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Re: Out of bounds?

From: <pjenkins@us.ibm.com>
Date: Thu, 15 Jun 2000 18:02:30 -0400
To: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
Message-ID: <852568FF.0079146C.00@d54mta03.raleigh.ibm.com>

William I am with you when you say:
if usability/universal design considerations are about things that
make a site impossible/difficult to use *regardless of whether this is
true for everybody or just PWDs* it is a priority1/priority2 issue.

for it is a priority issue when a website is impossible/difficult to use.
It has been my experience, since the first usability test I ran on the PC,
way back in 1981, that there are no accepted definitions of "impossible"
usability design.  Sure there are ISO standards for usability and such.
There are even resources, working groups, conferences, etc. on usability
and Human Factors that clearly out number any of the resources about
accessibility and rival the resources about the Web and the Internet.  But
most of them are more "rule of thumb", or levels of usability.  For
example, we can measure if a task is easier for this audience to do with
these tools as compared with a similar audience with those tools.  And they
measure things like time to completion, satisfaction of the user, number of
steps to complete the task, etc.  There were (probably still are) movements
around to get "usability ratings" on products - including things like, did
this product [or web site] even/ever conduct a usability design
evaluations, user tests, beta test, etc.

So why do you think we - the WAI working groups - can or should do the
Usability/Human Factors community's job of defining usability

I believe that part of the "hard to use" problems lie in the difficulty in
the user interface of the assistive technologies.  How well one knows how
to use Home Page Reader, for example, greatly affects the surfing
experience of jumping, skipping, and searching around a web site.  How easy
it is to learn the interface of Majic, the magnifier for example, is
another consideration.  Remember the "dueling screen reader" shoot outs at
CSUN a few years back... Then there is the familiarity with the web site
itself.  Now that I know how Yahoo works, I can get around rather quickly -
even using HPR.  Then there are those sites that take seven screens of
advertising to get through to get to the final confirmation of the purchase
- in many of those cases we have a choice - go to another easier site.  So
we end up at those few critical sites - maybe a voting on-line site, that
has to be both usable and accessible.  Perhaps regulations should point to
the best usability guidelines out there as well as the best accessibility
guidelines.  I'll even vote for mandating that the usability practitioners
include persons and technology for disabilities in their work.  But I do
not think we have the bandwidth to address the "usability and human
factors" in our accessibly bounds.  Besides, this needs to be a charter
discussion - to put it in W3C terminology.

Phill Jenkins
Received on Thursday, 15 June 2000 18:05:23 UTC

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