Forums and Chats Accessibility Evaluation

Image of the different words which are related to forums and chats.

Introduction

Today, many educational centers combine their traditional learning based on face-to-face classes and web-based electronic learning (e-learning). Furthermore, these centers use collaborative learning tools to communicate and collaborate between students and instructors. Some of the most important collaborative tools are Chats and Forums. However, they present accessibility problems which do not allow some users use these tools.

Evaluation

Four of the most common learning content management systems (Atutor, Claroline, dotLrn and Moodle) were selected in order to evaluate the accessibility of their chats and forums. A heuristic evaluation was carried out from the point of view of WCAG 2.0 (AA conformance level) and ATAG 2.0 guidelines. The WCAG heuristic evaluation was performed automatically (TAW and Hera tools), semi-automatically (WAVE tools) and manually. On the other hand, the ATAG evaluation was performed exclusively in a semi-automatic (WAVE tool) and manual way because there was not any automatic tool to evaluate ATAG guidelines.

Problems

After performing the evaluation, many accessibility problems were detected such as: the focus is not visible always, the color contrast is not enough, some information cannot be accessed through keyboard and so on. The whole information related to the evaluation process can be found in the Output section.

Duration

Eight months (2012)

Team

Beatriz Iglesias
Almudena Gil
Rocío Calvo
Ana Iglesias

Applied Skills and Methods

Heuristic Evaluation
Automatic Tools
Semi-automatic Tools
ATAG 2.0
WCAG 2.0

Outputs

Conference Articles: "Are Chats and Forums accessible in e-learning systems? A heuristic evaluation comparing four Learning Content Management Systems" and "Accessibility evaluation of Chats and Forums in e-learning environments"
Poster Conference: Download the poster of ITiCSe