Monday, September 17, 2007

Journal Review #1: Web Usability

Cook, R. S., Rule, S., & Mariger, H. (2003). Parents’ evaluation of the usability of a web site on recommended practices. Topics in Early Childhood Special Education, 23, 19-27. Retrieved October 8, 2006, from

Based on the need for an accessible, practical, and parent-friendly curriculum on the Internet, the authors designed the Strategies for Preschool Intervention in Everyday Settings for Parents (SPIES) web site that was intended to provide practical information about recommended practices such as activity-based or embedded instruction to families whose young children had disabilities or were at developmental risk. To determine whether the site was an effective tool for disseminating information about recommended practice to families, the authors launched a parents' evaluation of the site.

After three research questions considering the site’s accessibility, practicality, and appropriateness were raised, twenty-one parents from ten states were recruited to conduct an online evaluation of the SPIES site, judging its content and ease of use. The data were analyzed using quantitative and qualitative methods.

Results indicated that the Internet could be an effective medium for disseminating information about recommended practices to families. The parent group found the Web site to be helpful, useful, and responsive to their needs and time constraints. Although they said that textual information was easy to access, some parents did note that they experienced technological problems in downloading video.

From this evaluation, the authors also suggested that a web site providing procedural guidance could complement the provision of direct early intervention services, with content presented in multiple modes and for different learners.

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