"Prejudices, memories, expectations and confidence influence experienced accessibility on the Web"

News

22 April 2015 · ·

Evidence suggests that compliance to accessibility standards does not guarantee a satisfying user experience on the Web. Theactual accessibility of a website is worthless if users cannot perceive it. Unmet content and functionality related expectations havebeen identified as the main user problems not covered by guidelines. We expand on this by examining the role played by subjectiveand experiential dimensions, and particularly expectations, on users’ perceived web accessibility. We conducted a study with11 blind participants, who had to navigate on 4 restaurant websites, to uncover how these expectations shape their accessibilityperception. The thematic analysis on the transcribed interviews reveals that expectations are built up on previous experiences(either physical or via web) and preconceived ideas. We found that aspects, such as prejudices on branding issues or memoriesevoked by past experiences or emotional bonds, can a ect how user perceive and experience accessibility. Web content explicitlylabelled as accessible arises the curiosity and creates expectations about the accessibility of the website. We also observed thatnon-met expectations are often related to a sense of uncertainty and doubts, which can have an impact not only on participants’perceived web accessibility but on their user experience.