MySchoolDayOnline: Applying universal design principles to the development of a fully accessible online scheduling tool for students with visual impairments

This article presents the universal design features that were identified during the alpha development of a scheduler software program, known as MySchoolDayOnline, for use in schools, and provides preliminary research on the usability of these features. The study presented here investigated the accessibility and usability of MySchoolDayOnline for students with visual impairments. Of the 12 high school students who participated in the field testing, 10 were blind (those with light perception or no light perception) and used a screen-reading program (JAWS for Windows) to access their computers, and two had low vision (those who met the definition of legal blindness) and accessed the computer screen using MySchoolDayOnline's screen-enlargement system. The students worked individually or in dyads at eight computers. The results of the study showed that students preferred MySchoolDayOnline and were more successful using it than Microsoft Outlook. Despite the difficulty experienced with Outlook, one dyad was able to complete all tasks using Outlook, which indicates that the program is accessible but not usable. It was interesting to note that the students with low vision who accessed Outlook visually had as many problems and performed equivalently to the students who were blind and used JAWS to access Outlook, although the small number of students precludes generalizing the findings to a larger population. (Contains 2 tables.) This article has implications for assistive technology.

Author: 
Sapp, W.
Year: 
2007
Source: 
Journal of Visual Impairment & Blindness, 101(5), 301-307.
Type: 
Related Research
IDEA Disability Category: 
visual impairment
Instructional Support: 
multimedia products and projects
organize and plan