Evaluating Groupware Accessibility

  • John G. Schoeberlein
  • Yuanqiong (Kathy) Wang
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 5616)


Accessibility has been one of the biggest problems that people with disabilities face in the work place, due to today’s rapid change in computer technology. This paper presents the evaluation of several console-based and web-based groupware applications including Outlook, AIM, Google Blog, and Group System’s ThinkTank in terms of their accessibility. These applications were evaluated for accessibility based on various characteristics of the applications such as accessible front-end, hierarchy or list structures, input support, output support; screen reader adaptability; and keyboard access. Additionally, web-based groupware applications were evaluated using Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) and U.S. Government’s Section 508 guidelines. Fujitsu’s Web Accessibility Inspector tool was also utilized to help evaluate the web-based applications. It is found that groupware applications have very limited accessibility through the support of keyboard access. Additional audio support and flattened hierarchies should be considered, to enable some persons with disabilities easy access to groupware applications. Future research should include persons with disabilities in evaluating groupware applications, to determine preferences. Since many groupware applications provide Application Program Interfaces (API), custom front-ends should be developed to include audio content and to flatten hierarchies and lists.


CSCW Groupware accessibility blind visually impaired dyslexia user Interface and assistive technology 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • John G. Schoeberlein
    • 1
  • Yuanqiong (Kathy) Wang
    • 1
  1. 1.Towson UniversityMarylandUSA

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