Evaluating Learnability and Accessibility of a Software for Engineers: Case of Model Server Manager (MSM) at Jotne
Learnability and accessibility are fundamental aspects of every system. They are important qualities that make a system easily and quickly usable and understandable by new users as well as users with disabilities. There is a swift growth in the need of ICT-solutions that are learnable and accessible to everyone partly due to Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) and country-specific anti-discrimination laws that require design of accessible ICT systems for all, including persons with disabilities. Beside compliance to the laws, designing products which are easily understandable and usable by larger group of users, including people with disabilities, would establish the competitive advantage of an organization. There have been usability and accessibility guidelines that could be used to ensure accessibility and usability of software and web-based systems. There have also been guidelines specific to learnability proposed by some researchers. This study aims to evaluate learnability and accessibility of a software Model Server Manager (MSM) which is developed by Jotne IT, a company in Norway, and recommend solutions that could improve its learnability and accessibility in future updates of the software. The study used a combination of heuristic evaluation performed by the author and a developer of MSM followed by online interviews with the users of MSM. The data collected was analyzed through thematic analysis. This research found some problems which could be related to the low-level adoption of accessibility guidelines and the requirements for universal design. Some of the problems are easy to fix while the others require some changes in organizational routines. The solutions recommended include development of organizational guidelines, development of heuristics which can be used by developers to ensure accessibility and learnability of future products, and competence development of programmers on accessibility and universal design, these measures could be helpful not only to MSM but also to other drafting tools which are used by engineers.