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RE: suggested change: "Usability testing for accessibility"

From: Chuck Letourneau <cpl@starlingweb.com>
Date: Mon, 17 Jun 2002 11:13:46 -0400
Message-Id: <>
To: w3c-wai-eo@w3.org
Thanks to Alan Chuter and Shawn Lawton Henry for their discussion on this 
topic.  (See thread).  In spite of that, your editor is having some 
difficulty in working out the fine distinctions being suggested and would 
appreciate some help. Any chance the the working group could review this 
thread and reach a consensus on the wording?  I have assembled the thread 
here for ease of reference:

>From: Chuck Letourneau
>Date: Thu, 13 Jun 2002 16:03:56 -0400
>Changed "usability testing" to "user testing of accessibility features" at
>[http://www.starlingweb.com/wai/eval2.htm#clj ].
>Also changed heading for section 3.4 from "Usability evaluation" to "User
>testing of accessibility features" at
>[http://www.starlingweb.com/wai/eval2.htm#clk ]

>From: "Alan Chuter"
>Date: Fri, 14 Jun 2002 10:10:28 +0200
>"usability testing" and "user testing of accessibility features"
>are different. Maybe "accessibility testing by users" is more precise. The
>term "accessibility features" gives me this impression that only specific
>features concerned with accessibility are tested, which is very different to
>usability testing.

>From: "Shawn Lawton Henry"
>Date: Fri, 14 Jun 2002 09:55
>I second Alan's concern with "user testing of accessibility features"
>First issue: many people use the term "user testing" to mean "usability
>testing". So there is really no distinction between the two for most people.
>And I feel very strongly that "usability testing" is a much better term than
>"user testing". (Which I can elaborate on if necessary.)
>Second issue: limiting it to "accessibility features" could be interpreted
>as just testing a specific accessibility feature (e.g., when I change font
>size in browser, thee fonts change on the page) versus the usability of the
>entire page under "accessibility conditions" (e.g., that large fonts don't
>cause unnecessary horizontal scrolling).
>So, the question is: What was the intention behind the change? Was it only
>to specify usability testing for accessibility issues, versus general
>usability testing? Was it to clarify that we mean usability testing under
>accessibility conditions (e.g., with person who is blind and uses a ascreen
>reader, etc.)?
>OK, now I'm suppose to suggest wording to provide a concrete "strawman" for
>discussion - so here goes:
>location: 3. 4. title
>working draft 13 June: "User testing of accessibility features"
>suggested change: "Usability testing for accessibility"
>location: first sentence in 3. Conformance...
>working draft 13 June: "A comprehensive evaluation combines semi-automatic,
>manual, and user testing of accessibility features."
>suggested change: "A comprehensive evaluation combines semi-automatic,
>manual, and usability testing."
>location: 4. ... Ongoing monitoring, NOTE at end of section
>working draft 13 June: "Steps like repeated user testing may only be
>required after major template or content changes."
>suggested change: "Steps like repeated usability testing may only be
>required after major template or content changes."

>From: "Alan Chuter"
>Date: Fri, 17 Jun 2002 03:47 AM
>I agree that we should drop 'features'. It indicates testing 'things' rather
>than characteristics of the whole page. Accessibility 'issues' or 'aspects'
>might be better.
>I like the phrase 'usability testing under accessibility conditions', it
>captures the idea exactly, in a way that just 'usability testing' doesn't.
>It needs to be clear that this is ultimately about sitting a real person in
>front of the terminal.
Received on Monday, 17 June 2002 11:19:50 UTC

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