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Usability and Accessibility of WRTG 3306 Syllabus

Isabella Evans
Writing Department
University of Central Arkansas
Conway, AR
Ievans1@cub.uca.edu

AbstractThis document explains why the


WRTG 3306 syllabus is not very usable or
accessible and offers suggestions to fix usability and
accessibility issues.

Also, test users found some of the titles and


subtitles to be misleading or not informative enough.
The titles and subtitles should be made clearer.
Organization
The organization of the document also hinders its
usability. Most test users were confused about the
organization of the document. Most suggested that
the course description should be one of the first
things on the first page of the syllabus. The grade
section and the coursework section should be closer
together.
B.

INTRODUCTION
A syllabus for any class is a valuable tool for a
student. It tells a student what to expect from a class
and what a professor expects from his/her students.
Because a syllabus is so useful, its important to
make the document usable and accessible for all
students.
I.

A series of tests was conducted to determine the


usability and accessibility of the WRTG 3306
syllabus. A number of usability and accessibility
issues were found. Since this course focuses on
usability and accessibility, these issues should be
addressed.
II.

USABILITY

Text
A number of problems were found in text
usability. Many test users thought there was too
much text. The syllabus is a little more than five full
pages long. Students dont want to read something
this long. They just want to find out the most
important things as quickly as possible [1]. To
shorten the text length, one or all of the following
should be implemented:
A.

Delete all text that is not used to explain


important things.

Avoid repeated material

Eliminate jargon

III.

ACCESSIBILITY

Text
Users tested in accessibility found these
problems: tiny text and text too close together. For
the syllabus to be more accessible, the text of the
document should be enhanced, and white space
should be added between sections.
A.

Medium
The document itself is also too busy to be truly
accessible. Different sizes and fonts are used, some
titles are in all caps, other titles are bolded or
italicized, and both bulleted and numbered lists are
used. Its just too much going on in one document
and its hard to tell which things are the most
important.
To avoid all of this confusion, one or all of the
following should be implemented:
Use constant font style throughout
Titles should be significantly bigger than
main text
Choose one size for titles and one size for
main text
B.

Choose either bulleted lists or numbered


lists
Only use bold on titles
Italicize important terms or information

CONCLUSION
A syllabus is an important document for
students, so it is important to make the document
relevant and useful for them. In this course that
focuses on usability and accessibility, the WRTG
3306 syllabus should be a prime example of the
understanding of usability and accessibility.
IV.

Hopefully the issues addressed in this document


will provide a better understanding of how students
currently use the syllabus and how accessible it is to
them. The suggestions offered in this document are
meant to help current and future students and to
make the course look more professional.
[1]

REFERENCES
S. Krug, Dont Make Me Think, Revisited: A
Common Sense Approach to Web Usability
New Riders. United States of America, Third
Edition.