Students in this group are tackling the Cooper Hewitt website’s Accessibility Page, that gives vital information to visitors that may want to take advantage of described tours, Access-a-Ride transportation, and other accessibility services. Students are also auditing the remainder of the site for accessibility and putting together mock-ups for a redesign.
Initial Observations and Competitive/Comparative Analysis
Our team began this project by conducting a thorough examination of the Cooper Hewitt website in order to gain an understanding of the current accessibility. This included building a sitemap and going over the site using a screen reader. This was followed by conducting a comparative analysis of other museum websites accessibility features. This allowed us to gain insights into the perceived strengths and weaknesses of the Cooper Hewitt website’s accessibility.
We also learned a lot of assistive technology knowledge for website design.
It was an important next step for the team to gain insight into the priorities of museum goers with disabilities instead of only relying on our assumptions. We conducted a survey using one of the accessible templates available on Survey Monkey. The feedback we received helped to shape our approach to this project.
Some of the takeaways about the respondents were:
- Often disappointed with sparse information regarding museum accessibility features.
- Would like to see museum websites that are fully accessible with screen readers.
- Would like images/videos to be fully described.
- Need forms to be compatible with braille displays and screen readers.
Documentation about designing the survey (potential features design questions)
We also generated the current problem of the website for the following design. We validated the design choices and found more insights from the usability testing below.
Following the user survey, our team began strategizing the best way to structure and display the information on the Cooper Hewitt website. This process involved card sorting, creating user flows, and drawing low fidelity wireframes of the website.
After making some initial decisions regarding content, we scheduled an in-person interview with one of our survey respondents. The feedback we received was invaluable and allowed us to make improvements to our next prototype.
- Content: registration time; custom tours
- Technology：the purchase process/form is not accessible
- Use of language
HTML Prototype & User Testing
In order to conduct user testing the team came to the realization that we had to create a prototype using HTML because typical prototyping tools such as Axure are not accessible. Before embarking on this challenge, each team member completed the Teach Access tutorial which provided essential training for designing accessible websites.
We conducted five user testings in total. Testers included people with various disabilities working at Mayor’s Office for Persons with Disabilities, Helen Keller Services for the Blind, Department of Occupational Therapy, and Tandon School of Engineering. At the same time, we also invited them to test the current website and interviewed them about their preferences, habits, and attitudes.
We conducted user testing on our HTML prototype shortly after and, once again, gained much needed insights into how to improve upon our design.
Some key Insights we had:
- The structure of how the codes are built matters. <h1>should only appear once and first at a page, followed by clear structure of <h2><h3>etc
- Testers don’t use the search bar. Instead, they use the assistive technology to do the search.
- For people with mobility issues, the first thing they wish to have on a museum website is an in-door map showing the scale of the museum and the locations of places/chairs to rest. Wheelchair service and related payment fee are also things they are looking for.
- Testers cared if the images are “alted” or not. They would like to see the use of ARIA technology as well.
The team is in the process of iterating on our working prototype and compiling all of the research and documentation for our final presentation.