Are Guidelines Enough? An Introduction to Designing Web Sites Accessible to Older PeopleBy Milne, S.; Dickinson A.; Carmichael, A.; Sloan, D.; Eisma, R.; Gregor, P.; IBM Systems Journal, Vol. 44, No. 3, pp. 557-571
Publication Date: 2005
Paper identifies accessibility barriers encountered by older people when using the Internet and discusses ways to improve Web accessibility and usability for this age group. Accessibility barriers identified include (1) legibility of textual content, such as small or too-ornate fonts; (2) insufficient contrast between background and text; (3) a screen too cluttered with items; (4) difficulty clicking on targets identified due to impaired fine-motor skills or inexperience using the mouse; and (5) lack of experience with the conventions of Web navigation. The paper discusses the role of markup language, specifically Hypertext Markup Language (HTML) and Cascading Style Sheets (CSS), in designing websites for accessibility; initiatives by professional organizations and government bodies, such as the World Wide Web Consortium’s (W3C) Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) and its Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG), the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ usability guidelines for Web developers, and the UTOPIA Project (Usable Technology for Older People: Inclusive and Appropriate); and add-on tools for accessibility, such as IBM’s Web Adaptation Technology (WAT) which works within Internet Explorer to let the user alter characteristics of Web pages. Four ways of improving the current use of accessibility guidelines are presented: (1) Involving the user in the design process; (2) Educating future developers and designers; (3) Accessibility workshops for established designers; and (4) Storytelling, which is the use of video to present individuals describing their Internet usage to Web designers. Implications for further research into methods to improve Internet accessibility for older people are briefly discussed.
Published by: IBM Corporation (Website:http://www.ibm.com)
Link to text: http://www.research.ibm.com/journal/sj/443/milne.html