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Re: Testing web page accessibility by phone

From: phoenixl <phoenixl@sonic.net>
Date: Wed, 29 May 2002 20:07:55 -0700
Message-Id: <200205300307.g4U37tKR009583@newbolt.sonic.net>
To: nick@webthing.com, phoenixl@sonic.net
Cc: poehlman1@comcast.net, w3c-wai-ig@w3.org

Hi, Nick

I'm not quite sure that the methodology you are describing is actually
addressing the desired task.  The web pages are being developed for a
particular purpose and the goal is to test them for problems.

For example, if a web site is selling a new type of device, subjects may not
be that interested in actually purchasing the device.  If the web site
waits till there are "natural" customers to find problems, the problems
might be so great as to drive the "natural" customers away.  I might be
misunderstanding, but I'm not sure how your proposed methodology handles
this testing task.


> 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 23:08:33 UTC

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