Accessibility is the measure of how many differently skilled/abled types of people (including individuals with disabilities) in varying locations (e.g. mobile web) can make use of a given product. There exist many, very thorough, guidelines for determining the degree to which a product adheres to accepted accessibility standards. However, many can be very complex and time-consuming, also requiring the study of a good deal of the underlying code — much of which goes against the goals of the ‘quick’ part of Quick-UX.
Quick-UX provides for the rapid, simple and quantifiable assessment of a product’s User Experience (UX). In answering the question of Usability, "Should I use it?" the sub-category of Accessibility represents one of the more complex components.
Greater Accessibility provides greater benefits to people both with and without disabilities, from equal opportunity to facilitating perception and navigation.
There are many factors that go into achieving Comprehensive Flexibility.
As there are many factors, there are also many techniques and frameworks for evaluating them:
Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG)
Accessible Rich Internet Applications (WAI-ARIA)
User Agent Accessibility Guidelines (UAAG)
Electronic and Information Technology Accessibility Standards (Section 508)
I use a robust (and free) proxy for quickly assessing a product’s Accessibility through the use of the Functional Accessibility Evaluator (FAE) link. The FAE’s resultant scores are averages which, in turn, are normalized to a range from zero to one to represent the value for Quick-UX‘s Accessibility variable.
For a long time I used a simple normalizing of a product’s Passes, as determined by FAE, to a 0 – 1.0 scale. Over time websites have been improving due to the increased usage of templated languages, development libraries, and the improving skillsets of web developers. As a result, I found the need to shift my scale to more readily capture the increased quality and more clearly highlight the differences between the calculated Accessibility values.
The new equation I have been using to raise this bar on website Accessibility follows:
- Take the average of all 5 categories of FAE determined Passes. The result is X, the normalized Pass score, and falls between 0.0 and 1.0.
- Shift and expand the scale. The result is Y.
- Y = 2X -1
- Finally, the Quick-UX Accessibility value, QUA, is bounded:
- QUA = Y for Y ≥ 0
- QUA = 0 for Y < 0
See the Quick-UX Worksheet for easy, automatic calculating of the QUA (and other Quick-UX variables).
Once quantified, a product falls into 1 of 5 levels that we will be exploring and discussing in the remainder of this series on Quick-UX Accessibility. They are:
|Comprehensive Accessibility||QUA > 0.8|
|Nearly Comprehensive Accessibility||QUA > 0.6|
|Moderate Accessibility||QUA > 0.4|
|Fair Accessibility||QUA > 0.2|
|Poor Accessibility||QUA ≤ 0.2|
For this discussion of Quick-UX Accessibility, I evaluated over 50 products and will be exploring a select subset in greater detail in the coming articles. The distribution of the evaluated products for this series can be seen in the following chart.
Quick & Usable
Over the next few weeks I will be exploring the ins-and-outs of a variety of products, and walking through real-world examples of the Quick-UX evaluation of Accessibility…
Comprehensive Accessibility [RoundHouse & FAE]
Nearly Comprehensive Accessibility [UseIt & Eboy]
Moderate Accessibility [Borders, Bloomberg & NY1]
Fair Accessibility [CNET & Drudge Report & NBC NY]
Poor Accessibility [GoodReads & Barnes and Noble]
Subscribe now (click here) to make sure you don’t miss any part of this series exploring the Usefulness and Credibility components of Quick-UX, the quick and easy method of generating quantifiable and comparable metrics representing the understanding of the overall User Experience of a product, as well as other insightful posts from The Product Guy.
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