A comparative study of usability and accessibility of Norwegian educational institute websites for screen reader users based on user experience and automated assessment
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A website is an essential part of the education system, mainly in schools or universities, as it aids the students with diverse abilities to access the information offering the flexibility in times and locations for learning and personal growth (Kuakiatwong & Whittier, 2011). However, due to the lack of accessibility and usability of the websites, the students with disabilities who solely rely on screen reader software faces challenges accessing the contents on the webpage. This study aims to assess the current level of accessibility and usability issues, screen reader students frequently encounter while interacting with the Norwegian University webpages. To address the research question, this study performed the sequential explanatory design approach to collect the data in two different phases. Quantitative data were collected at first using two automated tools and questionnaire to assess the accessibility and usability level of the selected websites. In the second phase, the study implemented follow-up interviews with the participants to address the further issues which were not discovered in the first phase. Sixteen visually impaired participants were recruited and were assigned the 5 usability tasks on 4 different university websites to analyze the usability and accessibility of sampled websites. Analysis from the qualitative and quantitative data demonstrated that none of the selected Norwegian University websites (N=4) met the minimum checkpoint requirement of WCAG 2.1. The findings further depicted that the average usability level of the educational websites in Norway was below average and, only one of the 4 evaluated websites came close to average usability score. In addition, based on the interview, the most remarkable accessibility issues discovered on Norwegian University webpages were poorly design of heading and link-list structure, screen reader incompatibility with the browsers, ambiguous link structure, and inaccessible keyboard navigation. Likewise, the majority of the participant response to most common usability issues they experienced on the webpages were poor labeling of the forms, duplication of page titles, awful labeling of links, inconsistent breadcrumb trail, and inadequate keyboard access on webpages. Further, correlating the results reported by two automated tools concluded that there was inconsistent between the two automated tools result. On this basis, it is recommended that manual accessibility evaluation of the website should be implemented to confirm the quantitative findings. It is further recommended that universities need to give emphasis to make a website to be accessible and usable to screen reader users. Further study is necessary to explore and overcome the limitations of the current study.
Master i universell utforming av IKT