Studying web usability with people with Learning Disabilities: what the literature tells us

Peter Edward Williams

Resumo


Introduction: It is well-recognised that the Internet may be an appropriate vehicle to provide information for people with Learning Disabilities. A small but growing body of research has studied the usability of the Internet for this purpose. This review examines the literature relating to this issue.
Objectives: The objective of the paper is to examine current research and thinking around the issue of web design for people with Learning Disabilities, including an exploration both of methods used and key findings.
Methods: A comprehensive literature review was undertaken encompassing material from the fields of education, computer science and health. Literature was elicited from various appropriate bibliographic databases. In examining the literature, an analytical proforma was used to elicit information, evaluate and compare studies.
Results: A large number of methods by which usability has been studied with this cohort were elicited, including using a mainstream website; comparing an especially adapted website against an equivalent ‘’mainstream’ version and comparing various ‘accessible’ website designs. Similarly, studies included those comparing the performance of people with Learning Disabilities with a ‘mainstream’ cohort and on their own. Findings overall suggest that ‘accessible sites’ are easier to use for people with Learning Disabilities. Difficulties encountered include in reading, finding content from a large quantity of text and scrolling. Work examining the efficacy of images or icons has had contradictory findings, from having little or no benefit in terms of access to information, to significantly aiding the understanding of text.
Conclusions: Contradictory or inconclusive findings suggest both a need for further research and for greater participation by people with Learning Disabilities themselves in studying the usability of web sites and other IT applications.


Palavras-chave


Usabilidade; Dificuldades de aprendizagem; Avaliação de websites; Deficientes de aprendizagem

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PDF (English)


DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5433/1981-8920.2015v20n3p39

Licença Creative Commons
Esta obra está licenciada sob uma licença Creative Commons Atribuição 4.0 Internacional.

  

Inf. Inf.

ISSN: 1981-8920 (versão somente online)

DOI: 10.5433/1981-8920

e-mail: infoeinfo@uel.br



Esta obra está licenciada com uma Licença Creative Commons Atribuição-NãoComercial 4.0 Internacional