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A framework and checklist for localised Web content accessibility guidelines for Arabic university Websites in Saudi Arabia

A framework and checklist for localised Web content accessibility guidelines for Arabic university Websites in Saudi Arabia
A framework and checklist for localised Web content accessibility guidelines for Arabic university Websites in Saudi Arabia
The number of government universities in Saudi Arabia has increased dramatically from 7 to 28 in the last two decades. As a result, the number of university websites has also increased, but without any clear guidelines regarding accessibility, which may hinder some disabled users from benefiting from their content. Internationally, a number of initiatives such as Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) have been implemented to develop guidelines for web accessibility to overcome this problem. However, these guidelines were developed in Western countries and applying them to Arabic websites can raise further accessibility issues, for example, those related to culture and language. This problem has been recognised by a number of researchers who recommend adapting the guidelines to the Arabic context and there have been initiatives by different bodies to improve the status of web accessibility in this region of the world. However, their work has a number of limitations and shortcomings that need to be overcome. The Yesser document provided by the Saudi government had a number of shortcomings, which included: providing accessibility guidelines not designed for the Arabic language and issuing no apparent update since publication in 2006. The initiative to translate the web accessibility guidelines into Arabic suffered from a number of weaknesses, such as: incomplete and inconsistent translation and using unfamiliar and inaccurate Arabic words in translation. Other initiatives were very limited and did not investigate the localisation to the Arabic context and its in influence on web accessibility.

The current study set out to localise the existing accessibility guidelines into a form and content acceptable and easy to use by the developers of Saudi university websites, and thus raise the accessibility and suitability of these websites for Arab users with disabilities. The plan to achieve this aim was designed in three main phases, the first phase started by developing a new framework for localising web content accessibility guidelines for university websites in Saudi Arabia (FLWCAG). This framework was derived from the literature and validated through semi-structured interviews with 18 experts, 12 of whom were Saudi university website developers, Three experts were researchers in web accessibility in Saudi universities, while the remaining three experts were Arabs working with people with special needs. Overall, the experts supported the proposed framework, and the validity of the components in the framework was assured through triangulating the literature, the quantitative results and the qualitative results.

In the second phase, FLWCAG was applied through a process of four stages to localise web content accessibility guidelines and success criteria. An online questionnaire was designed and conducted with experts in the field of the study to review the outcome from the localisation process. The results from the 60 respondents confirmed the importance of all the success criteria, after analysing the questionnaire results by a one-sample t-test.

The last phase aimed at developing a checklist, called Wosool, based on the reviewed guidelines and success criteria from Phase Two. Wosool was developed to provide support to Arab web developers in evaluating and improving the accessibility of Arabic university websites. Interviews were designed and conducted with 15 Saudi university website developers to review the checklist. The results were positive, the developers confirmed that Wosool's items were understood, clear and easy to use. The research contributes to the body of knowledge in the fields of web accessibility and localisation, theoretically, methodologically, and practically. It also confirms that the culture of the target users has an effect on web content accessibility and the guidelines required, and that following such guidelines would result in better understanding, perceiving and navigating the web content, and hence raise the accessibility levels.
University of Southampton
Alayed, Asmaa S.
cef7ee2b-0299-465b-8f73-3632ec11b41f
Alayed, Asmaa S.
cef7ee2b-0299-465b-8f73-3632ec11b41f
Wald, Michael
90577cfd-35ae-4e4a-9422-5acffecd89d5

Alayed, Asmaa S. (2018) A framework and checklist for localised Web content accessibility guidelines for Arabic university Websites in Saudi Arabia. University of Southampton, Doctoral Thesis, 307pp.

Record type: Thesis (Doctoral)

Abstract

The number of government universities in Saudi Arabia has increased dramatically from 7 to 28 in the last two decades. As a result, the number of university websites has also increased, but without any clear guidelines regarding accessibility, which may hinder some disabled users from benefiting from their content. Internationally, a number of initiatives such as Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) have been implemented to develop guidelines for web accessibility to overcome this problem. However, these guidelines were developed in Western countries and applying them to Arabic websites can raise further accessibility issues, for example, those related to culture and language. This problem has been recognised by a number of researchers who recommend adapting the guidelines to the Arabic context and there have been initiatives by different bodies to improve the status of web accessibility in this region of the world. However, their work has a number of limitations and shortcomings that need to be overcome. The Yesser document provided by the Saudi government had a number of shortcomings, which included: providing accessibility guidelines not designed for the Arabic language and issuing no apparent update since publication in 2006. The initiative to translate the web accessibility guidelines into Arabic suffered from a number of weaknesses, such as: incomplete and inconsistent translation and using unfamiliar and inaccurate Arabic words in translation. Other initiatives were very limited and did not investigate the localisation to the Arabic context and its in influence on web accessibility.

The current study set out to localise the existing accessibility guidelines into a form and content acceptable and easy to use by the developers of Saudi university websites, and thus raise the accessibility and suitability of these websites for Arab users with disabilities. The plan to achieve this aim was designed in three main phases, the first phase started by developing a new framework for localising web content accessibility guidelines for university websites in Saudi Arabia (FLWCAG). This framework was derived from the literature and validated through semi-structured interviews with 18 experts, 12 of whom were Saudi university website developers, Three experts were researchers in web accessibility in Saudi universities, while the remaining three experts were Arabs working with people with special needs. Overall, the experts supported the proposed framework, and the validity of the components in the framework was assured through triangulating the literature, the quantitative results and the qualitative results.

In the second phase, FLWCAG was applied through a process of four stages to localise web content accessibility guidelines and success criteria. An online questionnaire was designed and conducted with experts in the field of the study to review the outcome from the localisation process. The results from the 60 respondents confirmed the importance of all the success criteria, after analysing the questionnaire results by a one-sample t-test.

The last phase aimed at developing a checklist, called Wosool, based on the reviewed guidelines and success criteria from Phase Two. Wosool was developed to provide support to Arab web developers in evaluating and improving the accessibility of Arabic university websites. Interviews were designed and conducted with 15 Saudi university website developers to review the checklist. The results were positive, the developers confirmed that Wosool's items were understood, clear and easy to use. The research contributes to the body of knowledge in the fields of web accessibility and localisation, theoretically, methodologically, and practically. It also confirms that the culture of the target users has an effect on web content accessibility and the guidelines required, and that following such guidelines would result in better understanding, perceiving and navigating the web content, and hence raise the accessibility levels.

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Published date: March 2018

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 418816
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/418816
PURE UUID: 5a278b9f-e299-4238-a33d-2f5153916be9

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 23 Mar 2018 17:30
Last modified: 13 Mar 2019 18:43

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Contributors

Author: Asmaa S. Alayed
Thesis advisor: Michael Wald

University divisions

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