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User testing is not a luxury

Wheeler, P and Kreps, DG 2008, 'User testing is not a luxury' , Electronic Markets, 18 (4) , pp. 324-332.

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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.

      Item Type: Article
      Themes: Media, Digital Technology and the Creative Economy
      Schools: Colleges and Schools > College of Business & Law > Salford Business School > Centre for Digital Business
      Journal or Publication Title: Electronic Markets
      Publisher: Taylor & Francis
      Refereed: Yes
      ISSN: 1019-6781
      Depositing User: DGP Kreps
      Date Deposited: 24 Oct 2011 15:06
      Last Modified: 20 Aug 2013 18:15
      URI: http://usir.salford.ac.uk/id/eprint/18607

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