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Usability & Accessibility in Web Conferencing Tools: A side-by-side comparison. Accessing Higher Ground, 2009. Presenters. Hadi Rangin Web Design & Accessibility Specialist University of Illinois at Urbana/Champaign
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Usability & Accessibility in Web Conferencing Tools: A side-by-side comparison Accessing Higher Ground, 2009
Presenters • Hadi RanginWeb Design & Accessibility SpecialistUniversity of Illinois at Urbana/Champaign • Marc ThompsonInstructional DesignerUniversity of Illinois at Urbana/Champaign
Web Conferencing Tools Compared • Adobe Connect • Elluminate Live • Saba Centra • Talking Communities
Basic Interface Design • Chat area • Participants list • Main display area • Whiteboard • Application sharing • Web tours • Audio control area • Talk button • Volume controls for microphone & speakers
Testing Protocol • Setup & Configuration • Navigation • Styling • Operation (Audio Controls, Chat, Participant’s List, Application Sharing, Co-Browsing)
Setup and Configuration Considerations • Can the application be installed independently? • Can audio settings be configured independently?
Setup and Configuration: Adobe Connect • Connection/speed test result • Random numerical artifacts mixed with numbered results list items • Required Add-in button is not accessible (interactive Flash object) • Results page does not linearize properly • Confirm Install prompt not accessible • Audio Setup Wizard • Not keyboard accessible • Keyboard/screen reader user can’t operate it • Buttons in the wizard can’t gain focus with the keyboard
Setup and Configuration: Elluminate Live • Straightforward installation instructions • Provides clear instructions on how to install Java Access Bridge • Session Participant Agreement is not keyboard accessible
Setup and Configuration: Saba Centra • System check, configuration and installation process are keyboard accessible but not screen reader accessible. • Setup and install process fails while the screen reader program is running.
Setup and Configuration: Talking Communities • Small plugins and straightforward installation. • Installs as a Windows application.
Navigation Considerations • Is the application menu fully keyboard accessible? • Can you perform all available functions via menu system? • Can you move the focus from one major application component to another? • Can all elements in the interface associated with a function be reached with the keyboard? • Are there shortcut keys to frequently used functions? • Is the tabbing order logical? • Do the graphical elements in the interface associated with functions have proper text and do the alt tag for the toggle elements change accordingly?
Navigation: Adobe Connect Many useful shortcut keys are available, but some major functions are still missing (e.g., for chat text entry box) Menu is keyboard accessible, but not to screen reader users. No menu items for accessing the microphone or chat text entry box. No graphics, form controls, or buttons are accessible to screen reader users. Tabbing order is logical and reasonable No keyboard support for pod-to-pod navigation
Navigation: Elluminate Live • Menu system itself is accessible to keyboard and screen reader users. • No navigation mechanism for moving easily between main modules. • No access to functions via menu items (e.g., talk key). • Most graphics & buttons have labels but some could be more effectively labeled.
Navigation: Saba Centra • Many elements in the interface, including the text chat window, do not get keyboard focus. • Some elements on the interface are read by the screen reader when they gain focus, but many are not. • No mechanism for moving easily between major application components, such as Audio Control, Participant List, Agenda, or the Main Window display area.
Navigation: Talking Communities • Fully accessible menu system. • Shortcut keys for moving between major application components. • All application functions are available via the menu system.
Styling Considerations • Can the contrast be changed by user to fit individual preferences? • Can the application font-size and color be changed to fit user's preferences? • Can the application be resized without losing content or styling? • Are items that receive keyboard focus clearly visible? • Does styling for toggle items (i.e., talk and mute buttons) change perceptibly when they are toggled?
Styling: Adobe Connect Default color focus settings are not very visible. Pods are not resizable but can be made visible/hidden via menu. Only administrator can change color Focus Settings Windows High Contrast and Font Size settings can’t be applied.
Styling: Elluminate Live • Focused items need better visual indicators. • Windows can be resized using the keyboard. • Windows High contrast settings can be applied. • No font size increase for text in the Participants List, Chat Area, or Audio Area
Styling: Saba Centra • Focusable elements have poor visibility. • Windows High contrast settings apply unevenly to application components—participants list is not affected, for example, but chat box is. • No font size increase for text in the Participants List, Chat Area, or Audio Area.
Styling: Talking Communities • All standard Windows styling are available (font resizing, zooming, high contrast). • Items are clearly visible when they receive keyboard focus. • Styling for toggle items (e.g., talk and mute buttons) changes perceptibly when they are toggled.
Operation Considerations • Audio control • Can user easily and with certainty operate the microphone? • Chat • Can user easily and with certainty reach the chat entry box and edit the text before submitting it? • Can user access the posted messages, read and copy desired messages? • Participant/Attendee List • Can user easily and quickly find out who are the current participants? • Can user be notified if someone leaves/enters the room? • Can user easily identify status information associated with each user? • Can user easily raise/lower hand?
Operation Considerations, 2 • Application, Desktop, and File Sharing: • Is user notified if application, desktop, and file sharing is being activated/deactivated? • Can user still interact with the web conferencing tool while one of the functions above is active? • Co-Browsing: • Does user receive audible notification if the content of the co-browsing window changes? • Can user easily and quickly switch to the co-browsing window from other session components?
Operation: Adobe Connect • Audio ControlMicrophone control is keyboard accessible but there is no audible notification. • Chat • No audible notification that new chat messages have been posted. • No shortcut key to enter the chat text entry box. • Chat posting area is not accessible. • Attendees List • Keyboard shortcut for raising and lowering your hand and other select operations. • Not accessible to screen reader users. • Application sharing • Graphic mode not accessible • Web Links • Not accessible to screen reader users.
Operation: Elluminate Live • Chat • Chat entry box is keyboard accessible. • No audible notification that new chat messages have been posted. • No screen reader access to posted chat area. • Participant List • Layout table with no keyboard access to user status info. • Not all status icons have proper labels. • Controls for Participants List are not usable.
Application Sharing: Elluminate Live • No audible notification that application sharing has been activated • Graphic mode not accessible • Once it is active, users cannot leave the application sharing area • Web Tour is not accessible (form control with autofocus issue—e.g., Google.com search page).
Operation: Saba Centra • Audio Controls • Shortcut key for Talk button, but no audible indicator. • Chat • No audible notification that new chat messages have been posted. • Chat entry box is not keyboard accessible. • Posted chat text area is not accessible to screen reader users.
Application Sharing and Co-Browsing: Saba Centra • Co-Browser operates as another instance of application sharing (uses graphical mode that is not accessible). • Graphic mode not accessible • No audible notification that application sharing has been activated
Operation: Talking Communities • Audio Control • Visible and configurable talk button with audible indicator. • Volume control and microphone are keyboard accessible. • Chat • Built-in audible chat. • Accessible chat text entry box. • Accessible chat text posting area with selectable copy options. • Participants List • Fully accessible participants list • Text announcement and audible notification when participants join, leave, or talk.
App Sharing & Co-browsing: Talking Communities • Graphic mode not accessible for application sharing • Built-in IE browser • Provides browsing experience identical to IE browser
Summary: Adobe Connect • Adobe Connect supports a fair degree of keyboard accessibility but is still not sufficient for effective interaction by keyboard users. • Not accessible to screen reader users.
Summary – Elluminate Live • Has potential to become accessible • Company is interested in working with us
Summary: Saba Centra • Major accessibility issues for keyboard users. • Not accessible to screen reader users. • We have not yet contacted the company about possible collaboration.
Summary: Talking Communities • Very usable and accessible web conferencing system. • Vendor is proactively involved with accessibility collaboration community.