User Accessibility Case Study: ProFlowers

90982557-A271-4B60-9DA1-FE2493131099My sister recently sent me flowers. Due to Hurricane Harvey and the fact that I live in a flooded neighborhood in Houston, they took a while to get to me. The flowers didn’t last long but the packaging provided me with the perfect example of accessible and usable content!

I was tired from hurricane recovery when I opened the box. I also wasn’t wearing my glasses, so I was unable to see well. I don’t get flowers very often, which means I’m unfamiliar with how to care for them.

Luckily, ProFlowers provides excellent directions on their flowers. As I removed them from the box, I noticed they were in a water-soaked piece of foam. Just as I was wondering what to do with that, I noticed a big sticker on it that said:

This foam has kept your flowers fresh.
1. Discard foam.
2. Cut and rinse stems.
3. Put flowers in water.

I knew what to do, and I confidently threw away the foam! Next, I began to remove the outer paper on the flowers. Again, ProFlowers included a sticker that I couldn’t miss with directions. The font was easy to read. This one said:

Trim the stems to fit your vase and cut the stems at an angle.
Add flower food to fresh room temperature water.
Display flowers in an area without direct sunlight or extreme heat or cold.
Change water every other day.
Enjoy your flowers.

I was gaining even more confidence in how to care for these flowers! As I removed the inner wrapper, I saw the third sticker with more instructions. This set was impossible to miss, as it was holding the edges of the paper wrapper together. This one said:

Be Gentle.
Tear here and unwrap your flowers with care.
Please cut my stems and place me in water with flower food.
After 12 hours of drinking water, I will perk up and bloom.

The company also included easy-to-read directions on the flower food packet and a separate postcard with directions and specific instructions for certain types of flowers.

ProFlowers did all the right things with their content. The directions were placed on stickers directly on the product – the recipient couldn’t miss them. The instructions were short and direct. The font was large and easy to read. Important instructions were repeated.

Kudos to ProFlowers! While not all your customers are older adults, I am sure many are, and your packaging is perfect for them – and all of us!

 

Why I Am Passionate About Usable Design

Untitled 8This is why I am passionate about usable and accessible technology:

Everyone deserves a voice, a choice and a meaningful life.

Tech should work.

Aging adults should feel comfortable using tech that makes their lives better, not more stressful.

Tech companies are losing customers and money with products that only digital natives can use.

Work arounds are not a solution for typical users.

Usable and accessible design is better for everyone.

Everyone is disabled at some point -ill, tired, stressed, injured- late nights, too much coffee, too little coffee. All of these factors limit a person’s ability to interact with tech products.

I want tech products to work to their full potential to allow people of all ages, abilities and educational levels to live to their full potentional.

Why I Am Passionate About Usable Technology

This is why I am passionate about usable and accessible technology:

Everyone deserves a voice, a choice and a meaningful life.

Tech should work.

Aging adults should feel comfortable using tech that makes their lives better, not more stressful.

Tech companies are losing customers and money with products that only digital natives can use.

Work arounds are not a solution for typical users.

Usable and accessible design is better for everyone.

Everyone is disabled at some point -ill, tired, stressed, injured- late nights, too much coffee, too little coffee. All of these factors limit a person’s ability to interact with tech products.

I want tech products to work to their full potential to allow people of all ages, abilities and educational levels to live to their full potentional.

Easy Tips to Up Level Your Website

Two colleagues at work looking at tablet computer

It is easy for a solo entrepreneur or small business owner to get a website up and running these days. With WordPress, SquareSpace, and other web hosting platforms, tools for creating your own business website are available and inexpensive or free. While consulting on website design, I have identified a few simple tweaks that will immediately level up your website.

Identify your brand colors and stick with them. It is important to stick with consistent colors for branding purposes. Your website will look polished and professional with a well thought out color scheme. Be careful to not over-use color. Using just a few colors will create a unified look. A general rule is to use a primary color for 60% of the site. Thirty percent of the site should use a contrasting color to the primary color. The remaining 10% of the site should be an accent color that complements either the primary or secondary color.
Identify your brand fonts and stick with them. I prefer only one or two fonts on a website. The accepted rule of thumb is three or fewer. If you are using different fonts, do not place similar fonts close to one another; doing so will look strange on the page. By identifying and sticking with a set of fonts, you will unify your branding and make it easier to create your website and other products.
Select your images carefully. If you are using stock photos, make sure you have the rights to use them on your website. I use primarily my own photos to eliminate the need for stock photos. Choose photos carefully, keeping in mind the culture and “feel” of your brand and the color scheme.
Identify your audience and create your website for them. Make sure your website solves your audience’s problem. Visit your own website periodically and make sure you are meeting the need of your audience. Update your content as your offerings change and as your audiences’ needs evolve.
Less is more. Provide plenty of white space and decrease busyness on the page. A simple website is elegant and easy to navigate.

By incorporating these tips, you can quickly and easily increase the usability of your website.