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An Exploration into Two Solutions to Propagating Web Accessibility for Blind Computer Users

Hackett, Stephanie Rose (2007) An Exploration into Two Solutions to Propagating Web Accessibility for Blind Computer Users. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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A model is presented depicting the driving forces (Web industry, consumers, U.S. federal government, and technology) promoting an accessible Web and potential solutions within those forces. This project examines two distinct solutions, lawsuits (a consumer-driven solution) and AcceSS 2.1 transcoder (a technology-driven solution) to provide more information on two under-researched methods that could have far-reaching impacts on Web accessibility for the blind. First, an evaluation of the intraclass correlation (ICC) between homepage Web Accessibility Barrier (WAB) scores and WAB scores of levels 1-3 found that the homepage is not sufficient to detect the accessibility of the website. ICC of the homepage and average of levels 1-3 is 0.250 (p=0.062) and ICC of levels 1, 2, & 3 is 0.784 (p < 0.0001). Evaluating the homepage and first-level pages gives more accurate results of entire site accessibility. Second, an evaluation of the WAB scores of the homepage and first-level pages of websites of five companies sued for alleged inaccessible websites found mixed results: lawsuits worked in two cases, but didn't in three. This is seen through an examination of accessibility and complexity of the websites for years surrounding the lawsuits. Each sued website is compared to a control website within the same industry and to a random group of websites representing the general Web. Third, a usability study of the AcceSS 2.1 transcoding intermediary found that technology can increase users' efficiency, effectiveness, and satisfaction in Web interaction, regardless of universal design. The study entails a within-subject cross-over design wherein 15 users performed tasks on three websites: one universally designed, one non-universally designed, and one reference site. Paired t-tests examine the effect of AcceSS 2.1 on time, errors, and subjective satisfaction and mixed-model analysis examines the effect of study design on outcomes. Results show that users perform tasks faster, with fewer errors, and with greater satisfaction when accessing pages via AcceSS 2.1, but users where less satisfied with the universally designed website and significant differences were found in the universally designed website and not the non-universally designed website. Website usability and ease of navigation are more important to users than simple accessibility.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Hackett, Stephanie
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairParmanto, Bambangparmanto@pitt.eduPARMANTO
Committee MemberCohn, Ellenecohn@pitt.eduECOHN
Committee MemberWatzlaf, Valerie J. Mvalgeo@pitt.eduVALGEO
Committee MemberMonaco,
Date: 11 December 2007
Date Type: Completion
Defense Date: 29 November 2007
Approval Date: 11 December 2007
Submission Date: 6 December 2007
Access Restriction: 5 year -- Restrict access to University of Pittsburgh for a period of 5 years.
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences > Rehabilitation Science
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: Blind; Internet; Transcoding Intermediary; Usability Study; Web Accessibility Measurement
Other ID:, etd-12062007-154910
Date Deposited: 10 Nov 2011 20:08
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2016 13:53


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