 December 2005 (single user licence, no copying) from usability and accessibility specialists Webcredible (you have to give your email address to be emailed the download link, but you can use something like Spamgourmet if you're reluctant to give your email address to a strange site, as I usually am). Normally they charge £170 for it! They say it's based on 2 years of research into user-friendly websites and it's aimed at "designers, developers, programmers and marketing and IT professionals. It does assume very basic HTML and CSS knowledge in some places."

I've just downloaded it and haven't had a chance to read it properly yet, but given the deadline I thought I'd mention it in case anyone else wants to grab a copy before the deadline is up - I figure for the price (as in, free) it's probably worth downloading.

The contents cover the following broad areas, with detailed points (what they call "checkpoints") under each of the subheadings. Some seem obvious (e.g. use CSS not tables; ensure the first 25 words contain descriptive content not navigation), but it never hurts to see what ideas others have about web usability, accessibility, design and (as they put it) web credibility, and it looks clear and practical in its approach:

Web usability

  1. Don't confuse users
  2. Have a fast download time
  3. Know how people read on the web
  4. Don't take power away from the user

Web accessibility

  1. Allow for different browsing technologies
  2. Create forms that everyone can use
  3. Make it easy for users to quickly process page content
  4. Separate structure and presentation
  5. Give users control over pages

Web credibility

  1. Prove there is a real organisation behind the website
  2. Show you have nothing to hide
  3. Put your point across effectively
  4. Create the image of a growing organisation with clients
  5. Exude professionalism and confidence

Search engine optimisation

  1. Help search engines work out the point of your website
  2. Use keyword phrases effectively
  3. Ensure web pages are accessible to search engines
  4. Make sure external sites link in to the website
(Via Out-law).

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