Research for software and Web developers
I am currently undertaking a research project at Brunel University, England, to evaluate the technological needs of deaf-blind users of technology, and the extent to which software developers and Web Site developers can serve their technological needs.
Computers, the Internet, and other technologies act as a gateway for deaf-blind people to the outside world. The potential exists to revolutionise the lives of deaf-blind people, providing new opportunities for learning, shopping, and communication. However, Web designers and software developers are creating products, which are inaccessible to the needs of this specialist user group, not out of deliberate inconsideration but out of a lack of awareness as to how best, and how easily, their needs can be met.
The purpose of this research is to discover the needs of deaf-blind users, to understand and evaluate the working practices of developers and their awareness of the needs of specialist user groups, such as the deaf-blind, with a view to creating simple guidelines, which designers can use to make their technologies accessible to the greatest possible volume of people. If you are a software developer or a Web designer, please could you spare a couple of minutes to fill out the questionnaire below and return it to [log in to unmask] In return for your time, you will receive a complete report upon completion of the project, detailing how your responses are serving to increase awareness in the design community.
Most of the questions only require a "Yes" or "No" response and you can enter your responses in the body of this e-mail, then press "CTRL A" to highlight all the text and then select "Reply" in your E-mail package and send it to the e-mail address above. Thank you kindly for your time, and please feel free to make any comments you wish to make.
Peter George McGavock
Department of Information Systems and Computing
Tel. 01895 238 446
General Design Questions
After you have designed and released your product, how much feedback do you receive from your users about your design? (Please choose one option from the following four alternatives).
No feedback at all
Do you follow any development methodologies during the life of your design work? (Yes or No). If you answer "No" to this question please go to question four.
Please list the main methodologies you use for guidance.
Do you include your target users in your development process? (Yes or No).
Do you adopt any of the following standards guidelines during the development of your products? (Please write "Yes" for all that apply).
Cascading Style Sheet (CCS) 2.0
Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 1.0
Authoring Tools Accessibility Guidelines 1.0
Sun Microsystems Accessibility Reference Guidelines
IBM's Hardware Accessibility Guidelines
IBM's Software Accessibility Guidelines
Microsoft's Software Accessibility Guidelines
The "Three-Click Rule" which states that all information should be accessible in no more than three clicks.
How many of the nine standards guidelines listed above have you been made aware of?
Do you test your products for accessibility for any of the following specialist user groups? (Please write "Yes" for all that apply).
The visually impaired
The auditory impaired
The physically impaired
The cognitive or linguistically impaired
The multiply impaired (any combination of the above).
For those of you who feel unable to adopt the standards guidelines in question four, and to test for the accessibility of the specialist groups in the previous question, do you feel this is a result of budget, time pressures, competitive pressures or a lack of available expertise? (Please write "Yes" for all that apply).
Lack of available expertise
Do you present the documentation for your products in any of the following formats? (Please write "Yes" for all that apply).
On-Line ASCII or HTML documents
How many members are there in your design team?
Do you consult any of the following specialists during the development of your products? (Please write "Yes" for all that apply).
Questions for Web Developers
Do you use "Flash" in your Web Sites? (Yes or No).
Do you present a plain HTML version of your Web Sites? (Yes or No).
Do you often include bodies of text in a column format in your Web Sites? (Yes or No).
Do you provide "Non-Frames" alternatives to your Web Sites? (Yes or No).
Do you compliment all the images in your sites with "Alternative Text" to describe the purposes of your images? (Yes or No).
Questions for Software Developers
Do you provide keyboard shortcuts to all function points in your applications? (Yes or No).
Do you use bit-map text in your applications? (Yes or No or Depends)
Do you use a logical tabbing order for navigating fields, text boxes, and focal points in your applications? (Yes or No).
Does your software support existing accessibility features built into the operating systems, such as "Sticky Keys," "Slow Keys," and "Repeat Keys." (Yes or No or Not Sure)
Do your software applications use standard controls or owner-drawn or custom controls? (Standard or Custom or Both).
Can the user override default fonts for printing and text displays in your applications? (Yes or No).
Do you make efforts to ensure that all auditory information is also provided in a visual form? (Yes or No).
This completes the questionnaire. Please feel free to enter any comments you would like to make below. Thank you kindly for taking part in this project.