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Re: How competent must people be to use the Web?

From: Michael S Elledge <elledge@msu.edu>
Date: Tue, 03 Nov 2009 12:55:34 -0500
Message-ID: <4AF06E96.7090505@msu.edu>
To: morten@medialt.no
CC: David Woolley <forums@david-woolley.me.uk>, w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
Hi Morten--

It seems to me that the question isn't how competent your users are, but 
how usable (and accessible) a website is for them. If participants in 
user testing reflect your target audience, they will naturally have a 
representative set of skill levels. In most cases that will include 
novices as well as more expert users of adaptive technology. We collect 
information about how often people use the Internet, the AT they use, 
and (less often) how they would characterize their ability. Once testing 
is completed, it is fairly easy to characterize them as novices, 
intermediate or expert based on how much difficulty they have with a 
site or application and the techniques they use.

Perhaps I've missed your point, but I think the key is not to determine 
which level of competence is necessary for people to use websites built 
to WCAG 2.0 guidelines, but to identify which implementations of those 
guidelines work best for persons with disabilities.

Mike Elledge
Assistant Director
Usability & Accessibility Center
Michigan State University

David Woolley wrote:
> Morten Tollefsen wrote:
>> To define necessary user competence to use WCAG 2.0 Web sites and to
> * develop a framework for training and testing required skills.
> I don't see that this is a useful skill level, as it doesn't include 
> the skills in recognizing abstractions, like links, in the heavily 
> disguised forms in which they often occur in real world web sites.  In 
> my view, it is the need for many years of experience doing this, and a 
> lack of practice in using the constructs in easily recognizable forms, 
> that are the biggest blockers for elderly users.
> (For elderly learners, if you can't summarise the rules on a single 
> sheet of paper, the design is too complex.  I would venture to suggest 
> that, if the WCAG guidelines have been drafted properly, a conversion 
> course from basic use of Windows Notepad (including printing) to using 
> the WCAG 2.0 web sites should fit on one page, with a summary of about 
> one quarter of a page.)
>> 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
> From what I've seen of ECDL book in the book shops, ECDL aims rather 
> higher than passive use, and at how to write your own vanity web 
> pages. In the examples I saw, it was actually doing accessibility a 
> dis-service, as it was teaching people how to produce visual results 
> on IE, not how to produce proper HTML.
Received on Tuesday, 3 November 2009 17:56:13 UTC

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