ISSN: 1550-7521

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Research Article Open Access

Integrating usability and accessibility into the interactive media and communication curriculum

Abstract

One of the challenges of developing an interactive media curriculum is the need to balance production skills, such as coding and using development tools, with visual design and design best practices, such as usability and accessibility. Usability, or how easy it is to use a site, is critical because if a site is difficult to use, users will go elsewhere for the information or service. In addition, poor usability has been demonstrated to undermine overall site credibility. Accessibility is essentially how usable a site is by users with disabilities such as impairments in vision, hearing, cognition, and motor skills. While students need to understand accessibility on a legal level, particularly given the number of lawsuits related to website accessibility, they also need to understand the issue on an ethical level. This article discusses the importance of usability and accessibility and how to integrate these ideas into both interactive media creative classes as well as lecture courses such as media and society and media law courses, and it includes a discussion of sample exercises, sample assignments, and recommended resources.

Norman E. Youngblood

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