Transcript for presentation:

Universal Design Awareness of Survey Software Manufacturers


Till Halbach, Ingvar Tjøstheim and Kristina Hoydal


D3. Legislation, user involvement and an inclusive society

Date and Time

2014-06-17, 14:25 - 14:45


MA 1

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Short oral presentation

Transcript of the talk

>>: Test, one, two, three.
>> HOST: Welcome, next presenter.
>> TILL HALBACH: Thank you for the kind introduction. My name is Till Halbach. I’ve worked on this together with my colleagues from the Norwegian computing center in Oslo.
I hold a position as a research scientist. I’m educated educated as an engineer, electrical engineer. So this is to give a slightly a slightly different view on universal design. We heard a lot of talk, at least I have heard a lot of talk, which work related to architecture and buildings, and this is to put this in the context of ICT. Canal during lunch I learned that ICT is not that known as a term that I had hoped actually. So just to spell it out, it is short for information and communication technology.
So as a third person, Kristina Hoydal who is from Norway and also worked at the topic, which is called Universal Design Awareness of Survey Software Manufacturers. So actually, this is on a very, very narrow scope in the world of ICT. And in order to give you the scope of this work, it is about online questioning. As I would almost expect that almost all of you would have experienced to be called up or have had the chance or the opportunity to answer or to fill out an online questionnaire if it was like about your last vacation or a stay at a hotel or whatever.
So this is about those electronic forms that you would fill out. So what we have done here is not really new in the respect that there has not be any research on this before, but the research has been limited to technical accessibility studies and also, it has been limited to user studies. So the first technical accessibility would focus on the narrow part of accessibility within universal design, which is called accessibility.
Our questionnaire is usable, for this by screen readers? How does it work when you zoom out the text and all of that?
And the user center studies have integrated the users. Like what is your experience? Did you like it? What did not work out for you? So we thought, what actually was missing was the provider point of view and to shed some light on how the provider of such survey software make us actually, I think.
So just to start with, I would like to give a very rough overview of the survey. So basically, those who carry out the person air or surveys, these I have chosen to call product and service providers, which I am in the middle of. And they, of course, need to get some experiences, they need to get answers. They want answers from the users. And usually they don’t have the means to do this themselves and this is why we are ask here, from the software manufacturers in order to provide the proper software for generating and also carrying out those questionnaires.
The approach that we did was we thought well, what was the most natural thing in this respect would be to let makers of survey software and so ace answer a survey themselves. So we gave them a questionnaire. So this is a very qualitative approach, not quantitative and we have a very low number of participants, informants as this market, at least in Norway is very small.
So unfortunately, we were not able to get any higher.
But it still can give us value to answers as this is a qualitative not quantitative approach.
Which directly brings us to my results.
I should probably start with saying that this was a national study in Norway regarding ICT. We have and antidiscrimination law and within the antidiscrimination law, there is something, which is known as the regulation of universal design of ICT.
And our first question was if those software providers or software makers knew the regulation and 60% answered positively to that answer.
So to compare that number with a very recent study conducted by what I call the agency for public management, the e goverment of Norway. And they talk to 1500 persons, and they came up with a completely different answer, which is like only 1% know the regulation that I am talking about now.
Why the huge difference? And I read the details of their report and I believe it is due to who you asked. We actually asked the developers themselves, like the ones that write the code, which make up the service whereas here they ask the management, they asked some high level the prisoners of the company to most likely don’t know the regulation as they are supposed to, because they are in management, as compared to developers.
But the real answer probably lies in between those 2 numbers as our research here, we had to set the context for the study and we had to give them information about there is something, which is called this regulation.
So it might be the situation that too many people have positively answer that question even though they don’t really know the regulation, just to keep that in mind.
Regarding responsibilities of the universal design in the company, we got a very good picture I would say. Like for instance, 20% said our developers are equally responsible, which is obviously very good because then all the developers, whoever is working on the software could make it universally, well, develop it in a universal way whereas up to 20% said that no one is truly responsible.
So in between there, there is 62%. We have answers like well, only one person is responsible, and we have outsourced the entire process.
So here, we have to see well, is this really good or bad? So in the case of outsourcing, this would be rather bad as then the competence for the company is not inside the company. It is gone. It is outside. Whereas one single developer or one single representative is responsible, then this would be a good thing but probably not as good as like all developers are equally responsible.
We also ask them if they knew the standards which are related to this regulation in the world of ICT and especially web. It is called the WCAG. And around 50% recall that they knew the standard. This was as an open question. So they did not know the answer in advance. This can be compared to only 2% knew that the standard is called VCAG. WCAG.
I believe the difference is that we had a different target groups than the one they ask.
Regarding skills and knowledge, I have actually very positive numbers.
So 62% reported well, in our company we have very good skills regarding universal design and 30% said well, we have good skills, but this can be compared to the numbers reported here where less than 30% where they found out that less than 30% really know the details in the respective standard.
When they conducted a little test to see if the people would recall details from the standard and obviously, less than 30% came up with some details and this is something that we did. So here, we are simply relying on the numbers that the people gave us and I believe they might be over reporting a little bit.
So we have to treat those numbers with care.
Now regarding to testing, we found that only 20% of the companies actually have carried out accessibility, which I believe is a very low number. As it basically means, 80% haven’t done any accessibility evaluations, which are part of usability.
Now of those 20%, only 40% no, 60% have made use of any form of assistive technology whereas 40% have not.
So just to explain their point a little bit, when you do accessibility evaluation, especially when it comes to accessibility for the visually impaired for instance, then you would use some sort of assistive technology like screen reader or a braille device or whatever.
So this is vital in the process of testing and it is a little bit well, in our eyes it is a little bit disappointing that so few only used well, carried out accessibility relations in the first place and use the proper tools in the second place.
Speaking of tools, what we had another question in our questionnaire and found that not a single company actually uses a tool to check the conformance with the WCAG. So how this relates to the former, well, the answer to the question how good is your confidence and how high are your skills in dealing with those standards, that was the question.
So now when it comes to the customer, we have asked if customers really have required a universal design solution of those companies and 20%, only 20% said yes this is really the case.
Now this relates to this pyramid I have been showing you on an earlier slide where we have the makers of service questionnaires on the top and the end user on the bottom.
In between here we have service providers.
So just to illustrate the software industry here is not really in touch with the end user and also the service providers don’t really ask for universal design solutions, which would be the first requirement actually, the first element, the first incentive for the software industry to make such software.
This is mirrored actually in the priorities of the software makers, where the highest priority is that the service providers can generate and roll out with the services independently. This is of the highest concern and first, after that, actually a little bit longer down on the list, things that are relevant for universal design such as completion rate or degree of completion.
So when I arrived at the conclusions, actually I find it interesting to observe that we arrive at exactly the same conclusions that Camilla was talking about.
First of all, this is having a proper strategy and having the proper implementation of the process in the industry.
Second, it is about educating or maybe training the developers; give them the proper knowledge and the proper skills.
In the case of outsourcing, then it is highly recommended to regain this knowledge, in source it and put it inside the company again and include the degree of competency with the developers.
So in summary this up, when we put this together, I would really like to ask two important questions.
And the first one being how representative are the questionnaires for the entire society, for all citizens, like how easiest it actually for all of those citizens, target groups to participate in the digital life and how easiest it to raise their voice in terms of opinion surveys, for instance,.
So here it might be, in fact, it could be a democratic problem.
So just to summarize this, what we need is the proper information about the legislation, about the process and training and point two is probably the most important is that universal design is very often viewed as an attribute for the final product or service, but it should rather be viewed as a process.
Because when it is viewed as a process, then it is not guaranteed that also the final solution is universal design, but it is at least well, it is a very important requirement.
And third, even though like the process and all of that, all of the plan is in place, is important to give if the proper priority, which would translate into value.
So this is basically it. I give you some contact information on the last slide. And if you cannot read this, then you can contact me after.
>> HOST: Thank you, Till
>> HOST: Really interesting. Food you see as the main consumers of your report or your information? Is it the companies producing the service or the authority
>> TILL HALBACH: In the first place we thought that this was the service of the industry; however, we can see that what we get are some nice pointers to the rest of the industry. So, yes, for instance, they would be a thing for this.
>> HOST: Have you had any contact with them?
>> TILL HALBACH: No. Because the report came out just a few weeks ago, two or so, so I haven’t been in contact with them.
>> HOST: Any other questions?
(No response).
>> HOST: Okay. Thank you very much.


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