Designing for responsiveness and accessibility
Designing a website that can be used by anyone with an internet connection is a
complex process, especially if it is combined with a pleasant impression and friendly user
Designing takes place in the real world, therefore in practice it can be quite a confusing
process. When creating a website, the goal should be to provide a positive experience and
good UX for all users. An important step during designing the website is taking into
account the requirements related to responsiveness, accessibility and universality.
Every website can be browsed on different devices, therefore it is essential to take under
consideration the consequences for the interface and interaction. The team should design
for different devices and consider the differences in the functionality and appearance of
Designing with accessibility in mind is about making anyone who wants to use
the website able to do so. This also includes addressing the needs of people with
temporary or permanent disabilities, for whom default interactions and designs may be difficult to handle. It is worth including here visually impaired seniors, deaf people or with limited language competences, for example, those whose language of the
website is not their mother tongue. Universal design is about creating useful and userfriendly concepts for everyone, regardless of age, social status, culture, ethnicity, or
Availability in web design
Availability is a very broad term that describes the level at which an application
or system can be used by a group of recipients. The wider the application can be used, the
more accessible it should be. The group of users should be understood as people with
different sensory abilities, different technological advancement and of different age.
Accessibility is also a number of technological facilities aimed at enabling the use of the
product by people with disabilities. Availability is a basic condition that a project should
meet. Making a website available and accessible means applying standards that make its
content understandable to all audiences.
There are four main principles of accessibility:
- the possibility of adaptation
- distinguishable content
- alternative text
- time dependent media
- accessibility via keyboard
- enough time
- avoiding elements that trigger epilepsy
- help with data input
At the very beginning of discussing the construction of the website, it is worth
mentioning that there is no one best template or layout that can be used on any website.
A good design combines the expectations of the website owner with the expectations of
its user. In order to reconcile these two practices, the web standards and usability tests
should be followed.
The stage of building the website structure usually takes place after determining
what functionalities it is supposed to offer. They may vary depending on the type of
website, however, certain elements are considered standard.
• content – a block element containing all website components,
• logo – the component that defines the identity of the website, located most often in the
upper left corner of the browser window,
• navigation – a permanent element that allows to navigate around the site, takes the form
of the main or side menu,
• footer – the lowest element of the layout that contains abbreviated information about
rights, copyright, contact details and links to the main categories of the website,
• white space (negative space) – the layout area devoid of text and graphics, allows to
create a better composition and prevents a chaotic structure.
Not all of the above elements need to be on the website. Despite this, use of conventions
and elements that the average user expects to see on the page affects the usability such as
ease of use and understandability.
The placement of certain elements of the website layout
should not be random. A useful website structure should help the user in finding and using
the most important information. The content should be marked from top to bottom, with
the most important information on the top and the central part of the system.
Testing projects in many technologies
It is important to test projects with the participation of real factors and to perform
tests independently, taking into account different technologies. Creating a simulation
based on real conditions in which the user will be using the website is crucial for the tests.
There are many tools available to test performance, network availability, and emulate
different experiences, however it is best to run the test using real devices, operating
systems, and browsers.
• browsers – testing on multiple browsers. Using Chrome, Firefox, Safari and
browsers with limited functionality such as Opera mini, allows to check the
website and look for bugs.
• Operating systems – testing the website on as many operating systemss as
possible: Windows, iOS, macOS, Android.
Usability tests with users
The main task of the UX specialist is to provide every user the best possible
experience while using the product. This can only be achieved by contacting the user
regularly and making sure that the product meets their needs. Product tests with
participants are called usability tests. Usability testing with users is not just about
improving their experience, but also encouraging more customers to take an interest in
the product. People will not use a product if they do not find it useful – they will choose
the one that is most pleasant to handle.
Users leave websites where they cannot find the
information they are looking for. Typically, a website has 5 to 10 seconds to make a good
impression. Usability testing involves observing the represented group of users trying to
perform realistic tasks and collecting data about their actions and statements. The
usability tests comes down to observing the user’s interaction with the product. This is
why it is a fundamental UX method – usability testing allows to convince stakeholders of
the importance of designing with users’ needs in mind and testing with their participation.
Usability tests often reveals glaring bugs and flaws that had not been noticed before. 35
Due to tests, it is possible to improve the project even before its full implementation.
What is behind every successful digital product? ISO International Organization for
Standardization defines usability as: effectiveness, efficiency, satisfaction with which certain users achieve specific goals in specific contexts – this definition shows what
defines a successful project:
• Effectiveness – the accuracy and completeness with which specific users can achieve
specific goals in specific contexts
• Efficiency – speed of carrying out specific tasks
• Satisfaction – the pleasure of performing an activity