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An in-depth study of the current state of web site accessibility Centre for Human Computer Interaction Design City University London Professor Helen Petrie. Project themes. Establish current accessibility problems What problems do people with disabilities actually encounter with the Web

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An in-depth study of the current state of web site accessibilityCentre for Human Computer Interaction DesignCity University LondonProfessor Helen Petrie
project themes
Project themes
  • Establish current accessibility problems
    • What problems do people with disabilities actually encounter with the Web
    • Are these different from usability problems encountered by all Web users?
    • Go beyond the concept of accessibility to “Accessibility for usability” [the Web must be usable by people with disabilities, not just accessible]
  • Establish the current accessibility of the Web
    • What is the current situation for people with disabilities in GB - we need some benchmarking

Establish what else needs to be done to make the Web a usable and useful resource for disabled people

      • Highlight problems with guidelines and automatic validation
      • Need to balance between inexpensive and expensive accessibility methods
      • Resources for developers
      • Innovative solutions for disabled web users
phase 1 initial consultations with stakeholders
Phase 1: Initial consultations with stakeholders
  • Workshops with different stakeholder groups interested and affected:
    • organizations of and for disabled people
    • web developers
    • businesses with web sites
    • Public sector organizations with web sites
phase 2 investigate current accessibility usability issues
Phase 2: Investigate current accessibility - usability issues
  • Establish User Panel of 50 disabled people - full range of relevant disabilities, age, gender, experience with technology and Internet, assistive technologies used
  • Identify accessibility/usability problems currently encountered
    • Focus groups, individual interviews
    • Video-recorded concurrent protocols of using the Web
    • Initial selection of 20 web sites:
      • Different sectors: governmental, business, eCommerce, entertainment
      • Range of technologies, design features
  • Develop concept of “Accessibility for Usability”
phase 3 automated testing of 1000 sites
Phase 3: Automated testing of 1000 sites
  • “How well do web sites conform to current accessibility guidelines?”
  • The broad brushstroke picture
  • Use and comparison of current automated programs (Bobby and LIFT) and automated processing and collation developed at City
  • Careful selection of representative sample of 1000 web sites across different content domains
phase 3 automated testing of 1000 sites1
Phase 3: Automated testing of 1000 sites
  • Outcomes:
  • Basic accessibility measures for 1000 web sites, excellent snapshot of the current basic state of web accessibility
  • Deeper understanding of the accuracy, limitations, and problems of automatic validation (particularly when taken in conjunction with Phase 4 results)
phase 4 user evaluations and expert inspections
Phase 4: User evaluations and expert inspections
  • “How well do sites conform to current
  • accessibility guidelines?”
  • The detailed picture
  • Detailed testing of 100 web sites, a representative selection from the 1000 sites tested at Phase 3
  • Combination of User evaluations and Expert inspections

careful development of representative tasks and protocols

range of disabled people, tasks, assistive technology

phase 4 user testing and inspections
Phase 4: User testing and inspections


  • In depth understanding of accessibility problems
  • Refinement of “accessibility for usability” concept
  • Comparison with automated tests - will highlight limitations, problems of automated testing
  • Recommendations for accessibility guidelines and automated testing
  • Feedback to WAI, other relevant organizations
phase 5 developing resources and best practice
Phase 5: Developing resources and best practice
  • (1) Further support for disabled
  • Web users:
  • Develop innovative
  • solutions to key problems
  • Recommendations for improving
  • ‘accessibility for usability’
  • Improvements to both code and user support
  • Trial testing of these solutions with target users
phase 5 developing resources and best practice1
Phase 5: Developing resources and best practice
  • (2) Review current resourceand develop example resources
  • Review current resources for web site developers
  • Make recommendations for appropriate resources
  • Produce some prototype example of such resources
  • Work with DRC to support web site developers more effectively
over to discussion
Over to discussion ...
  • We are happy to take any questions about the Formal Investigation
  • But interested particularly to here from this group:
  • What you think the barriers to web accessibility are
  • What solutions, resources are required for web developers that are currently lacking
Finally ...
  • Thank you very much for giving your time
  • this evening
  • [email protected]
  • Phone: 020 7040 8481