Evaluation of the interaction between users of screen reading technology and graphical user interface elements
Katherine Ann Barnicle, Columbia University, United States
Columbia University . Awarded
Thirteen individuals with no useful vision who use screen reading technology to access a computer participated in this study. Both novice and expert computer users participated. The study was designed to (a) examine the interaction between users of screen reading technology and graphical user interface (GUI) elements and (b) to identify the type and significance of obstacles encountered during these interactions. Participants were asked to carry out up to 36 tasks in three sets using a screen reading application plus a word processor or web browser, all of which were compatible with the Microsoft® Windows 95 operating system.
Fifty-eight obstacles encountered by participants were identified. Seventy-eight percent of the obstacles were assigned the lowest severity rating of four, indicating that this obstacle led to a minor delay in carrying out a task. However, the cumulative effect of these obstacles was to delay, and in many, cases prevent task completion. Participants achieved average success rates of 71%, 78%, and 78%, respectively for each task set.
The type of obstacles and the frequency with which they were encountered suggest that the current method of accessing a graphical user interface with a screen reader fails to provide users with (a) efficient navigation and search strategies, (b) sufficient contextual support, (c) appropriate feedback of on-screen changes, and (d) interface design consistency.
Barnicle, K.A. Evaluation of the interaction between users of screen reading technology and graphical user interface elements. Ph.D. thesis, Columbia University.
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