Re: some reflections on @alt usage

On Thu, 21 Aug 2008, Joshue O Connor wrote:
> Ian Hickson wrote:
> > Joshue has provided extremely useful usability studies that we have 
> > used to help guide the design of HTML5. However, with all due respect 
> > to Joshue, sometimes even his opinions contradict the evidence he 
> > provides.
> I am a bundle of contradictions :-)
> Seriously however I know exactly what piece of contradictory option vs 
> evidence Ian is referring to. It was in a user test about @summary where 
> a power screen reader user mentioned that he would not find @summary 
> particularly useful as he knows how to use more advanced table 
> interrogation techniques using his screen reader. Whereas he would admit 
> (then and now) that it would be useful to other users. Thats it. Apart 
> from that I have managed to be fairly consistent (no mean feat).

Indeed; I didn't mean it in any way as a slight towards you, merely a 
reminder that we have to base our decisions on the actual results of 
research rather than our opinions.

> > That is why it is more important to base our decisions on actual 
> > objective research. (I say this without meaning any ill will to Joshue 
> > at all, I am very thankful for all the research he has done for us so 
> > far.)
> Thank you. I am really glad you found the video footage useful. I would 
> suggest that if you need me to provide user test footage etc in a 
> particular form or way, please let me know and I promise to keep 
> editorialising to a minimum.


It would be quite useful to see how poorly-sighted users, especially those 
who aren't necessarily computer experts like us interact with pages that 
are primarily intended to be about an image or another, for example 
viewing albums and uploading photos to Flickr, Picasa, etc. I wouldn't 
presume to request such studies, but if you are interested in doing other 
usability studies, this is something that has the potential to be quite 

One way to do it that would avoid interviewer bias (a very common problem 
in usability studies, as I understand it) would be to just provide the 
user with a list of tasks ("your friend has sent you this link to his 
recent trip's photos; where did he go and what did he do? You have a 
camera with a bunch of photos you took on a recent trip, can you upload 
them to the image site? Which site would you normally use to do this?"), 
with the interviewer merely asking the candidate to explain what they're 
doing as they're doing it, without asking for opinions on the underlying 
technology but just getting the user to talk about their experience and 
the reasons behind their actions.

Ian Hickson               U+1047E                )\._.,--....,'``.    fL       U+263A                /,   _.. \   _\  ;`._ ,.
Things that are impossible just take longer.   `._.-(,_..'--(,_..'`-.;.'

Received on Thursday, 21 August 2008 08:37:55 UTC