Pension Planet Interactive Accessibility & Usability Approach

Requirements

The following technologies have been used to deliver a rich experience to users of Pension Planet Interactive. While the vast majority of computer systems will have these installed by default, it's possible that you may need to upgrade your system to view the application correctly. In general, all of these applications are available completely free.

  1. JavaScript
  2. Many of the pages in the application require JavaScript. JavaScript is used to enhance the interactive elements of the site allowing users to complete complex tasks more quickly. You can find out how to enable Javascript in your browser here: How to enable Javascript.

  3. PDF
  4. Some of the information in the application is available in PDF format to provide for easier reading and printing offline. PDF documents on this site require Adobe Acrobat Reader which can be downloaded here: Adobe Acrobat Reader.

  5. Accessibility & Usability Approach
  6. To optimise the usability & accessibility of Pension Planet Interactive, a standards-based development approach has been taken. This involves developing with XHTML and CSS.

  7. XHTML
  8. The application uses XHTML (Extensible Hypertext Markup Language) 1.0 Transitional. XHTML is the W3C standard for developing cross browser compatible web sites. This allows a larger percentage of browsers to properly view and interact with Pension Planet Interactive.

  9. CSS
  10. CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) are used on this site to separate the content from the presentation elements. The benefit of this approach is that pages are faster to view by decreasing the amount of data your computer needs to download.

Usability

Great care has been taken to ensure that the application is as user-friendly as possible.

The following outlines the approaches taken in this regard -

1. Responsive Interface

  • Almost every actionable item has a subtle animation when the user rolls over or interacts with it. This persistent visual feedback allows the user to clearly tell which items will respond when interacted with.
  • Feedback in the form of "Loading" animations help to the user to understand that their request is being fulfilled.
  • Form validation guides users to fill in each form correctly, by flagging errors and providing information on how to correct the data.
  • All tables can be sorted by column, paginated or downloaded for offline viewing. Keyword filters allow a table of data to be quickly searched for key letters or words. Some tables allow the previewing of the record by expanding the relevant table row.

2. Learning Curve

  • The interface has been designed to be clear and uncluttered. This allows the typical user to quickly "learn" the application and expedite task completion.
  • Exploration is encouraged. Optional icons offer further choices.
  • Frequent users of the application can discover short-cuts to increase their efficiency. For example, there are a number of different options for submitting dates to the application. The user can enter a date by simply typing into the date field, or they may discover that it is faster to click the small calendar icon and select a date from the interactive panel that appears.

3. Cognitive Ease

  • Pagination of data allows smaller, more "digestible" blocks of information to be displayed in the application.
  • Advanced options are revealed only when required by the user. For example, extra details may be available for some table items. Clicking on the plus icon will reveal a panel which slides out under the item.
  • "Row striping" allows for easy scanning of data. Each row has an alternating background colour to help the user distinguish entries more clearly.

4. Help & Support

  • Information icons displayed beside page and form elements signify that in-context help information is available. These useful tips greatly assist the user in learning the application as they use it.