Evaluation of Products for Accessibility:
The CUDA Lab at CSULB and Technical
Evaluation at the Campus Level
Fred Garcia and Shawn Bates
Center for Usability in Design and
Accessibility (CUDA)

Research and testing center on the CSU
Long Beach campus

Specialization in evaluating the usability and
accessibility of technology tools and products

Designing for accessibility is designing for
usability
Usability refers to the ease of using a
product
Usability is defined by a combination of several
components of the user experience





Learnability
Efficiency
Memorability
Errors
Satisfaction
Nielsen, J. Usability 101: Introduction to Usability, Jakob Nielsen’s Alertbox, 2003
(http://www.useit.com/alertbox/20030825.html)
Not focusing on the user results in bad
design
Bad usability examples
include many “obviously
bad” designs
Pictures and bad examples Copyright © Michael J. Darnell 1996-2006.
(http://www.baddesigns.com)
Poor label mapping is common among
bad usability designs
How can we fix this?
Pictures and bad examples Copyright © Michael J. Darnell 1996-2006.
(http://www.baddesigns.com)
Which is the best solution?
A.
B.
Move the labels next to
the port, or color code the
ports?
Pictures and bad examples Copyright © Michael J. Darnell 1996-2006.
(http://www.baddesigns.com)
Which is the best solution?
A.
B.
A. It doesn’t rely on
color alone
Pictures and bad examples Copyright © Michael J. Darnell 1996-2006.
(http://www.baddesigns.com)
Usability is evaluated by several
different methods
Define user tasks first, then…



Cognitive walkthrough
Heuristic and guideline evaluation
User test
User tasks must be defined before
evaluating usability

Interviews

Surveys

Task analysis
A. Cognitive walkthrough
An expert evaluator “walks through” the
subtasks compiled during the task analysis
B. Heuristic and guideline evaluation

Products are evaluated against heuristics and
domain specific guidelines


E.g., heuristic: Promote consistency and
standards
E.g., guideline: Place the site name and logo
on every page and make the logo a link to the
home page (except on the home page itself)
Nielsen’s guidelines for homepage
usability
Make the Site's Purpose Clear: Explain Who
You Are and What You Do
1.
2.
3.
Include a One-Sentence Tagline
Write a Window Title with Good Visibility in Search
Engines and Bookmark Lists
Group all Corporate Information in One Distinct
Area
Help Users Find What They Need
4.
5.
Emphasize the Site's Top High-Priority Tasks
Include a Search Input Box
Nielsen, J. Top Ten Guidelines for Homepage Usability, Jakob Nielsen’s Alertbox,
2002 (http://www.useit.com/alertbox/20020512.html)
Nielsen’s guidelines for homepage
usability (continued)
Reveal Site Content
6.
7.
8.
Show Examples of Real Site Content
Begin Link Names with the Most Important
Keyword
Offer Easy Access to Recent Homepage Features
Use Visual Design to Enhance, not Define,
Interaction Design
9.
10.
Don't Over-Format Critical Content, Such as
Navigation Areas
Use Meaningful Graphics
Nielsen, J. Top Ten Guidelines for Homepage Usability, Jakob Nielsen’s Alertbox,
2002 (http://www.useit.com/alertbox/20020512.html)
Which guidelines does this homepage
fail to follow?
C. User test

Testing by target user groups

“Think aloud”

Problems and successes are recorded
The user testing lab replicates the user
environment

User works alone

A facilitator and observers sit behind a oneway mirror

Participant reactions, comments, and
activities on the computer are recorded
Accessibility means providing equal
access for users with disabilities

Make sure users with disabilities can use any
resource or technology that users without
disabilities can use

Users with disabilities are also entitled to a
good user experience
All disabilities should be considered
when evaluating accessibility

Visual

Auditory

Motor

Cognitive
Usability and accessibility are closely
related

Non accessible products are not usable by at
least one group of users

Technical accessibility vs. usable
accessibility

Accessibility improves usability for everyone
Usability testing methods should apply
to accessibility testing
Determine main user tasks first, then…
A.
•
Cognitive walkthrough
Evaluators can use gloves, fuzzy
glasses, no mouse, etc.
B.
Heuristic and guideline/standard
evaluation
C.
User test
Often, only one method is used to
evaluate accessibility
Heuristic and guideline/standard evaluation

Section 508 standards

Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG)
Section 508 (1194.22) Web-based
intranet and internet information and
applications

E.g., (a) A text equivalent for every non-text
element shall be provided (e.g., via "alt",
"longdesc", or in element content)
This homepage is not accessible either
The homepage with graphics turned
off
CUDA is experienced evaluating
usability and accessibility

Clients include:




office of the chancellor
colleges and universities
government agencies
private industry
CUDA is developing methodologies to
test products used at CSUs

Procedures for conducting
accessibility/usability heuristic evaluations

Procedures for conducting user testing
CUDA is developing a set of
accessibility heuristics

Accessibility heuristics will combine Section
508 standards and guidelines from several
sources

Accessibility guidelines have already been
developed
CUDA will incorporate users with
disabilities into user testing

CUDA already conducts user testing

CUDA will begin conducting user testing that
involves users with disabilities

CUDA will share its procedures with CSUs
CUDA will make sure the accessibility
evaluation methodologies are usable

Training manuals

Testing
CUDA has already begun work for the
ATI
A.
Compiling resources
B.
Surveying current hardware and software of
computer labs on CSU campuses
C.
Developing prototype evaluation
methodologies
D.
Developing a prototype reporting form
A. Categories for accessibility
resources

Product Type:


E.g., Desktop and Portable Computers, WebBased Information and Applications
Evaluation Method:

E.g., Design Walkthrough, Heuristics,
Standards/Guidelines Review – Manual, User
Testing
A. Categories for accessibility
resources (continued)

Assistive Technology:


E.g., Alternative Input Devices, Braille
Embossers, Keyboard Filters, Screen Readers
Resource Purpose:

E.g., Design Techniques, Evaluation
Techniques/Methodology, Evaluation Tool,
Service Provider
B. Surveying current hardware and
software on CSU campuses

“Picture” of the system

Computer-product issues

Computer-assistive technology issues
C. Prototype evaluation methodology

Easy to use

Multi-step

Similar formats

Field tested
D. Prototype reporting form

Easy to use

Similar formats

Field tested
Usable accessibility is the ultimate
goal

Don’t just meet the letter of the law

Do what can be done to make products
usable and accessible for as many people as
possible

As hard as we try, products may never be
100% usable or accessible for everyone
http://www.csulb.edu/centers/cuda
[email protected]
[email protected]
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Evaluation of Products for Accessibility