Monday, February 2, 2015

Lab 1 Part III

1. Review of three sites with regard to ageing users (over 70): WebMD, Book Depository, Wired.com

Of these, I would have expected WebMD and Book Depository to be more concerned with accessibility for the 70+ group, but since Wired is a tech focused group, they may have focused more on having their site to be intuitive to all users.

WebMD seems to do a fair job of making their home page approachable by older people, and the 'Health A-Z' tab and the search bar at the top of the page make it easy for users to locate info on a particular topic. The featured stories are of a range of topics but the article view is a bit cluttered with sidebars and blinking advertisements. The text in the menu bar is rather small which would present a challenge for those with poor sight. Overall, the site would probably not present massive navigation challenges to users 70+, but if the site were interested in improving, I would suggest adding a text-size adjuster to the top of the main page, de-cluttering the article views and removing the pop-up alerts from the page.

Book Depository has some featured content on the main page as well as a category menu on the left sidebar. The search box is easy to find at the top of the main page and takes the user immediately to the results of their search. The feature to add keywords to refine the search is helpful, but would not be intuitively understood by the older user. Shoppers can easily click through to see details of a book, but the button for returning to the results page might be easily overlooked as it is in the top left of the page rather than on the right-hand side near the easy-to-spot 'add to basket' and 'add to wishlist' buttons are. When items are added to the basket, the item count and running total is displayed at the top of the page, which would reduce the need to open the 'go to basket' link during shopping. The text on the site, particularly in the details of books, is small enough to be problematic for those with limited sight.

Wired may not be targeting the over 70 set but their generally user-friendly design is still reasonably accessible to older users. The main page has featured content tiled down the page and the menu bar expands on hover to show sub-menus. There is not a search box on the main page, but the magnifier icon links to a different page where the user can search. An improvement would be if the magnifier expanded to display a search box on hover. As with WebMD, the site has some ads, but it is not as easy to distinguish the ads from the main content here. For example, there is a full page-width ad for the iPad Air 2 at the top of the main page immediately below the menu bar which is in no way marked as an advertisement. I found it interesting that of the three sites, Wired uses the largest text in the body of its articles.

After reviewing each site in turn, I can see some clear positives in each for the older user. All of the sites also have features that could be improved to make the site easier for older users.


2. WALK is an organisation that provides a range of supports to adults with intellectual disabilities. Their website provides comprehensive information about their services in an easy to navigate format. www.walk.ie

3. Survey Monkey survey

4. I had only a brief look at the survey monkey survey, and planned to return to it later. Unfortunately the survey wouldn't let me back in because I had visited before. However, after the conversation in lecture the following week, I would say that the survey would not have done much to sway my thoughts from the initial review. This might have been less the case if we were given some explanation of the terms in the survey. For example, what could 'clearly marked exits' mean in the context of a website?

5. Mobile friendly assessment
All three of the above sites scored 0%
google.com scored 7%
airbnb.com scored 32%
m.dublineventguide.com scored 32%
walk.ie scored 52%

It seems that even sites that seem mobile friendly to me are not doing well on this benchmark.

6. Accessibility checker
webmd.com has 32 errors, 79 alerts
bookdepository.co.uk has 2 errors, 96 alerts
wired.com has 42 errors, 125 alerts

Again, none are looking good. Just for fun, here are the additional sites I tested above:

google.com has 5 errors, 2 alerts
airbnb.com scored 32 errors, 8 alerts
m.dublineventguide.com scored 1 error, 1 alert (Note: Only the header of the mobile site rendered in the test frame, so I tested the regular site too, which scored 280 errors, 14 alerts)
walk.ie scored  0 errors, 1 alert

It looks like the accessibility standards are also largely not being met.
WALK would have of course developed their site with accessibility as a top priority as many of their service users have multiple accessibility needs.



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