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Week 11: Activity 24.4: Evaluating online learning

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Edited by Lynn Hunt, Saturday, 13 Nov 2010, 20:02

Week 11: Activity 24.4: Evaluating online learning

Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) guidance

Preliminary review of websites for accessibility: http://www.w3.org/WAI/eval/preliminary.html

Select a representative page sample

From the Web site to be reviewed, select a representative sampling of pages that match the following criteria:

Note: there are special considerations for web sites with database driven dynamically generated web content.

Examine pages using graphical browsers

Use a graphical user interface (GUI) browser (such as Firefox, Internet Explorer, Netscape Navigator, Opera, Safari, or others) and examine the selection of pages while adjusting some settings in your browser or operating system as follows (some of these manual checks may require additional software):
Some pages do not display correctly or at all on Mac browsers

  • Turn off images, and check whether appropriate alternative text for the images is available.
    Alt text on home page of KLE but not updated - Image contains text saying 'Keele Learning Environment' alt text still says 'Blackboard Learning systems logo'
    No alt text on images on home page which results in it being unusable as many of the text instructions are in image format
    Format changes with images removed from some pages and words printed on top of others.

1. Turn off the sound, and check whether audio content is still available through text equivalents.
Transcripts available for video but no captions - a deaf person could not watch the video at the same time as reading the transcript as it is written underneath.

2. Use browser controls to vary font-size: verify that the font size changes on the screen accordingly; and that the page is still usable at larger font sizes.
Yes fine

3. Test with different screen resolution, and/or by resizing the application window to less than maximum, to verify that horizontal scrolling is not required (caution: test with different browsers, or examine code for absolute sizing, to ensure that it is a content problem not a browser problem).
yes, fine

4. Change the display color to gray scale (or print out page in gray scale or black and white) and observe whether the color contrast is adequate.
yes, fine

5. Without using the mouse, use the keyboard to navigate through the links and form controls on a page (for example, using the "Tab" key), making sure that you can access all links and form controls, and that the links clearly indicate what they lead to.
Some of the links are also images and no alt text to describe where they go
Some are labelled but with names that make no sense to general user

Examine pages using specialized browsers

Use a voice browser (such as Home Page Reader) or a text browser (such as Lynx) and examine the selection of pages while answering these questions:

1. Is equivalent information available through the voice or text browser as is available through the GUI browser?
Not always e.g. no directions available - just map

2. Is the information presented in a meaningful order if read serially?
Not always - headers used in various orders e.g. H3 before H1

Use automated Web accessibility evaluation tools

Use at least two automated Web accessibility evaluation tools to analyze the selection of pages and note any problems indicated by the tools. Note: these tools will only check the accessibility aspects that can be tested automatically, the results from these tools should not be used to determine a conformance level without further manual testing.

I had intended to use two of the automated tools mentioned in Seale: Bobby and APrompt. IBM has taken over Watchfire and no longer provides a free version of Bobby, it is part of IBM's Rational Policy Tester Accessibility Edition. APrompt was discontinued in 2007 and a new version, Achecker is now available. I used this and also the  WebAIM tool: WAVE.

As the KLE requires a log-in, I was only able to test the log in page which was reported to have no errors using WAVE (Web accessibility evaluation tool) from WebAIM http://wave.webaim.org/

I continued to check the website pages I had manually checked. The Geoscience intro page had 3 errors in images and headers and the second page also contains 3 errors in heading order and empty headings

I thought that it was quite difficult to identify the errors as they are marked on the page and I had to go through each one to detect where the problem was located. I would then have had to go through the code to find the section to correct.

The second automated test I used was Achecker (formerly A prompt which was discontinued in 2007) which uses WCAG2.0 (level AA) guidelines. http://achecker.ca/checker/index.php

This tool not only provided much more information but did so in list format with the section of HTML highlighted. This was moving towards a conformance evaluation rather than a simple accessibility check.

For the KLE log in page which has very little content, it detected 3 known problems which WAVE had not detected. It also identified 9 likely problems in link text and 87 potential problems.

For the first Keele page, it brought up 4 known problems(the same as WAVE), 56 likely problems (most of which I had detected on the manual test) and 152 potential problems (many of which I had detected manually and others which proved to be a problem when I rechecked)

For the second Keele page, it brought up 3 known problems (the same as WAVE) but also highlighted 42 lightly problems that I had noticed in my manual check and 120 potential problems, some of which I had noticed in my manual check and most of which were problems when I checked them.


Summarize obtained results

Summarize results obtained from previous four tasks:

1. Summarize the types of problems encountered, as well as positive aspects that should be continued or expanded on the site.

2. Indicate the method by which problems were identified, and clearly state that this was not a full conformance evaluation.

3. Recommend follow-up steps, including full conformance evaluation which includes validation of markup and other tests, and ways to address any problems identified.


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