Could Usable Mobile Web Be the New $300 Million Button?

The $300M button serves as a keystone of the value of User Experience (UX) in web design. For those less familiar, this case study reflects how a simple change – in this case, adding a “Check out as guest” option to an e-checkout process – can result in a huge impact to the bottom line. Simply put, not forcing someone to register in order to check out solved a major usability hurdle and user obstacle which resulted in a $300 million increase in revenue in a single year. Read more

Please pardon the appearance

Apologize for the appearance of this blog – I was forced to update through CPanel because it had been so long and that meant I couldn’t back up my old CSS changes. So I’m starting from scratch, and will hopefully have fixed the elements which are broken.

Jen Simmons: HTML5 APIs

Jen Simmons’ HTML5 APIs session was an interesting look into the back-end of HTML5, an area that I’m not as familiar with. Lots of new goodness about how we can make HTML not only create a basic layout but actually devise interactions, storage and flexibility.


Presenters: Jen Simmons (@jensimmons)
Hashtag: #html5apis


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SxSW: Teaching Touch (Josh Clark)

Josh Clark’s presentation on touch design was one of the better presentations of the week – a combination of humor and good information, presented in one of the most charismatic sessions I saw. As I said after:

After seeing @globalmoxie speak, I need to tweak my #SxSW presentation with more humor/fart jokes

Here are the highlights of the session.


Presenters: Josh Clark
Hashtag: @globalmoxie


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SxSW: Designing for Context

It’s been almost a month so I thought I would finish doing write-ups about the sessions I attended, going in chronological order and following Luke Wroblewski’s bullet point method to simplify it.


Presenters: Ben Fullerton – Method (@benfu), Leah Buley – Intuit (@ugleah), Nate Bolt – Bolt|Peters (@boltron), Ryan Freitas – AOL/About.me (@ryanchris), Andrew Crow – GE (@AndrewCrew)

Hashtag: #DforC


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SxSW Accessibility Survey

As I stated here, I have the honor of presenting “How the iPad Can Help Save Accessibility” at SxSW 2012 in March. In preparation for this talk, I wanted to get a better idea of how people with different disabilities cope with the web in general, and how they deal with the mobile web. I also want to get an idea of what issues non-disabled people have with the web/mobile web to help contrast it.

If you could help me out, I’d greatly appreciate it.

Accessibility Surveys

For users with Visual Disabilities »
For users with Hearing Disabilities »
For users with Mobility Disabilities »
For non-disabled users »

Thanks for your help!


Update 1-20-2012


Thanks for the response so far – I’ve gotten some good information but looking for more answers.

Non-disabled: 20 entries
Vision disabilities: 29 entries
Hearing disabilities: 11 entries
Mobility disabilities: 8 entries

Also, if anyone is having trouble with the survey itself accessibility-wise, please leave a comment here or on the form. I tried using Wufoo because they seemed the most accessible of the survey services but some blank entries have me wondering.

SxSW Bound!

I’m really excited – I was chosen to speak at the 2012 SxSW Interactive Festival next year, presenting How the iPad Can Save Accessibility. I got the notice some time ago, but things have been so hectic that I haven’t gotten around to posting it. I tried for both SxSW and IxDA’s Interaction 2012 in Dublin, Ireland¹, and received my notice of success just after I saw my name on the announcement list.

Here is the original synopsis I came up with (which ended up being shortened to fit in the 1,500-character maximum):

How the iPad Can Save Accessibility

A long time ago, in a galaxy before HTML5…

Usability has come a long way since the dark days before “Designing with Web Standards”, with advocates pushing web usability to the forefront of almost all web design projects. Now, nearly all companies see the value of UX in their digital designs. But despite heightened focus on user-centered development, accessibility hasn’t had quite the same level of acceptance – noted, understood perhaps but ultimately implemented as a matter of convenience when it didn’t affect ROI or timing.

So, those who have accessibility needs have persevered and pushed, gaining traction as advocates pushed the envelope in creating sites that were beautiful, compelling AND accessibility. Still, users struggled through image-heavy sites missing alt tags, functional sites that required a mouse to use, designs that they couldn’t read and videos they couldn’t understand because there was no text alternative.

Enter smartphones like the iPhone and Android … and then the iPad. With the proliferation of non-desktop devices and browsers, suddenly a more people were finding that the web wasn’t as nice and clean as they remembered. Broken formatting, too small text, buttons and functionality didn’t work because they couldn’t hover. And entire swaths of the web rendered as Flash-based wastelands that millions couldn’t access.

The people cried out and developers listened, and things began to change. They called them ‘iPhone versions’, they tested in a wider range of browsers, they made things work better. And strangely, when they made these fixes, they actually also made things better for accessibility. And as we’ve figured out how to make our sites & web apps work better on the new splinter web, we’re figuring out that helping our iPad users helps all users.

For better or worse, by solving for many of the issues that iOS and other mobile users have with our websites, we can address the same needs that have always been there but are now more exposed. Better yet, we can take advantage of the accessibility capabilities that are built into mobile devices to in some cases make these newest devices in some cases better than the old web.

I’m pretty stoked to get back to SxSW (I had a great trip last year), and hope that I can come up with an engaging presentation of my own this time around.


Update 12/30/2011

I just put up a survey to find out about people’s habits on the web and mobile web, and more specifically about how the disabled use the web/mobile web. If you have a short bit of time, I’d love to get your feedback.

¹I submitted 2 proposals to IxDA including this same one and another called “Twitchers & Twitter: What Birding Can Teach Us About Content Strategy”.

Mobile Lab Testing Apps

When I had my recent TIA incident, I was put on blood thinners that require me to be tested regularly to measure my levels. To get a record of my labs, I went out looking for a lab results app (specifically one for Quest Diagnostics) and I saw a mention of a new app they had called Gazelle (Why? Got me). I figured I would try it out. Read more

Afterthoughts of IxDA10

Just a quick summary of things I saw, heard and learned at IxD10 in Savannah:

  • “Meaningful Interaction” is my new mantra
  • iPad = running joke
  • UX folk may be considered geeks by some, but they are just as highly friendly as they are intelligent … and can drink with the best of them
  • Read more

When the ‘Standards’ Are Wrong

I was doing some research for a Usability/Accessibility Guidelines document I’m developing at work, when I stumbled across a peculiar piece of information while searching for reference sources. In general, the body of work that is presented on the Usability.gov website is pretty good; getting a little dated in spots, but overall very good. Read more