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'Accessibility Beyond the Guidelines' Breakfast at User Vision by Mark Palmer, 15 June 2009
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'Accessibility Beyond the Guidelines ' Breakfast at User Vision by Mark Palmer, 15 June 2009

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The very successful event - Breakfast at User Vision meeting took place on 15th June 2009 at User Vision office in Edinburgh. Our speaker, Mark Palmer - a passionate advocate for accessibility and web …

The very successful event - Breakfast at User Vision meeting took place on 15th June 2009 at User Vision office in Edinburgh. Our speaker, Mark Palmer - a passionate advocate for accessibility and web standards, gave a talk on the benefits of testing with disabled users. He covered:

* Recruiting for disabled testing
* Challenging our understanding of what is really accessible
* Unusable accessibility
* Issues not fully identified by the WCAG Guidelines
* Usability and Accessibility in conflict

For more info please visit our website: www.uservision.co.uk

Published in: Design, Technology

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  • Morning Present our paper to share some of the issues that we have learned through testing with disabled users
  • Transcript

    • 1. User Vision Breakfast Briefing 15 th June 2009 Accessibility Beyond the Guidelines Lessons from testing with disabled users Mark Palmer
    • 2. Who we are
      • Leading user experience consultancy
      • Offices in Edinburgh & London
      • Our services
        • Usability testing
        • Eye tracking
        • Testing with disabled users
        • Expert evaluations
        • Accessibility reviews
        • Focus groups
        • Usability and accessibility training
      • Clients: DTI, Economist.com, Houses of Parliament, Emirates Airline, RBS, ACAS & many more
    • 3. The WCAG – Positives
      • The recognised ‘standard’ for web acessibility
      • Has raised awareness of accessibility
      • Defines solutions and recommendations
      • Widely accepted benchmark of compliance level
    • 4. The WCAG – Negatives
      • Can’t account for how users adapt to accessibility problems
        • Unconventional methods
        • Use of assistive technologies not designed for their particular disability
        • Use of other technology (non-assistive)
      • Can’t account for all circumstances
      • DRC study showed about half of all issues encountered not directly attributable to the WCAG
      • Can encourage a focus on automated testing rather than empirical evidence
    • 5. Why test with disabled users?
      • Disabled users encounter more issues than able-bodied users
      • We make (often incorrect) assumptions about potential accessibility issues
      • The technically accessible may be unusable for disabled users
      • Helps us understand the relevance of any accessibility features we implement
    • 6. Recruiting disabled users
      • Can be difficult
        • Participants may have logistical difficulties
        • Many charities will not provide lists of users to contact
      • Blind users seem more willing to participate
      • Difficult groups to recruit
        • Learning difficulties
        • Cognitively impaired
        • Aspergers and Autism particularly tough
        • Physically disabled users using specific technologies
    • 7. Recruiting disabled users (2)
      • Requirement to provide more background info re tasks to disabled users
      • Establish database of disabled users
        • Referrals are a good means of growing the database
        • Colleges and Universities can often be a good source of dyslexic participants
    • 8. Findings from testing with disabled users
      • Unusable accessibility
        • Over elaborate, unnecessary or detailed alt text
        • Access keys conflicting with assistive or other software
        • Accessibility statement not focused on disabled users
      • Issues not fully identified by WCAG
        • Inconsistency in terminology used
        • Relating to visual position of screen
        • Pop up window size and placement
        • Recursive links
      • Usability & accessibility in conflict?
        • Initial field focus on forms
        • Auto-tabbing multiple fields
        • Auto-triggering dropdowns
    • 9. Findings from testing with disabled users (2) Blind user: The home page is good but there are not enough images on the page for me. Blind user: We always miss TV programmes through not being able to read the paper so TV online is perfect for us. Dyslexic user: I just copy and past everything into Word. That makes it a lot easier to read.
    • 10. Usability and accessibility
      • Usability and accessibility are not 2 separate disciplines. Often it is thought
        • Accessibility is for disabled people. Its about meeting the WCAG technical guidelines, staying legal
        • Usability is for non disabled people, and is improving conversion rates, findability etc
      • Disabled users still encounter usability issues but also a layer of accessibility on top
    • 11. Alternative text
      • Over elaborate alternative text
      • Unnecessary alternative text
      • Inappropriate alternative text
      • Pages without any descriptive alternative text
    • 12. Technical accessibility statement
      • ‘ Technical’ information that does not benefit the user
    • 13. Inconsistency in terms used
      • Log in – Sign In
      • Contact us – Talk to Us – Get in touch
    • 14. Visual relationships
      • Directions meaningless in linearised or non visual context
    • 15. Restricting window sizes
      • Screen magnification users find it difficult to distinguish the edge of windows
    • 16. Recursive Links Clicking on ‘Teacher Training’ link takes us to this page If selected again it just refreshes the page
    • 17. Auto tabbing Sort code Sort code 56 42 56 42
    • 18. Customisations
      • Customisations are commonly used across the web
      • Many disabled users do not use these:-
        • Lack of awareness
        • Too much effort
        • Not suited to their particular circumstances
        • Users often do not like to use customisation (e.g. in the workplace) as they feel it draws attention to their disability.
    • 19. Other Observations
      • Some blind users like graphics
      • External customisations seem still to be more popular than site or browser based customisations
        • Coloured screen filters
        • Coloured lenses
        • Adjusting monitor settings
      • Many users unaware of assistive technology
      • Users ‘struggle through’
    • 20. Conclusions
      • WCAG is still the reference for web accessibility
      • It cannot cover all circumstances
      • Do include disabled users in the testing of your site
      • Ensure you test with relevant disability groups
      • Never fail to be surprised by what you learn
    • 21. Thank You
      • User Vision
      • 55 North Castle Street
      • Edinburgh
      • EH2 3QA
      • Tel: 0131 225 0859
      • Email: [email_address]
      • Web: www.uservision.co.uk