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System Simulation / Technical / Services / Web Usability and Accessibility
Web Usability and Accessibility
Key features
  • Advice on designing for usability and accessibility
  • Compliance with WAI AA level (and where possible AAA) and with the anticipated WCAG 2.0 Guidelines
  • Automated scanning of sites to check for accessibility compliance, with appropriate follow-up
  • Arrangement of user focus group sessions and questionnaire-based user interaction exercises
  • Arrangement of third-party 'arms-length' assessments
With the teaching and communication experience of its senior staff and its participation in a number of pioneering and award winning projects aiming to set new standards in accessibility, System Simulation routinely implements high levels of usability and accessibility in the sites that it builds. This all provides an excellent background either for providing advice at the planning stage or for helping clients to check the usability of their sites as they develop.

Over the past ten years, System Simulation has participated in a number of web access projects that have demanded high standards of usability and accessibility. Some, like the British Museum's COMPASS project, have pioneered the provision of easier access. Others, like those funded under NOF Digitise, have required conformity with national guidelines (such as e-Gov) that include high accessibility standards.

As a result, System Simulation has ample experience of working with clients to implement practical solutions to the challenges of making web and other interactive systems both easy to use and open to a variety of communities with particular needs. Wherever possible, ease of access has been built into the general provision. In other circumstances, special features have been introduced.

In both our design and our systems implementation, we are guided by the established best practice in the area. The framework for usability features, for instance is defined by the international standard ISO 9126-1. This is elaborated by the work of specialists in the field, such as the criteria developed by Jakob Nielsen, and more particularly by the research-based evidence on web design and usability accumulated by public organisations, such as the US National Cancer Institute.

As regards accessibility, we are, of course, guided by the standards set by WAI and would generally aim to achieve the AA level and, where possible triple A. And we are already anticipating the adoption of WCAG 2.0.

This background puts the company in a very good position to offer a series of services in the area of usability and accessibility. Our knowledge of the issues, together with our direct experience of implementation, means that these services are both well-directed and practical.

These services include:
  • Automated testing of compliance: this not only includes running a series of tests for accessibility, including a number of those recommended by WAI, but also advising on the identified issues and, if required, fixing the problem;
  • User response analysis: arrangement of user response exercises, including focus groups and/or observed interaction exercises based on questionnaires agreed with the client; These services can be provided directly by System Simulation, or if required, by external organisations in order to provide an independent or 'arms-length' assessment;
  • Advice and assistance: providing the benefit of our experience in the area especially to help clients articulate usability and accessibility requirements, especially in the early stages of a project.
The pricing of Usability and Accessibility services is provided in response to an initial briefing.
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