Note: This information is from a project in 2005.
In the Fall of 2003 the W3C Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) and the American Institutes for Research (AIR) conducted a series of usability tests of the WAI Web site.
AIR found the WAI Web site to be very well received by the usability test participants. Because of the resources that are made available on the site, the participants found it essential to their work. Despite the initial positive reaction, participants found it difficult and overwhelming to find the information they were looking for. The overwhelming nature of the site made it hard for it to be used to its fullest potential.
An extensive report of the usability test is available.
Some highlights from the report:
- Brief Introduction including goals
- Test Participant Characteristics
- Tasks (under Test Plan)
- Findings Executive Summary and Key Findings
Interview Findings including answers to:
- If you had to give the site a grade, from A to F, where A was exemplary and F was failing, what grade would you give it, and why?
- Name three words or characteristics that describe this Web site.
- What are the three things you like best about the Web site?
- What are the three things you like least about the Web site?
A heuristic evaluation was done on the WAI Web site. It was found that the design of the site did not present the message of the organization or the content of the site in a clear or appealing way. The site was difficult to navigate through. The language used for the content of the site was found to be cryptic.
Informal Testing & Evaluation
Throughout the process of the redesign, the site was tested and evaluated for usability and accessibility.
We identified the following issues with one iteration of the design of the home page:
- Users had a hard time identifying basic information about web accessibility.
- The use of check boxes for the collapsible navigation was confusing. This was confused with the "Windows Explorer" implementation.
One design of the home page had a quick links drop down box. Users were distracted by it. The options in the drop down were to key WAI documents and were listed by the document acronym. Once they got to it, they did not know what the acronyms stood for and got confused.
In one iteration of design of the information architecture for the site, when trying to find specific techniques, users found having Implementing under Guidelines & Resources confusing. They thought it was implementing certain techniques into your web site.
We ran another formal usabiliy test on the near-final redesign; however, we did not take the time to post the results online.