Web Design References
Web Design Glossary: U
- Universal Access
- The idea that all things (on the Internet) should be
accessible by the largest audience possible, regardless of
disability, location, device, or speed of connection to the
Internet. The ability of everyone, regardless of age,
nationality, disability, or any other factor, to access and
take advantage of a website.
- Universal Design
- Universal design means designing for the largest audience
possible regardless of disability or ability. It is a process
rather than an end in itself. Universal design has seven principles:
- Equitable Use: The design is useful and marketable to people
with diverse abilities.
- Flexibility in Use: The design accommodates a wide range of
individual preferences and abilities.
- Simple and Intuitive Use: Use of the design is easy to
understand, regardless of the user's experience, knowledge,
language skills or current concentration level.
- Perceptible Information: The design communicates necessary
information effectively to the user, regardless of ambient conditions
or the user's sensory abilities.
- Tolerance for Error: The design minimizes hazards and the
adverse consequences of accidental or unintended actions
- Low Physical Effort: The design can be used efficiently,
comfortably and with a minimum of fatigue.
- Size and Space for Approach and Use; Appropriate size
and space is provided for approach, reach, manipulation and
use regardless of user's body size, posture or mobility.
- Universal Selector
CSS, a universal
selector, is indicated by an asterisk. It is a kind of a wild
card. It acts like a type element, except it matches any and
every element it can. Therefore,
red;} would turn every element in an entire document
- Universality is the effort toward providing equivalent
access to the information to everyone, regardless of the methods
they use to access it. Universality is about inclusion. It's
about ensuring that what you are offering is available to the
largest possible audience regardless of the device, platform,
network, culture, geographic location, or physical or mental
ability/disability. It is also about backward and forward
compatibility, about writing one version of a web site
(rather than several) that everyone, no matter how old or new
their Internet device / OS
/ computer hardware, will be able to access in some
way or other.
- Usability is the art and science of designing systems or
products that are effective, efficient, engaging, error
tolerant and easy to learn. Usability and accessibility are
often confused. Some believe that a usable site is accessible
and vice versa. The two are not exclusive, but it is
important to understand the difference. Usability means that
a Web site is intuitive and easy to use. Accessibility means
a Web site is as barrier-free as possible to people with
disabilities. Accessibility and usability are closely
related, as they both improve satisfaction, effectiveness,
and efficiency of the generic user population. But while
accessibility is aimed at making the website open to a much
wider user population, usability is aimed at making the
target population of the website happier, more efficient,
- Usability Lab
- A usability lab is a facility specifically for user
testing. It can be portable or fixed and may vary widely in
how it is equipped. It is usually a quiet room with computer
equipment and a place for an observer to sit, along with a
special observation area (possibly behind a one-way mirror),
and equipment for videotaping. Computers in a usability lab
are also often set up with logging software to capture user
keystrokes and mouse movements and with scan converters, used
to videotape computer screens. For more information consult
- Usability Testing
- Usability testing is the process of carrying out
experiments to find out specific information about a design.
It is part three of the
"Usability Evaluation Toolbox".
In usability testing, representative users work on typical tasks
using the website (or a prototype) and the evaluators use the
results to see how the user interface supports the users in
doing their tasks. For more information consult
- User Agent
- A user agent is software to access Web content. Examples of
user agents include desktop graphical browsers, text browsers,
voice browsers, mobile phones, multimedia players, plug-ins, and
assistive technologies used in conjunction with browsers such
as screen readers, screen magnifiers, and voice recognition
software. Browsers are a subset of user agents. All browsers
are user agents, but not all user agents are browsers.
- User Centered Design (UCD)
- The design process that places the user at the center of
the design rather than the object to be designed. It is a
philosophy and process rather than an end in itself.
- User Interface Markup Language (UIML)
- Unlike many markup languages, UMIL is not used to
describe documents, rather it is used to describe elements on
the page such as buttons, menu lists, and other page elements
generally used in graphical user interfaces. It is used to
define their placement on the page, and the actions to be
taken when certain events such as mouse clicks, or keystrokes
- User Style Sheet
- A user can write a style sheet and make it override the
browser's default style sheets as well as any styles a
designer creates. A user style sheet will override
browser/designer styles for that user only. A user style
sheet is stored on the user's device. Each browser has
it's own instructions for configuring one. User style sheets
can help people with special needs, such as low vision. If a
user chooses to do so with CSS2, he or she can set rules to
be more important than any style rules created by the web
page designer with the "
If a user's style sheet contains "
it takes precedence over any applicable rule in an designer's