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Usability and User Experience

Usability is the art of making sure that any kind of communication deliverable (e.g. a website, a handbook, a user guide, etc.) is intuitive, easy-to-use , and helps users achieve their goals. Usability is part of the broader discipline known as User Experience Design (or UX), which encompasses all aspects of the look, feel, and information contained in a communication deliverable. Usability testing, the process by which a communication deliverable is assessed, however, remains at the core of this discipline.

The sign in this image reads, “WHEELCHAIR ACCESSIBLE ENTRANCE AVAILABLE, PLEASE ASK INSIDE FOR ASSISTANCE.” Obviously, this picture was taken and turned into a meme because someone thought it was funny, which it is. But is it just funny, or does it reveal a deeper message about the way our society thinks about people with disabilities? What does this meme actually tell us? It tells us this building has been retrofitted with an alternative wheelchair accessible entrance, and its proprietors went so far as to post a sign with this information. However, the proprietors neglected to consider whether someone in a wheelchair could actually enter the main doors to “ask for assistance.”