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Re: Results of evaluation

From: Charles McCathieNevile <charles@w3.org>
Date: Sun, 14 Mar 1999 17:28:42 -0500 (EST)
To: Chetz Colwell <c.g.colwell@herts.ac.uk>
cc: w3c-wai-gl@w3.org
Message-ID: <Pine.LNX.4.04.9903141711230.13600-100000@tux.w3.org>
While the results have produced many valuable observations, I am inclined
to temper my acceptance of the comments about the organisation and layout
of the document with the knowledge that only about one hour was spent
reading it. In my view this is too brief a reading for most people.

If an author has developed their skills with the assumption that creating
an accessible page is simply on of the technical requirements, then a
quick look over the checklist will make much of what is contained seem
redundant, although I would expect that some of the interim solutions in
particular (such as the problems screeen readers have with tables, or the
problem that mainstream browsers don't have a sensible model for
non-graphic rendering of imagemaps) would be news.

If on the other hand they have learned a number of presentational tricks,
and managedto use those to create pages which look about right on
SomeBrowser 3.4.5 then I suspect they will need to unlearn a fair bit of
what they know and relearn it. This is too complex a problem for many
people to solve in 3 hours, particularly people without a good
understanding of abstract structures. The fact that there are not readily
available authoring tools which support accessibility (HotMetal 5, from
softquad is currently the best by a significant margin, to my very
incomplete knowledge) does not help the situation.

(Why only one person from humanities? We're not really techno-illiterates
and Luddites - Anglo-Saxon language discussion and (pre-WWW)  
net-publishing was an established activity when I was introduced to it in

Charles McCN

On Sat, 13 Mar 1999, Chetz Colwell wrote:

  This is the first of 8 messages reporting the results of the first stage of
  our evaluation of the Guidelines with page authors who adapted web pages
  according to the Guidelines. The second stage is about to begin in which
  blind people will be asked to evaluate the pages created in the first
  Below is some background information on the participants and the task they
  performed.  We will start new threads to report our findings regarding the
  following aspects: navigation, examples, priorities, audience, and other
  general comments.
  Background information:
  >From both observations of participants and participants' opinions, this
  study has identified several aspects of the Guidelines in which
  improvements could be made.
  This first part of the study involved 12 participants who all had
  experience of creating web pages.  They were all university students,
  except one who was a school pupil.  The students were from a range of
  disciplines: 6 from Computer Science; 3 from Psychology; 1 from Humanities;
  and 1 from Engineering.  The average age was 23 (range of 14 - 35).
  The participants' experience of creating web pages ranged from a few
  personal pages to large personal sites, or having been employed to create
  larger sites for organisations.  The number of pages they had previously
  created ranged from 4 to over 100, with an average of 37.
  The tasks were distributed as follows: 6 worked with tables-plus-images, 2
  with forms, 2 with frames, and 2 with imagemaps.
  The average time spent on the whole task, including reading the Guidelines
  in advance, was just over 3 hours.  The average time spent reading was just
  over 1 hour, and the average time spent performing the adaptation task was
  just under 2 hours.
  We look forward to hearing your comments on the issues that will be posted
  in new threads.
  Chetz and Helen.
  Chetz Colwell and Helen Petrie,
  <c.g.colwell@herts.ac.uk>, <h.l.petrie@herts.ac.uk>.
  Sensory Disabilities Research Unit,
  University of Hertfordshire,
  Tel: +44 1707 284629
  Fax: +44 1707 285059

--Charles McCathieNevile            mailto:charles@w3.org
phone: +1 617 258 0992   http://www.w3.org/People/Charles
W3C Web Accessibility Initiative    http://www.w3.org/WAI
MIT/LCS  -  545 Technology sq., Cambridge MA, 02139,  USA
Received on Sunday, 14 March 1999 17:28:46 UTC

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