Executive Summary

People with disabilities were more effective and successful than people without disabilities in task completion. Attitudes of people with disabilities toward the home page were more favorable than those of people without disabilities. On average people with disabilities viewed nearly the same number of pages per task than people without disabilities. However, the time-on-task level of people with disabilities was three times more than for people without disabilities.

Findings are:

  1. CSS luminosity contrast WCAG AA failures exist.
  2. Paragraph text in the carousel on top of textured background image fails WCAG AA luminosity contrast ratio.
  3. Small font size was problematic for test participants with motor impairments.
  4. Cluttered design negatively impacted task completion for people without disabilities.
  5. Excessive amount of scrolling was problematic for people without disabilities.
  6. The carousel is ineffective in presenting important content.

These issues can be resolved by increasing contrast, increasing font sizes, reducing clutter, reducing scrolling, and not using the carousel for important information or removing it.

For the task of locating the admissions form, people without disabilities took on average 28 seconds with a failure rate of 42%. They simply gave up or failed. People with disabilities had a much lower failure rate of 14% because of accessibility coding improvements made after the October 2013 test, which resulted in reduced clutter for that user group. A 42% failure rate is unacceptable as usability guideline 6.1 suggests avoiding cluttered displays in order to increase success rate. The majority of web users today are notoriously impatient and fickle - if they are frustrated, they will quickly go somewhere else and likely not return. For a university site trying to increase enrollment, this is a serious concern.


Two main groups tested the UMD home page: people with disabilities (Test Group A) and people without disabilities (Test Group B).

14 people with disabilities completed the study. They were derived from Knowbility's Accessworks database. 100% of participants described themselves as having intermediate to advanced Assistive Technology (AT) proficiency. Table 1 provides details of this group.

26 people without disabilities completed the study. They were derived from Admissions, the ITSS TechCenter, and the Beta Bulldogs group. Table 2 provides details of this group.

Testing took place February 13 to March 17, 2014 via an accessible online remote testing tool, Loop11. The same eight task/scenarios were presented to each participant, for example: locate the "Register for Classes link". Participants were asked the same likert scale questions to obtain ease of locating information and satisfaction levels. The testing tool recorded task completion rate, time on task, common fail pages, paths taken, and answers to questions.