UsableNet, the folks who develop usability and accessibility solutions, have a new version of LIFT, an add-on product for developing accessible and usable Web sites within Macromedia Dreamweaver. The latest version is built for Mac OS X and Dreamweaver MX.
Built upon the extensible architecture of Dreamweaver, this professional solution leverages the power of OS X to test websites for accessibility compliance and usability issues, as well as streamline repairs, according to Paolo Brajnik, UsableNet Chairman. LIFT for Mac OS X dramatically increases productivity in the Web design process by flexibly incorporating accessibility and usability principles into the production workflow, he added.
LIFT is designed to let users perform four main functions: site evaluation, problem finding, problem inspection and problem fixing. The concept for UsableNet’s products and online services are simple: take all Web usability rules established by a growing community of research, educational institutions and even individuals, and make them available in the form of a product or service. Usability rules are based on research about how people find, use, access and navigate Web sites.
LIFT and Macromedia Dreamweaver MX work hand-in-hand as new content is built or when retrofitting is required, Brajnik said. You can select pre-defined guideline sets such as W3C or Section 508 accessibility guidelines or create custom guideline sets for particular Web site concerns. LIFT automates and simplifies the most repetitive and time-consuming development tasks with tools like a global ALT editor for managing images and a Fix Wizard for complex tables, forms, images, Flash elements and more, Brajnik said. Customizable reports let you audit existing sites, identify the work that needs to be done, and document compliance. Finally, a “heavy emphasis” is placed on informed design decisions, so extensive descriptions, examples and URL links are provided for each rule, said Brajnik.
The suggest retail price of LIFT for Macromedia Dreamweaver MX is US$299 for the standard version and US$399 for the Pro Suite version that includes LIFT Online, an online subscription-based service that lets users monitor live and dynamic content. Free updates will be available for owners of previous versions of LIFT for Dreamweaver. The new version can be purchased online. Demo requests are also available.