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  4. Investigating the usability of web interfaces for people with learning disabilities




Investigating the usability of web interfaces for people with learning disabilities




12.30 pm to 2.15 pm. Seminar starts at 1pm

Much literature emanating from academia, learning disability organisations and government emphasises the need for social inclusion, informed choice and the active involvement in society of people with Learning Disabilities (LD). These aims require the availability of information – much of which is now in electronic form. Although the electronic medium may facilitate information access much relevant material is inaccessible to people with LD. Also, there is little empirical evidence regarding which accessibility measures actually aid website use, and some of it is conflicting.

Peter Williams will talk about his study consisting of usability testing with people with LD using accessible websites. The seminar will focus primarily on the first stage of the study which consisted of usability tests investigating different aspects of websites (‘menu’ lists, layout and navigation) and on different activities (interaction; information retrieval, expressing preferences). In stage two, various ‘accessible’ websites, incorporating layouts with different features to address the issues elicited in stage one, are being directly compared.

Various measures (preferences, task success etc.) are being analysed using conjoint analysis – a package previously principally used as a market research tool. This will both elicit which attributes of a site have the greatest impact on performance and also determine the optimum site design, taking into account combinations of all the attributes studied. The conjoint analysis methods will be outlined and sample web layouts shown.

Recent publications include:Williams P, Hanson-Baldauf D (2010) Testing a Web information portal for people with learning disabilities Journal of Research in Special Educational Needs 10(1) pp42-51

Williams P, Nicholas D (2006) Testing the usability of information technology applications with learners with special educational needs Journal of Research in Special Educational Needs 6(1) pp31-41

Williams P (2006) Developing methods to evaluate web usability with people with learning difficulties British Journal of Special Education 33(4) pp173-179

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When and where

12.00am - 12.00amTuesday 8th February 2011