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Useful Accessibility And Usability Examples To Help Improve Your Designs

This article is ideal for your lunch break. It highlights five quite straightforward (dare I even say simple) graphic communication problems. I then expand on them, showing the problem, remedy, and what can be learned. It will give you an insight into accessibility, also the easily looked-over area of access structures, and usability showing that they are a major factor in so many things, like design, communication, technology, objects, and systems. But we are not done there — I will also help you think about some new ways to make your designs much better and help you consider some aspects that you have never even considered before on your current projects, right now, today.

Adding A Basic Scroll Bar To A User Interface Menu Makes Items Easier To Find And Use #

If we look at the menu by clicking on the Fonts drop-down menu in Microsoft Word Mac version 16 or any version of Microsoft Word, we can see that everything looks normal:

There is a list of fonts installed on the computer in alphabetical order. However, when we go to perform a task using the menu, like going to the font Verdana at the end of the list, we have to move our mouse all the way down to the bottom of the menu list, then hover over the down arrow, then wait 3 or 4 seconds, or more, until it gets to the bottom of the menu, near V, before we can select Verdana. Yes, we could also type the font name at the top, but maybe you are not sure what font you want to use or what it is called.


It takes many seconds to get to a font that is below B or at the end of the list; the current solution does not allow quick access. Furthermore, if you make a mistake, or your mouse goes off the menu, or if you are not able to control the mouse cursor that well, it will cause the menu to close, and then you have to start this interaction all over again, because if the mouse goes off or clicks out of the menu, it closes it. These issues are certainly not ideal for most of us who are busy and who want to get things done quickly and efficiently, like designers.

The problem of not having a scroll bar is often experienced in website vertical or side-navigation menus (sidenavs). The side-navigation menus might not even need to have a scroll bar, as the content inside the menu is not larger than the vertical screen height. However, if the website or smartphone browser is made a lot shorter vertically in height, there is often no scroll bar shown. So, you cannot scroll to the end of the side navigation’s content within the menu, and you might not even know to try to scroll more vertically, as no scroll bar is shown. Not ideal or great, hey?


One of the things that would be really easy to do, and is found a lot in software user interfaces and websites, is to add a simple scroll bar to the right of the font menu. How difficult is that to do? Not very. This would allow users to scroll more quickly to the font they want, reducing the time to find and select a font in the menu by at least half (50%). Why do they not do this? I am not really sure.


If the software developers and user interface designers used a scroll bar to the right of the font menu, it would allow users to find any font much quicker, increase workflow productivity, reduce stress, confusion, and enable a much quicker and better interaction. Audit, test users, and find out what people want to do, or else you cannot be sure you have effectively designed the thing. Maybe you are not even aware of the ways users want to use your design, communication, object, or system. That is why it is so important to understand the following:

  • What people will want to do with your thing;
  • Different people will want to use your design, information, and communication in different ways;
  • Different people will want to achieve different things.

Better Font Software = Faster, Easier, And Better Results #

As another example, if we compare font organizing software like Font Book on a Mac or the Fonts option in Control Panel on Windows. Yes, we have these two types of software, but do you actually use them to install fonts, or do you install them manually by copying the font files into the Fonts folders? Do you use them to view, compare, and get information about fonts? Can you use this software to manage, organize, and share fonts for your design team? Probably not, as they lack the features.

Well, the creative folks at Extensis have created just what you need: Connect Fonts. It is clearly better than Font Book on a Mac or the Fonts option in Control Panel on Windows for a number of reasons:

  • It has a better display of a font’s glyphs;
  • It shows the name of the glyph, Unicode value, and Glyph ID;
  • It has a better grid display, QuickType, Waterfall, ABC 123, and punctuation (many of these options are not available in Font Book);
  • Connect Fonts is a more advanced and technology-advanced software than Font Book on a Mac, or the Fonts option in Control Panel on Windows.

Here are additional features not offered by Font Book on a Mac or the Fonts option in Control Panel on Windows:

  • Use a font vault that is a single, secure, managed repository for all your fonts;
  • Sort options for all fonts (Name, Postscript Name, Type, Foundry, Class, Family, Version, Font Sense, Classification, Activation, Favourites, Date Added, Location);
  • Add Google Fonts;
  • Manage Adobe Creative Cloud fonts;
  • Zoom in and out;
  • All glyph panels and search;
  • Glyph information (Name, Unicode, Glyph ID, Keystrokes);
  • View categories of glyphs (Entire Font (123 Glyphs), Alphabetic Presentation Forms, Basic Latin, Combining Diacritical Marks, Currency Symbols, Cyrillic, General Punctuation, Geometric Shapes, Greek and Coptic, Latin Extended Additional, Latin Extended-A, Latin Extended-B, Latin-1 Supplement, Letterlike Symbols, Mathematical Operators, Number Forms, Spacing Modifier Letters, Superscripts and Subscripts);
  • Desktop and online in browser versions, both connected;
  • Cloud libraries and synchronize fonts;
  • Setup team libraries across desktop and online versions;
  • Share any digital files and documents;
  • Font analytics and reports;
  • Full admin account settings;
  • Very useful for large organizations to control fonts available for use and to manage permissions and rights;
  • Add tags.


  • Works with Adobe Creative Cloud, Sketch, Affinity Designer/Photo/Publisher;
  • View and preview fonts (Tile, QuickType, Waterfall and customized Waterfall, ABC 123, and punctuation).

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