The survey design complies with the accessibility recommendations on format and writing. For this to be fulfilled, and before sending the surveys to the associations, a test survey was designed. The test survey was sent to three associations and the recommendations offered by the expert staff were recorded. When the three centers approved the format and the writing, it was sent to the 87 associations planned.
3.1.1. Survey Design Methodology
The design and structure of this survey is the result of work and consultations with a lot of associations. A series of published guidelines were obtained for the preparation of the survey form too. The purpose of these guidelines is to improve the format and content [16
]. Our main difficulty was the use of appropriate language and wording understandable by the interested users, so we also sought advice from specialized personnel. For example, they told us what kind of questions more easily answered and what number of answers are appropriate. It was preferred to use the same communication scheme used by the associations to avoid disorienting users when accessing information and answering forms. The review by the staff of the different associations has been very useful.
The tests were in paper format, not online. The first survey design was reviewed by an expert in the creation of teaching materials. Since the survey was part of the investigation and we were not sure if the theoretical recommendations would be useful, trial and error tests were made with several participants. This helped to adjust the writing, until the questions could be answered autonomously by a specific profile. There were 25 participants who fulfilled the study profile. They participated only in the survey tests, not in the web tests or in eye tracking tests. A series of new recommendations were collected. The surveys were modified and considered valid. With the new survey format all participants responded without any use problems:
Text was left justified, and not centered, to avoid confusing the users with the space between words.
White background and dark gray letters were used, instead of black, to prevent the text from causing blurring. Color was only used on the cover, as a persuasive method. Do not forget that participation is voluntary.
The questions were written using secondary language, avoiding technicalities, complex words, or redundancies. Double meaning is not used either, the sentences are literal and short (less than 15 words).
Serif typography is used, avoiding italics and using the bold font to highlight the text. The typeface used is Sans Serif.
The survey is divided into four different sections that motivate its completion.
A form that collects data to establish the sample characteristics (sex, age, level of studies, etc.). Personal information such as name, city or school was not collected in any of the cases. The field is by selection, so the respondent must select one of the proposed answers.
A form that assesses the difficulty level of different computer activities based on four variables (never, sometimes, many times or always). The field is by selection, so the respondent must select one of the proposed answers. The results of these types of questions are useful to find out if users have obvious access difficulties and if they are aware of them. It must be remembered that the surveys are answered by the interested parties, so that in these reports it is expected to find problems identified by the users.
Open space that collects the most navigated portals. The field is free form.
Alternative space to provide complementary data. The field is free form. This field was not obligatory and nevertheless 48% of the respondents answered it voluntarily.
All questions offer a section of alternative answers so that users can respond differently to the questionnaire. For example, a free copy space is included in the fields in which the respondent must select one of the proposed options. In this way the respondent can respond either by selecting the option that interests them, or by writing their own answers:
Multiple choice type answers, with a maximum of six possible answers.
Various shipping formats, paper and digital format with auto response boxes were offered.
3.1.2. Methodology to Increase the Participation in the Survey Results
The surveys are sent to 87 Spanish Down syndrome-related associations and was answered by 112 voluntary users (67% of the eligible candidates contacted). It is important to emphasize that to participate not only must the user agree, but also his/her family. Both the tests and the survey required proof of project approval signed by the families.
There was no age limit, however there was a greater number of participants between 15–35 years old. The average age of the participants was 17 and the deviation is 26. It is not surprising that this has been the most prominent age range. On the one hand, students with Down syndrome have access to secondary school with several levels of curricular lag. This means that they enter secondary school with at least 15 years old. In secondary school, TIC competence is compulsory, so it is logical that those are students are interested in computers. On the other hand, the number of students enrolled in advanced courses, such as vocational training, has increased considerably since 2008. The insertion in the labor market demands that workers have skills in new technologies (telephones, PDAs, computers). For this reason, it is understandable that there is a high number of people under 35 years of age was interested in participating in the survey.
It is important that the users be able to respond to the survey without any help. However, there was always an assistant. The assistant should only clarify doubts about the questions or serve as a guide as to how to respond. The assistant cannot give the answers. Participants did not receive any help to collect information related to their writing, expressions, etc., directly from them.
3.1.3. Survey Results
, Table 2
, Table 3
and Table 4
shows the statistics of the participants’ data. The surveys show that 3.5% of people with Down syndrome use the Internet daily, 40% of whom need to use the Internet at school or at work. This is a significant fact, considering that the figure does not depart much from the total percentage of people with Down syndrome between 15–35 years old, 78.57%. It could be concluded therefore that more than 50% of people with Down syndrome in the 15–35 years old age group need to use the Internet daily. We know that the trisomy of chromosome 21 causes a series of symptoms that directly affect ones Internet browsing capabilities [17
shows the statistics of the day-to-day activity questions. That is, questions that a priori are not related to the Internet. Many of these answers served as motivation for the study. For example, of the total number of volunteers, there are 17% of users who suffer navigation problems daily and 5% of people who cannot use the Internet due to access problems. There is 18% of people with Down syndrome who feel discriminated against when they participate in activities that require the use of a computer. This figure is important, since it differs greatly from the percentage of people who usually feel discriminated against because of their disability (6%, Figure 2
and Figure 3
). That is, there is a 12% of people who do not feel discriminated against on a regular basis but feel discriminated when the activities are related to the computer [16
shows the statistics of the questions about Internet use. It should be noted that the answers were given by the participants themselves. This means that they are not objective answers, but rather personal appreciations about their abilities.
In the web tests we were able to obtain more objective statistics about competencies, based on actual results, not assumptions. Some users mention the technology they used. Only 1% use adaptive tools, such as accessible mice or keyboards.
Thanks to these results we adjusted the tests. For example, in color tests the screen configuration responses gave us the idea of including an additional web test. This test consisted of an adaptable menu for simple changes of the webpage appearance, for example, the color of the background, the color of the buttons, etc.
The most visited websites were YouTube, administration websites, medical services websites. The most used search engine is Google. In this paper, percentages are not included on the most used website because the field of answers was free form. These data serve as motivation for future tests.
The results of the surveys were compared with the recommendations proposed by the WCAI and useful conclusions were drawn for the design of the next test.
The percentage of respondents who work or had worked was 46%. In the autonomous communities of Spain there are a series of job options oriented to the workforce insertion of people with Down Syndrome. These jobs include baker’s assistant, janitor assistant, operator, sales assistant, service assistant, telephone operator, etc. Many of these professions require the use of Personal Digital Assistants (PDAs) and other technological tools. According to the surveys, 23.2% of the users experienced daily problems to learn how to use technological tools. In addition, 48.2% of respondents found it difficult to find tools or buttons without help or supervision.
From the results of the surveys it is concluded that only 15.2% of users need help almost always to maintain or change body posture. Although it mainly refers to users older than 55 years, this data is useful with the eye tracking test. Just in case, for this test we have a help person.
From the results of the surveys it is concluded that 51.8% of the users have problems with the keyboard and that 26% usually have problems with the mouse. This problem may be due to a cognitive deficit, rather than a motor deficit. These data are useful for the development of the tests. For example, in the text link test, the working time is measured using only the mouse. In all web browsing tests, the use of the keyboard is avoided, except in those in which the use of the keyboard is tested.
According to the surveys, 69.6% of respondents need more time to perform tasks related to the Internet, of which 42% require more time in all or almost all their connections. These data are useful for visible stopwatch tests.
According to the surveys, 51.1% of the respondents presented difficulties during the reading, 23.2% said that they had difficulties always or almost always. Approximately 55.3% find it difficult to express themselves through abstract language. These data are useful in the iconography tests.
According to the results, 74.1% of respondents said they make mistakes while performing tasks through the computer. There was a 25% who made mistakes always or almost always. Providing information about how to correct errors allows people with Down Syndrome to fill out forms and identify and correct their mistakes while browsing.
According to surveys, 9% of users have problems with the colors of the web. This has been considered for background and text color tests, and for button color tests.
Although only 11% believe they present common problems reproducing a multimedia element, it was considered useful to perform tests to verify this claim. There is a 20% that manifests having problems with reading a web page. Typography tests were therefore carried out.