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Beyond Specifications: Towards a Practical Methodology for Evaluating Web Accessibility

Panayiotis Koutsabasis, Evangelos Vlachogiannis, and Jenny S. Darzentas

Journal of Usability Studies, Volume 5, Issue 4, August 2010, pp. 157 - 171

Article Contents


A Simple Example of the Web Accessibility Evaluation Process

This section presents a simple example of the web accessibility evaluation process in order to illustrate the degree to which contemporary web sites are accessible and to bring to light typical accessibility problems. These accessibility problems are of concern to both users and designers. Web site designers are concerned with providing consistent content and services to all potential users regardless of access to technology that includes any type of browser and any kind of assistive device.

We elected to run the example of web accessibility evaluation for web sites in the domain of scientific e-publishing. This domain is one of the first that emerged with the advent of the web, and it is of particular interest for a number of reasons. First, scientific e-publishing web sites are quite mature in their development, making use of state of the art web technologies to support a wide range of services from search and browsing to alerting users for electronic subscriptions and payments. Secondly, they are used by a wide range of users with respect to age, language, culture, skills, and level of technical infrastructure, typically including academic staff, researchers, and students who are located all over the world. Furthermore, accessibility is very much an issue for e-publishing because it is likely that many of the users are disabled because studying online is a viable alternative to traditional education for those with a disability who cannot access bricks-and-mortar educational institutions. We present the accessibility evaluation of the following scientific e-publishing web sites (listed alphabetically):

The presentation of results below is made in random order because it is not an aim of this example to expose problems of specific web sites, but to illustrate the wider picture.

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