Practical Application of Accessibility and Usability in Web Application Design and Development
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In the current environment of the World Wide Web, complex, highly interactive applications are becoming more prominent: interactive dynamic Web sites are now the norm. The history of Web-based applications has been characterized by a transition from visually arresting, yet nearly unusable Flash applications to easier-to-use applications and sites such as Facebook.com that use standards-based technologies. Although usability as a whole has seen strong improvement, more improvement is needed, as more and more aspects of desktop application user interface design are ported to the Web, sometimes confounding users' established expectations ·of Web site interaction. In addition, while usability should be one of the most important design goals, accessibility is just as important and is too often ignored or downplayed in the context of sophisticated Web applications. Both accessibility and usability are vital to a successful Web application, and this paper analyzes the practical application and adaptation of common accessibility and usability guidelines to the design of Web applications, through the case study of a tracking and rating application developed by the author as a Kalamazoo College Senior Project.
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