Using an essentiality & proficiency approach to improve the web browsing experience of visually impaired users
2010-08-17T10:46:35Z (GMT) by
Increased volumes of content exacerbate the Web accessibility issues faced by people with visual impairments. Essentiality & Proficiency is presented as one method of easing access to information in Websites by addressing the volume of content coupled with how it is presented. This research develops the concept of Essentiality for Web authors. A preliminary survey was conducted to understand the accessibility issues faced by people with visual impairments. Structured interviews were conducted with twelve participants and a further 26 participants responded to online questionnaires. In total there were 38 participants (both sexes), aged 18 to 54 years. 68% had visual impairments, three had motor issues, one had a hearing impairment and two had cognitive impairments. The findings show that the overload of information on a page was the most prominent difficulty experienced when using the Web. The findings from the preliminary survey fed into an empirical study. Four participants aged 21 to 54 years (both sexes) from the preliminary survey were presented with a technology demonstrator to check the feasibility of Essentiality & Proficiency in the real environment. It was found that participants were able to identify and appreciate the reduced volume of information. This initiated the iterative development of the prototype tool. Microformatting is used in the development of the Essentiality & Proficiency prototype tool to allow the reformulated Web pages to remain standards compliant. There is a formative evaluation of the prototype tool using an experimental design methodology. A convenience sample of nine participants (both sexes) with a range of visual impairments, aged 18 to 52 performed tasks on a computer under three essentiality conditions. With an alpha level .05, the evaluation of the Essentiality & Proficiency tool has been shown to offer some improvement in accessing information.