universal web design

Jump to 	Content  Jump to Navigation  Jump to Section Info
A survey of Web accessibility and usability

Background Research

Voice Browsers and Screen Readers

Learn to Use: Download and test several free and shareware browsers for blind users in order to gain an understanding for how they work. Find a machine with JAWS (or try the trial version) to see how it handles browsers.

Standards Testing: View different sites -- both non-compliant and compliant -- to see what level of CSS1 and CSS2 is actually supported in voice browsers and, thus, how much of the "talk" about XHTML/CSS is just hot air. Questions: Do voice browsers really have trouble with nested tables? Are "alt" attributes the only answer (as some think)? How do screen readers handle visibility and positioning?

Aural CSS: Test the new CSS support for voice browsers, including audio commands, voice changes, speed/pitch/direction attributes, and so on. Questions: Do the current voice browsers actually handle the new specifications for aural CSS? If we define multiple style sheets -- print, screen, aural, etc. -- do the voice browsers handle them correctly? Is the DOM supported?

Site Validation

Testing Methodology and Tools: Generate a list of necessary standards tools that check a site's conformance to published specifications, including Bobby, CSS Validator, and XHTML Validator. Develop an algorithm for testing sites for Ease-of-Use and Compliance using both automatied tools as well as manual methods of testing how accessible a site is for a user that is blind.

Accessibility Comparisons: Using the methodology defined above, compare 20 popular websites using an accessibility scale. Produce a matrix displaying how well each site satisfies the proposed criteria.

Visual Comparisons: Using various browsers and browser versions, compare how each of the 20 sites is rendered and discuss the tradeoffs of accessibility and browser-availability.


Redesign Three Sites: Demonstrate how adherence to accessibility conventions and W3C standards does not limit creativity by reprogramming three of the sites from the test group. If carbon-copies are not possible, create "improved" versions that are also accessible, easy to navigate, and user-friendly.

Secondary Benefits Analysis: After designing prototypes, analyze the benefits that people-conscious design will offer beyond accessibility. Candidates: code elegance, ease of modifying layout, faster development, bandwidth savings.

Search Engines

Google Layout Redesign: Take Google and update the initial search screen and the search results screens so that they comply to standards and are more accessible.

Validate this page for CSS compliance  Validate this page for XHTML compliance  Validate this page for Section 504 compliance

In this Section

Project Objectives
A quick overview of the various objectives, research areas, and milestones of this initiative.

Progress Notes
Chronological listing of activities, research, and site additions.

Midterm Presentation
PowerPoint presentation of the highlights of the project thus far.

Final Presentation
Final project presentation and website demos.

ZIP archive of all files
Download this file to obtain access to all the source code, PowerPoint presentations, and graphics used in this project.

« Back to Home

Project Vitals

Author: Greg Lanier
This site was originally created as a course project for Comp190 Enabling Technologies, given by Professor Gary Bishop at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
UNC : course : prof

Switch: v1 : v2

© 2003 Use but don't abuse