Citation: Aizpurua, A., Harper, S., & Vigo, M. (2016). Exploring the relationship between web accessibility and user experience. International Journal of Human-Computer Studies, 19: 13-23 (Note: page numbers below are from the preprint version of the article)
This article argues that web accessibility and user experience are closely related, although it does not find a significant correlation between adherence to WCAG 2.0 and many of the desirable elements of user experience of a website.
The bulk of the article describes the results of a study of eleven blind web users’ experience with local restaurant websites. Pages from these sites were organized into highly accessible and poorly accessible, based on the Barrier Walkthrough method and the AA conformance level of WCAG 2.0 (p. 8). The test participants were then given three tasks to complete on each website, and rated these tasks with words from the “emotion word prompt list”: annoyed, bored, confident, confused, disappointed, frustrated, happy, interested, hopeful, pleased and unsure (p. 10). Participants also rated the websites themselves with the “Attracdiff” tool, which “consists of a set of 23 word pairs reflecting opposite adjectives that can be rated on a 7-point scale,” e.g. “complicated/simple” (p. 11).
Findings of the study included that accessible sites were more likely to be rated with positive emotions and positive adjectives by non-sighted users, and that inaccessible sites were more likely to be rated with negative ones. They further suggest that it may be possible to reverse engineer the process and determine some level of the sight’s accessibility by gauging its perceived usability–although they do not go into detail about this, and it certainly shouldn’t be considered a viable alternative to accessibility testing.