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MERLOT II


    

Peer Review


Webusability - accessibility and usability services

by Roger Hudson
 

Ratings

Overall Rating:

4.5 stars
Content Quality: 4.75 stars
Effectiveness: 4.5 stars
Ease of Use: 4.5 stars
Reviewed: Apr 01, 2009 by Information Technology Editorial Board
Overview: Designed to provided guidelines and instructions on how to make a site more useable for everyone, especially the handicapped. A wealth of material is provided in an easy to read format with introductions and guidelines as well as links to additional material should it be needed. Videos are included as are interactive materials and sample code for use by those using this site. This material is a comprehensive resource for information on web accessibility. It provides a number of videos and articles related to the topic of web accessibility, many of which are quite recent. The material would best be described as Reference Material, and therefore does not have clearly stated learning goals. The target audience is web developers, not students. There are clearly-stated copyright guidelines that emphasize the site is for personal use only. Access to this website is free.
Learning Goals: The primary learning goal for this site is to learn to create a wesite that is easily accisble by users, especially the handicapped. Followup goals are to 1) create accessible forms (for use by JAWS and other programs), 2) understanding pace layering, 3) creating tables which are accessible by JAWS and other programs, understanding of how page layout order is important for those using handicap assistive devices. The learner will develop a deeper understanding of web accessibility issues. With web development knowledge already in place, the learner will be able to build websites that adhere to accessibility guidelines and standards.
Target Student Population: This site is directed more towards professional web developers, but students who are IT majors and have a base knowledge of web development would benefit from the material within. The most appropriate education level would be undergraduate upper division or graduate level. Undergraduate students would benefit from this site, specifically those just starting on web design or for advanced design when designing for handicap accessibility.
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills: The learner must have a good base knowledge of web development before using this site. The site assumes knowledge of HTML and CSS.
Type of Material: A comprehensive website that provides reference material.
Recommended Uses: This website clearly states that the material contained is for personal use only. However, students could be directed toward the site as part of a module on web accessibility as it provides valuable reference material.
Technical Requirements: A web browser. The videos are embedded within the page(s) and do not require a particular player. However, the videos are streamed and would be best viewed using a high-speed internet connection. Speakers are required for sound. Users should also have basic computer skills, including how to use a web browser.

Evaluation and Observation

Content Quality

Rating: 4.75 stars
Strengths: A wealth of data is provided. Very easy to read with heading areas identifying specific content. this material can be used for instruction on proper web site development procedures, but can also be used for web site development for those using assistive technology. Videos are wonderful and provide addition information that can assist users in better understanding needs of those using assistive technology. The material is comprehensive and well-supported by current guidelines and standards. Links to many resources related to web accessibility are provided. The site has been recently updated with new articles. The quality of the content is consistent throughout.
Concerns: So much data is provided that many users may skip around in the material and not grasp the full concepts of what is to be learned. There is a great deal of reading required. Many students may not be willing to do this much reading.

Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool

Rating: 4.5 stars
Strengths: The progression through this site is made in a logical order starting at the top and working through to the botton. The site provides comprehensive reference material that would complement a module on web accessibility.
Concerns: One small problem could be noted here. Because of the amount of reading, many students may jump around and not read all the material provided. This site is for personal use only, therefore its potential for classroom use is rather limited. * Though videos are provided as an alternate means of presenting material, there is no interactivity to keep the learner engaged. * There is no logical progression through the material.

Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty

Rating: 4.5 stars
Strengths: I could easily see this site being used as part of a class because it provides all the learning objectives for each concept covered. * Site navigation is excellent for this type of material. * Videos are accompanied by transcripts. * Site is, of course, accessible for users with a wide range of disabilities. * Is self-contained.
Concerns: Many students will not want to read this site. It is primarily text based. As this site is designed to be reference material, there is no logical progression through the information. Technical terms are not defined and therefore the user must have a base knowledge of web development in order to fully understand the material.

Other Issues and Comments: As a reference material, this site is excellent. It is simply not designed to actively teach the concepts.