Human-Computer Interaction: Communication, Cooperation, and Application Design

By Hans-Jörg Bullinger; Jürgen Ziegler | Go to book overview

Commercial Web Sites Made Accessible for All

Jean Vanderdonckt Université catholique de Louvain Institut d'Administration et de Gestion Place des Doyens, 1 -- B-1348 Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium Tel: 10-478525, Fax: 10-478324 E-mail: vanderdonckt+AEA-qant.ucl.ac.be


1 Introduction

By definition, a commercial web site refers to any site providing people with remote merchant products and services. The final goal of these web sites is to sell these products and services to any potential visitor. They typically support interactive tasks in both the professional domain, such as trading, brokering, filtering, consulting, teleshopping, and electronic commerce, and the private domain: self or home banking (e.g., account management, cash deposit and transfer), insurance management (e.g., follow-up of a current insurance policy), on-line shopping (e.g., buying a gift), etc.

In the wide spectrum of web sites, commercial web sites are probably the most exposed to a population diversity having multiple profiles and goals in mind and thus the most subject to the vision of Towards an Information Society for All.

Due to this diversity, this population experiences some trouble using commerU+00A- cial web sites so that they could reach a point where they consider them as inacU+00A- cessible for several reasons: lack of understandability, unsuitability, lack of user guidance, no consideration of individual parameters, no consideration of special needs, limited flexibility towards the user's goals, variety of computing platU+00A- forms and, more recently, variety of web terminals. Especially the last reason is traditionally taken into account by applying the principle User Interfaces for All ( Stephanidis et al., 1998a) stating that a web site user interface should be adapted to the needs of the largest population majority: with respect to this meaning, a single, unique user interface is to be designed that can be adapted to the individual profile As new web terminals and services are becoming available

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