Tutorial T1-F - Accessibility for the Modern Web: Design and Evaluation of Accessible Websites

Christopher Power, University of York

Helen Petrie, University of York

Andre Freire, University of York

Gerhard Weber, Technical University of Dresden

David Sloan, University of Dundee

Giorgio Brajnik, Università di Udine


Building accessible sites that are vibrant, dynamic and very usable requires the use of appropriate technologies and the application of good evaluation techniques. This tutorial will present a variety of methods for designing and evaluating accessible websites. Through practical exercises attendees will learn how to conduct automatic, expert and user evaluations.

In the tutorial we cover the area of accessibility by:

Attendees of the tutorial will be able to link accessibility with usability, with an understanding that more accessible websites can provide more usable websites for the wider web audience.


Helen Petrie is Head of the HCI Group as a Professor of Human-Computer Interaction in the Department of Computer Science. In the past she has held positions as Professor of Human-Computer Interaction in the School of Informatics at City University London and as Research Professor of Psychology at the University of Hertfordshire, where she was also Director of the Sensory Disabilities Research Unit and the National Centre for Tactile Diagrams. She has been involved in many research projects on the design and evaluation of technology for disabled and elderly people, including 12 EU-funded projects; for the EU-funded MultiReader Project she was Project Leader. She recently led the team that conducted the largest and most comprehensive study of web site accessibility for the Disability Rights Commission and led the academic work on the UK funded VISTA Project which won the Royal Television Society Award for Technical Innovation in 2003. She is on the board of a number of academic journals, is a Lay Advisor to the Royal College of Ophthalmologists and is a trustee of the Foundation for Assistive Technology (FAST).

Christopher Power is a Research Fellow at the University of York. His early work at the University of Western Ontario (Canada) on a novel exploration technique of multi-modal diagrams by people with visual disabilities. This research included empirical evaluation of the performance of users working with pointing and steering activities on an interactive, refreshable pin display. His interest in web accessibility was driven from his participation in the BenToWeb project, working on developing test methodologies for web accessibility and on the definition of fundamental web accessibility measures on colour contrast discrimination by various groups of users. His current work is in participation with the EU4ALL project on accessibility of elearning for people with disabilities. He currently serves as a programme committee member for accessibility conferences (ADDW, W4A) and is an editor for the ISO Access for All standard.

Andre Freire is a researcher at the University of York. His research interests are mainly related to techniques and methods to help inclusive design and evaluation of web systems. In his previous research projects at the University of São Paulo, he had been researching on the accessibility awareness of web developers at the country. He has also conducted wide studies on the accessibility of governmental web sites at Brazil over time. His current work is focused on the investigation of issues regarding the impact of the involvement of users with disabilities on quantitative metrics in web accessibility evaluation.

Gerhard Weber is Chair in Human Computer Interaction at Technical University Dresden. He has been researching tactile interaction with tactile graphics for more than 20 years, developed multimodal Braille and speech-based screen readers for blind people, and investigated spoken and Braille-based mathematics for visually impaired people. His work on web-based accessibility addresses these and other kind of print-disabled people, the MultiReader system has allowed to study personalisation of multimedia documents and recently the concept of collaborative accessibility has been applied to different applications areas such as meta-data for digital libraries as well as navigation systems addressing a diversity of people with reduced mobility.

David Sloan is Project Lead of the Digital Media Access Group (DMAG), a research and consultancy unit specialising in inclusive design issues. DMAG is based in the School of Computing at the University of Dundee, one of the foremost research centres of the world specialising in the development of information and communication technology to support disabled and elderly people.

For the past nine years, David has advised on accessibility and technology to clients in industry, academia and the public sector, including the provision of accessibility audits of web sites, software and public access kiosks, and consultancy and training on best practice in accessible web design. He developed one of the earliest web accessibility evaluation methodologies, and completed his PhD in 2006, focusing on the effectiveness of the accessibility audit as a motivational and educational tool for inclusive web design. David has published widely and spoken at events around the world on various topics relating to web accessibility; he also runs the University of Dundee's Web Accessibility Service, providing support to individual staff and central services on web accessibility issues. He is a member of the Usability Professionals' Association, the ACM SIGCHI and SIGACCESS, and is the General Chair of the 6th International Cross-Disciplinary Conference on Web Accessibility (W4A), taking place alongside WWW 2009.

Giorgio Brajnik is faculty member at the Computer Science Department of the University of Udine, Italy. Since 1999 his focus is on methods for effective assessment of accessibility and quality of websites and web applications. At the university he teaches courses on web accessibility and user centered web development.
In '92 and '95--'96 he was visiting scholar at the University of Texas at Austin. He has been invited lecturer, panelist and visiting professor in Europe, the U.S. and New Zealand. He participated in several of the W3C working groups dealing with accessibility. He also supervised the development of accessibility testing tools when he was working with a company he cofounded, Usablenet Inc. He is program committee member of several conferences, including the 6th International Cross-Disciplinary Conference on Web Accessibility (W4A), he was co-chair of the Doctoral Consortium for the ACM ASSETS 2008 conference, and is regular reviewer for several journals. Additional details are available at www.dimi.uniud.it/giorgio/vitae.html