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Re: Testing web page accessibility by phone

From: Nick Kew <nick@webthing.com>
Date: Wed, 29 May 2002 18:28:56 +0100 (BST)
To: phoenixl <phoenixl@sonic.net>
cc: <poehlman1@comcast.net>, <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Message-ID: <20020529181027.D796-100000@fenris.webthing.com>

On Tue, 28 May 2002, phoenixl wrote:

>     1.  What is the purpose of the web page being presented?
>     2.  How do you know you are correctly interpreting the purpose of
>         the web page?
>     3.  How long did it take you to correctly understand the purpose
>         of the web page?
>     4.  What on the web page is confusing to you?
>     5.  What on the web page did you use incorrectly?

This is an aspect of a wider problem in usability studies (including
accessibility testing): are you observing the right thing?

We all know that automated check such as Page Valet is useful, but is
just one tool for getting it right.

Exactly the same applies to a survey in which disabled (eg blind) people
are asked to assess a page.  Although this superficially represents a
"live" test case, it does not observe the subjects working in a "natural"
manner, looking for information or making transactions they genuinely
want.  Instead, they have been put in an artificial situation, and are
working to someone elses expectations rather than their own.

A more realistic study would observe the everyday net usage of subjects.
If I were allowed to propose an experiment, I would track the browsing
of my subjects (with their permission, of course) over an extended period,
by collecting data at a proxy.  The only "extra" permitted would be a
standardised one-click function offering the opportunity to comment
on whether they were subjectively experiencing difficulties.

If I may end with the customary plug, I have the technology infrastructure
for that study ready and waiting.

Nick Kew
Received on Wednesday, 29 May 2002 13:29:36 UTC

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