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I am building an application that I would like to describe as being accessible in the sense of having a very low barrier to entry. By this I mean it's an online tool that you can start using immediately by going to the website, without having to sign up or navigate through a landing page full of promotion for it. You can just get started.

I've heard the term "accessible" used for this kind of thing, however I feel like accessibility is so thoroughly tied to its traditional sense of helping those with disabilities / impairments. So I'm not so sure it's a good idea to use this term.

Besides having "a low barrier to entry", is there another term that best describes what I am trying to communicate?

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  • The word I've heard in pre-SAAS software is "turnkey". I'm not sure it's still used in marketing, but that might be a start for a discussion on english.stackexchange.com, where a lot of wordsmiths answer questions like this.
    – Izquierdo
    Jun 6 at 18:09
  • Turnkey was to distinguish software which didn't require consultants to 'customise' it for you.
    – PhillipW
    Jun 7 at 11:52
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    How about 'Low Friction'?
    – PhillipW
    Jun 7 at 11:53
  • The good old days.
    – Izquierdo
    Jun 7 at 13:52
  • @PhillipW low friction is my favorite so far, thanks! It's the fewest words that communicates the idea best.
    – dthree
    Jun 7 at 16:04
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The phrase 'low barrier to entry' is a catch all that can mean different things in different context. I don't actually associate it specifically with accessibility because that's just one aspect. It could just as easily refer to the cost of the application (even if it is expensive you might still be able to make the purchase easily and get started straight away). You can also avoid signing up by using an existing account (e.g. SSO platform or service), so there are nuances to what you are trying to describe that you need to be careful not to misinform the user.

So what you describe is a combination of different characteristics of a software application, so using a single term might be tricky. I would instead use a series of short words to describe what the actual features are. So it might be a "FREE" "Online" "Tool" that requires no "accounts" and you can use "straight away".

But I would definitely like to see more people working on applications like this. It would be great to have an "100% Accessible" app that ticks all the boxes for making software simple and easy to use for everyone!

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You should rent some term from the marketing department. "Click and use", or "use free online", "free online doer"

I would choose a specific verb instead of "use" or "do", but you did not specify what is this website useful for.

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  • +1 I wish I thought of click and use :D
    – Michael Lai
    Jun 8 at 3:08
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I would opt for "accessible" or maybe even "approachable", but "accessible" is in my opinion still the better word as it is one of the fundaments of good UX: When something is "accessible" it is also "approachable" and maybe even "attractive". Accessibility is as much about applying a color-blind modus as removing any restrictions to use it (e.g. the need to sign-up).

From a marketing perspective it can also be a good idea: Saying that it is "easily accessible/approachable for everyone" uses more positive wording than "a low barrier to entry" which states that there is still a barrier.

EDIT: If you still have doubts using the word "accessible", "open" is a good alternative: Open and access(ible) are generally interchangeable: "It's an open/accessible online tool for everyone".

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