Various guides, documents and templates are available to perform usability and accessibility evaluations. However, for daily work we missed a structured integrated tool to manage and centralize the required information for these processes.
In order to solve that need, we have published in our "Descargas" (downloads) section a first version/prototype of AccUsa, which is a supporting and documentation tool for the processes of accessibility and usability engineering. Specifically, it supports the techniques accessibility evaluation and heuristic usability evaluation.
The aim of this tool is not to automate evaluations but to be helpful as a guide for usability and accessibility experts who perform them, as well as being a management and documentation tool for that kind of projects.
This first version is implemented using Microsoft Access; however we don't rule out implementing it on other platforms (like web). It's also intended to integrate other techniques in it (like user testing). If you don't have Access installed, you can download a free runtime version from Microsoft's website.
IMPORTANT: to run the application it's necessary to accept the SECURITY ALERT that appears after opening it. The program code inside the database is only for internal use and never affects the machine it is running on.
As a prototype, you can download and use this tool. We appreciate your contributions (opinions, bugs, suggestions, experiences, etc.) using our e-mail or entering comments to this blog post.
This tool is used internally by us to carry out projects in which we apply certain techniques. In order to save work and keep the tool simple, we have maintained to a large extent the Access native interface for most of the actions (inserting records, updates, deletions, etc.), trying to use self-explained names for elements like tables, fields, etc.
The main screen/forms of the application are the following:
- Projects: management of different projects and their details: elements to evaluate, kind of evaluation, etc.
- Assignments & Issues: details of one specific evaluation/technique and its list of issues.
- Issues (details): details of an issue.
Moreover, to extend the tools it may be necessary to access other auxiliary tables: Experts, Priorities, etc. This can be achieved using the standard Access interface.
This tool has a fake project for evaluating the Spanish Ministerio de Fomento website as sample data.
This is the starting form of the application, and allows one to manage the global data of a project, which is (besides the identifier and the description):
- Project items: representative items to evaluate (pages, sections, screens, etc.).
- Evaluations: kinds of evaluations to perform.
- Heuristics (applied): set of heuristic principles to be used for each kind of evaluation.
- Assignments & Issues: experts responsible for performing the evaluations, and their roles. This tool makes it possible for evaluations to be performed independently by several people, each one with his/her own results which will be consolidate later.
From this subform, by double-clicking the left margin in every assignment, the Assignment & Issues form appears.
Assignments & Issues
With this form it's possible to manage the details of every individual assignment; i.e., individual evaluations and findings carried out by every expert:
- IdProject, Items, EvalType, Heuristics: previously selected in Projects form.
- Tools: set of tools, guidelines, etc. available depending on the kind of evaluation.
- IdExpert, Role, Details: previously selected in Projects form.
- Issues: problems and findings carried out by the expert in this evaluation.
From this subform, by double-clicking the left margin of every issue, a form opens containing its details. Besides that, the button on the right opens a report with all the detected issues.
It includes specific details of every detected issue:
- IdExpert, IdProject, EvaluationType: previously selected in Assignments & Issues form.
- IdItem: the item in which the issue has been detected.
- IssueTitle: short title of the issue.
- Priority: priority of the issue.
- Description: detailed description of the issue.
- Recomms: suggestions to correct the problem.
- Heuristics: heuristic principles or guidelines related to the problem.
- References: references to helpful information to correct the problem.
- PathCapture1, PathCapture2: image files with a sample of the issue.
- PathRecom1, PathRecom2: image files with a sample of the suggested solution.