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How competent must people be to use the Web?

From: Morten Tollefsen <morten@medialt.no>
Date: Wed, 28 Oct 2009 10:30:07 +0100
Message-ID: <EDA91A2F291B104FA26F01B9300235E43A4269@mlt-server-01.medialt.local>
To: <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>

We have a small Norwegian pre project, and I hope it's OK to send info. to this list. Please do not hesitate to forward the message or contact me.

Experience and testing are necessary to create user-friendly Web sites. WCAG is a set of guidelines to ensure that the Web can also be used by the disabled. User competence is however required - even when sites are accessible and usable. MediaLT would like to define user competence, and we are very interested
to hear from others working on similar approaches to this challenge.

MediaLT has been working with user testing of Web sites for a number of years. Despite focus on Universal Design when Web sites are created, in our experience many users struggle to use these Web sites. To give good advice during the development process and evaluation of existing sites, we need to define necessary
user skills. This is also desirable in other research projects where a more precise definition of competency requirements would be useful for the implementation of user testing and / or participatory design. With the support of several Norwegian research and user organizations we have started a pilot project with the following main objective:

To define necessary user competence to use WCAG 2.0 Web sites and to develop a framework for training and testing required skills.

There are various certification schemes and competency requirements for mastery of the PC. The most well known in Europe is the E/ICDL (European/International computer driving license) Such a standard is good, but does not entirely define the necessary competency requirements for all users. The EDCL includes requirements which are not
a prerequisite for using the Web in an appropriate manner. For example in the curriculum (version 4.0): " Define and understand the terms: HTTP, URL, hyperlink, ISP, FTP." It is of course useful to understand these concepts, but they are not a prerequisite for using the Web. On the other hand, some
groups of users must master functionality that is not described in a standard curriculum. Blind users must for example be familiar with how the screen reader can move between headings and display a link list.

Our intention is to offer training courses relating to the defined competency requirements. It will moreover be possible to arrange tests to ensure that users participating in the evaluation of Web sites have the necessary skills.

We do not aim to cover all assumptions and requirements in this pilot project. Two main groups have been selected: severely visually impaired users and those with cognitive disabilities.

Online article (more or less the same as this mail):

Project web pages (in English, but with some Norwegian words - sorry for this):

Best regards,

Morten Tollefsen
MediaLT: www.medialt.no
Phone: (+47) 21 53 80 10
Mobile: (+47) 908 99 305
Address: Jerikoveien 22, N-1067 Oslo, Norway
Twitter: www.twitter.com/mortentollefsen
MSN: mortentollefsen@hotmail.com
Received on Wednesday, 28 October 2009 09:30:41 UTC

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