Researching Persons With Vision Impairment: A Review Of Research Methodologies Used For Website Accessibility/Usability Testing

Journal Name: 
Journal of Management Outlook
Vol. 8 - No. 2
Author Name Designation Organization
M.A.C. Syed Ahmed Kabeer
S. Victor Anandkumar

This research paper examines the different research methodologies adopted in web accessibility/ usability studies involving persons with vision impairment (PWVI) as users cum respondents. The worldwide web offers a degree of independence because of which the PWVIs use the Internet as a source of information. The studies reviewed in this paper involved tasks performed by PWVIs to evaluate the accessibility features of websites or mobile applications. The objective of the study is to identify research designs employed, type of data collection methods and instruments used, sampling decisions and difficulties encountered in engaging PWVI as respondents. For this purpose five papers were identified. Rationale behind the selection of the five papers is: use of PWVI as respondents and user tests relating to web accessibility or usability. To obtain sufficient number of papers for this study purpose, the duration within which the papers have been published was fixed as 12 years (2004-17). This paper deals with: how the PWVIs were selected, the  composition of the samples, selection of website/s and tasks, the role of observer or volunteer, the rationale behind the choice of data collection tool, the type of questionnaire used, the type of questions asked, the different variables identified, similarities among the studies and so on. The findings revealed that objective/s of the study decided the composition of the user test group: respondent  selection was purposive and scaling (5-9 point Likert scale) was common among all the studies; in case of direct observation for data collection, smaller user groups were used; while using a web-based survey, Software Usability Measurement Inventory (SUMI)  questionnaire was adapted for the study of PWVI as respondents. This paper familiarizes the readers with methodological differences and nuances to be considered while researching PWVIs, as user cum respondents in accessibility testing.