User testing is not a luxury

Peter Wheeler, David Kreps

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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Abstract

Companies need to address Web Accessibility with more than just professional standards of code writing, and adherence to the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines. With funding from the European Social Fund a team at Salford University, led by the authors, undertook a research project in 2007 entitled Combating eDiscrimination in the North West. The research examined over 100 websites advertising job opportunities both regionally and nationally, and found the vast majority to be largely inaccessible. Professional standards, such as using valid W3C code and adhering to the W3C Web Content Accessibility Guidelines, were largely not followed. The project also conducted interviews with both public and private sector web professionals, and focus groups of disabled computer users, to draw a broader picture of the accessibility of jobs websites. Interviews with leading web development companies in the Greater Manchester region, showed that there is a view there should not be any additional cost in making websites accessible, as the expertise to create a site professionally should be in place from the start, and that accessibility will follow from applying professional standards. However, through the process of trying to create a website for the project, with such a company, it was found that following professional standards is not sufficient to catch all the potential problems, and that user testing is an essential adjunct to professional practice.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)324-332
JournalElectronic Markets
Volume18
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2008

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