WebCT Accessibility Interest Group

Campus Information Technologies and Educational Services (CITES) and Disability Resources and Educational Services (DRES)

University of Illinois at Urbana/Champaign

User Scenarios

The following use cases indicate the need for WebCT to support web standards and to move to a functional approach to accessibility rather than a markup or repair based approach.  One such functionally-based approach is the UIUC Best Practices for User Centered Web Design document that give highlights design strategies that give users more control over how they want to view content.

Student Case #1: Student with a Visual Impairment

This student logs into WebCT Vista using high contrast settings available in Internet Explorer and starts selecting links to find the next homework assignment.  The font size or color adjustment doesn't seem to work until the user selects the ignore font size and color information in the accessibility options.  Even after selecting the accessibility options most of the text content is larder, but the colors do not seem to change to the users high contrast settings, making it difficult if not impossible for the user to read the text on the screen. Quizzes present have the same problem involving font size and color selection not being overridden in Internet Explorer.  Some of the text in the quizzes is larger, but form controls are still very small.  Menu bars are gone so the student does not even have the option of making more adjustments.

Another problem is when the student wants to check their assignment progress and they have trouble knowing which of the four options they are currently viewing: " Inbox",  "Submitted",  "Graded" and "Published" since only visual styling is used by WebCT to indicate which option is currently being viewed.  Heading information is needed to orient the user to which of the four "Tabs" is currently be rendered. 

Design Issues:

Student Case #2: Physical Impairment

A student with a physical impairment wants to use the header navigation and list of links features found in the Opera Browser to navigate more efficiently to links and form controls on web pages in WebCT.  When they log-in to WebCT, he is told the browser is "not supported".  They try to use Opera anyway and some of the links work, but other links like the link "More Tools" to access assignment information do not work.  The student is now forced to use Internet Explorer or Mozilla which provide less efficient navigation with the result that the student takes more time to access course content, complete assignments and take quizzes. 

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Student Case #3: Student with a Learning Disability

This student's learning disability affects his ability to read text, so he receives an accommodation of 50% more time on exams and quizzes.

Design Issues:

TA Case: Blind Teaching Assistant

A teaching assistant using a screen reader cannot easily navigate the default "Grade Book" to enter grade information on quizzes and home work.  The default use of FRAMES to create scrolling windows with fixed visual vertical and horizontal headings makes it impossible to indicate with HTML markup to indicate proper heading information for the Grade Book table.  It takes the TA approximately 5-10 time longer to do the same task as their sighted peers and is prone to many more errors in entering grades.  The fixed frame option for viewing the grade book improves accessibility, but the teaching assistant was not aware of the option since it is not clearly labeled or documented.  The fixed frames needs to be improved to use header cell "id" and data cell "headers" attributes to indicate header information as the user navigates through the tables using a screen reader. 

Design Issues: