User experience (UX) is a current approach to human-computer interaction (HCI). With a conceptual change from usability to UX, HCI professionals encounter new challenges in handling this evolution in interaction design. In recent times, researchers have focused on measuring UX in web applications, specifically with respect to the pragmatic aspects that emerge during online interactions.
An increase in the number of people with disabilities seeking access to various resources available on the web has resulted in an increased number of UX problems. UX assessment is not restricted to certain classes of users. Instead, we observed a strong trend toward universal design that aims to achieve a good UX for all classes of users. In the literature, researchers have focused on two areas: investigating the emotions of blind users by comparing the UX for accessible and inaccessible websites, and investigating UXs for new web design trends. UX is applicable to several contexts and different purposes; however, it is mainly used in mobile platforms.
For example, UX systems that address the development of new responsive interfaces have been evaluated using a participatory design method through ethnographic studies.1 In general, the emergence of new web trends, including responsive web design (RWD, has triggered the need for new studies to measure UX on different devices. In one study, the authors measured and evaluated the effects of RWD in UX for web system notebook and smartphone usage.2 The results indicated that RWD for smartphones provided a better UX than RWD for notebooks. However, for most of the metrics collected in this study, UXs did not significantly differ for the two types of devices; that is, RWD had a similar effect on UXs and attitudes for both types of devices. Another study evaluated the quality of UX on mobile devices.3 Results showed that RWD maintains the quality of UX regarding functionality, readability, and enjoyment during interactions; however, the quality of UX deteriorates regarding information architecture. Some studies have investigated the mood of users during interactions; they have enumerated factors related to efficiency and efficacy when confronted with barriers caused by noncompliance with accessibility guidelines.4
One study correlated emotional aspects with efficiency and efficacy for two websites, one accessible and another inaccessible, and concluded that accessible websites achieve better results than inaccessible websites. The authors of another study investigated the correlation between emotional aspects and efficiency, and they identified the frustrations of blind users during interactions with websites and web applications.5 In another study, the authors presented an empirical study of the problems encountered by 32 blind users during web interactions.6 The users performed tasks on 16 websites, yielding 1,383 instances of blind-user problems. Their results showed that web designs do not incorporate Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 correctly; further, even when the guidelines are correctly implemented, there is little indication that blind users will encounter fewer problems.
In a scientific study, researchers analyzed reports related to the main problems faced by visually impaired users when using a website.7 They concluded that some of the problems (such as user frustration) encountered during user interactions are not addressed by accessibility guidelines; therefore, a new approach to resolve them is required. Another study reported that 45 percent of the problems encountered by the visually impaired during user interactions are related not to any violation of accessibility guidelines, but to usability and emotional aspects.2 Helen Petrie and Omar Kheir investigated the relationship between accessibility and usability for blind and sighted users.8 Their results contradict previous research results.
They concluded that accessibility problems are not a complete subset of usability problems, as suggested by Jim Thatcher and his colleagues,9 nor are usability problems a complete subset of accessibility problems, as could be inferred from Ben Shneiderman.10 The results of the study by Petrie and Kheir unveil the need for a more detailed analysis of the nature of the problems faced by blind users and sighted users, and of the problems common to both user groups.