New York Times Website Accessibility Evaluation


The Idea

This New York Times website accessibility evaluation was a group effort undertaken in a research methods class to create a news site that would be more accessible to older adults. This demographic is the largest growing group of internet users. We collected both qualitative and quantitative results, then outlined several ways the New York Times could modify their existing web resources to build a site that would build upon the strengths of older adults.

User Research

Project Goals

  • Determine the accessibility and usability of the New York Times site.
  • Make recommendations from our findings to improve accessibility and usability.
  • Fully utilize rich media offering text, audio, video and info-graphics.

Testing Methods

  • Functional Accessibility Evaluator Tool – Generated quantitative feedback for website accessibility.
  • Focus Group – Met with 6 participants ages 65 years or older for a 2 hour session to use the current site and discuss its usability.

User Feedback

  • "It’s difficult to read the page." - High information density.
  • "The text is too small and light." - Text size not accessible.
  • "The layout is cluttered." - Unclear information heirarchy.
  • "There is too much scrolling on the home screen." - High entry cost.
  • "It’s hard for me to share interesting articles." - Minimal social sharing features.

The Design

Design Goals

  • Improve page readability by streamlining the site architecture.
  • Customize reading settings for range of user abilities.

Design Recommendations

Text Readability

The problem: Participants still had trouble reading the font.
The recommendation: Use a sans-serif font. Change the font color from dark grey to black.

Simplified Architecture

The problem: Participants were overwhelmed by the number of site categories.
The recommendation: Reduce the number of top-level categories to around 13. 13 is mean and median of categories on most major news outlets.

Category View

The problem: Participants had difficulty parsing dense, nested information.
The recommendation: Older adults prefer category views. Create a prominent link for a categories view near the top of the main page.

Current Site

Proposed Category View

The Presentation

  Download Final Presentation