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RE: Testing web page accessibility by phone - Usability

From: phoenixl <phoenixl@sonic.net>
Date: Wed, 29 May 2002 19:18:27 -0700
Message-Id: <200205300218.g4U2IRA5002192@newbolt.sonic.net>
To: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org


Dan is very correct on this.  It is hard even coming up with a good
definition of usability that most people would accept.  On a slide
I use when lecturing I compare usability to beauty in the quote
"I can't define 'beauty', but I know it when I see it." 


> I think there are many threads here that are overlapping and may have little
> to do with accessibility directly.  I had the opportunity to go the ACM
> Special Interest Group for Computer Human Interaction conference in
> Minneapolis in April, and most of the sessions there were pulling on more
> general parts of this set of questions.  They were talking about usability,
> of web pages, speech systems, wearable computers, of Open-source systems
> like Linux and Mozilla,  and not in terms of the blind or deaf or
> cognitively-limited, but in general terms, often with very intelligent,
> non-disabled individuals like the researchers themselves being the users.
> SIG CHI is largely an academic group, with corporate research groups,
> universities and the like, and the proceedings are peer-reviewed.  But, on
> the large topic of usability, all I could see was a lack of discipline.  It
> is an art form, making gurus out of Ben Schneiderman and Jakob Neilsen,
> because, in my opinion, the science is still being developed.  
> The one Interactive Poster titled "Usability Inspections by Groups of
> Specialists: Perceived Agreement in Spite of Disparate Observations" was
> very pertinent.  In this study, Hertzum, Jacobsen and Molich (all from
> Denmark) asked a group of usability specialists to evaluate a large web site
> for ordering rental cars.  The eleven professional usability specialists all
> looked at the same site, and were all given the same five user tasks to
> perform.  But, they found totally separate usability problems.  Of the 220
> unique problems, only a 9% overlap in problems found occurred between any
> two evaluators.  However, in a group discussion on the problems, the
> evaluators generally thought they were all in agreement about the problems
> in the web site. 
> To me this means that usability is still not a disciplined science and what
> is easy for one to use may not be easy of another.  No wonder we are having
> these discussions.
> Dan Nissen
Received on Wednesday, 29 May 2002 22:19:04 UTC

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