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November 2018

Hello <<First Name>>!

I am surprised that it is November already but so much has happened over this past year.  Amanda and I have just returned from the W3C Technical Plenary and Advisory Council Meetings in Lyon, France.  And yes, France is still beautiful.  We managed to get a little downtime to wander through the old city area and took lots of photos and ate loads of beautiful things. 

Prior to that, I was in Kuwait again, this time for the opening of the W3C Gulf States Office (known as GCC) which is located in our office in Kuwait.  The Kuwait Institute of Scientific Research, which is along the lines of our CSIRO, hosted the event and did a wonderful job.  There were two days of workshops and presentations. I did both a presentation on accessibility (no surprise there) and ran an Accessibility Hackathon.  The Hack was great fun and I was surprised at the competitiveness of the entrants.  They were in organizational teams and I think it was somewhat of a badge of honor to win. Judging was interesting as everyone sat and waited while I marked the entries for about 2 hours – no pressure at all! After that, we gave presentations at a few other events, all were very well received.


User Testing, Usability, Technical Auditing, Accessibility and Compliance

One of the things I’ve been thinking about while travelling is the issue of user testing and its relationship to technical auditing. I realized that the terms may be a little confusing.

Here are a few definitions to help explain the difference:
  • User testing – testing done by people. At Web Key when we refer to User testing, we are speaking about people with disabilities who are experts with their own methods and assistive technology requirements.This includes screen reader users, text enlargement, use of dyslexic fonts and browser changing, voice activation software, checking for keyboard only navigation and multimedia accessibility for those with disabilities. Generally, we provide some common user journeys and ask our testers to follow the journey – for example “See if you are able to follow the links to determine your bin day”. They then report on the success or lack thereof to complete the journey using their methods and assistive technology
  • Usability – how well something works for the user generally – think UX for developers, Universal Design concepts, or ‘best practice’ ideas.
  • Technical Auditing – very specific auditing of all of the WCAG criteria against each page in the sample.This is a very detailed task and we have it performed completely by two separate testers – a test and cross-test, followed by quality assurance and final approval processes. We use the WCAG-Evaluation Methodology approach approved by W3C. We also test on a variety of browsers and mobile devices as the client wishes.
  • Accessibility – using technical auditing to determine how accessible a digital page, app or other digital document is – specifically for people with disabilities.Think ‘usability for people with disabilities’ and you’ll be on the right track
  • Compliance – using the results of the technical auditing to determine a level of compliance with WCAG 2.0 or WCAG 2.1 to a particular level – we test A, AA and AAA by default.
The end result is to determine how accessible a specific item (for example web page / web site) is for people with disabilities.  We include the actual notes from the user testers, but these do not influence the technical auditing results.  However, for our clients, it is very useful.  They can read the anecdotal evidence from the user tester who might state that they could not complete a user journey because a link was either missing or not labelled.  The client can then look at the technical audit results and see that the Success Criteria for links was recorded as a ‘fail’ as it was not correctly labelled.

If you’ve taken any of our courses, you’ll remember that we use the ‘elevator’ example regularly.

Scenario 1

You are in a wheelchair and get into the elevator – the buttons are at just the right height but have no labels of any kind.  They are accessible – you can get to them, but they aren’t usable – they don’t make sense and you wouldn’t know which one to press.

Scenario 2

You are again in the wheelchair and you get into the elevator – the buttons are beautifully labelled with nice large text as well as Braille.  However, they are located at about the 170 cm level.  They are usable but not accessible – you can’t get to them.

In order for this scenario to work, the buttons need to be at the right height and properly labelled.  It isn’t much good having well-marked buttons if the user can’t reach them. 

Do you want to understand more about User testing, its importance and our approach? Be sure to get in touch. 

Kind regards, and keep working to ‘Unlock the Web’.
Dr. Vivienne Conway
Director, Web Key IT Pty Ltd.

Please note, during the week of November 18-23, Amanda and Vivienne will be in Sydney for the OZeWAI Conference.  If you will be in Sydney during that time and would like to catch up, or if your business is in Sydney and you would like to schedule one of our Learn @ Lunchtime sessions, please contact either Amanda or Vivienne.

Recent News icon of a newspaper

Have you considered taking one of our courses in Digital Accessibility?  Leah Napier, Reader Services Librarian for the Spearwood/Cockburn Libraries said of her experience in the Certificate in Digital Accessibility,

“This is probably the only certificate from a work training course that I actually want to have displayed somewhere at my desk!”

Register your interest in an upcoming course by contacting us at

Looking for Participants for a Research Project

A Curtin University Senior Research Fellow, Dr Anna Hampson Lundh, is currently looking for people who are blind or vision impaired who are willing to be interviewed for an hour about their use of text-to-speech tools, talking books, and other audio-based technologies to read for their postgraduate university studies. If you would like to know more about this research or are interested in participating or forwarding recruitment materials, please contact Anna on or 08 9266 7291

Upcoming Events Green Calendar Icon Graphic

Perth Web Accessibility & Inclusive Design Meetup
27th of November, 2018
Dome Cafe, 149 James Street, Northbridge.
Read more about the Accessibility Meetup group
Or see the new A11y website here!

OZeWAI 2018
21-23rd of November, 2018
ABC Studios, Sydney
Register for OZeWAI or submit a proposal here
16th International Web for All Conference (W4A’19)
13-15th of May, 2019
San Francisco, USA

This year’s theme is "Personalization – Personalizing the Web".
Submissions for papers for the conference are due 27th of January, 2019. All topics related to web accessibility are welcome as are papers dealing with wider aspects of digital accessibility and universal access.
More information about W4A here

W4A is co-located with the 27th International World Wide Web Conference (WWW’19)
More information about WWW'19 here

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If you haven't already, take a look at our Facebook page for daily updates and some excellent accessibility articles and resources, there really is a lot on there. We also have a Twitter feed, as well as LinkedIn. All these links are below for future reference, so have a click around, and share this with your friends.

Please do remember to take a moment to look at our website and as always, we look forward to hearing your thoughts, comments and any feedback you may have!
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