First Look - Web Accessibility Guidelines: A Lesson from the Evolving WebPublished: Wednesday, 13 May 2009
Here's a first look at the abstract for some new work we are in the process of publishing.The World Wide Web (Web) in constant evolutionary change.
Here's a first look at the abstract for some new work we are in the process of publishing.
The World Wide Web (Web) in constant evolutionary change. This evolution occurs along many fronts and is led by infrastructure developers, Web designers, technologists, and users. These multiple stake-holders ensure that the Web is a heterogeneous entity, not just in the nature of the content, but in the technology and agents used to deliver and render that content. It is precisely this heterogeneity which gives the Web its strength and its weakness. A weakness in technology adoption leading to an increasing disconnect between the actual user experience and the expected experience of the technology stakeholders. We are interested in the human factors surrounding the evolution of the Web interface; and believe that the wait is always too long for new recommendations, guidelines, and technology to be adopted. We are therefore, currently focusing on technological interventions for the client-side experience as opposed to waiting for guidelines or core technology adoption. But our beliefs are nothing more than anecdotal, to accurately target our work we need to understand the way the Web evolves. Here, we describe a 10-year longitudinal study comprising approximately 6000 home pages. From this study we conclude that as a 'rule-of-thumb' new technology is adopted at about 15% within the first 3 years, incremental version releases are adopted at about 10% within the first 3 years, however between 10% and 15% can be added to these adoption rates if the site is an early adopting. In addition, we see that guidelines are mostly ignored, which suggests that guidelines should be subsumed into the technical specification as opposed to their current 'optional' status.