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Website Developmemt Technologies: A Review

Abstract: Service Science is that the basis of knowledge system and net services that judge to the provider/client model. This paper developments a technique which will be utilized in the event of net services like websites, net applications and eCommerce. The goal is to development a technique that may add structure to a extremely unstructured drawback to help within the development and success of net services. The new methodology projected are going to be referred to as {the net|the online|the net} Development Life Cycle (WDLC) and tailored from existing methodologies and applied to the context of web development. This paper can define well the projected phases of the WDLC. Keywords: Web Development, Application Development, Technologies, eCommerce.

Analysis of Russian Segment of the Web Development Market Operating Online on Upwork

The Russian segment of the web services market in the online environment, on the platform of the Upwork freelance exchange, is considered, its key characteristics, the composition of participants, development trends are highlighted, and the market structure is identified. It is found that despite the low barriers to entry, the web development market is very stable, since the composition of entrenched firms that have been operating for more than six years remains. The pricing policy of most Russian companies indicates that they work in the middle price segment and have low budgets, which is due to the specifics of the foreign market and high competition.

Farming Assistant Web Services: Agricultor

Abstract: Our farming assistant web services provides assistance to new as well as establish farmers to get the solutions to dayto-day problems faced in the field. A farmer gets to connect with other farmers throughout India to get more information about a particular crop which is popular in other states. Keywords: Farmers, Assistance, Web Development

Tradução de ementas e histórico escolar para o inglês: contribuição para participação de discentes do curso técnico em informática para internet integrado ao ensino médio em programas de mobilidade acadêmica / Translation of summary and school records into english: contribution to the participation of high school with associate technical degree on web development students in academic mobility programs

Coded websites vs wordpress websites.

This document gives multiple instructions related to web developers using older as well as newer technology. Websites are being created using newer technologies like wordpress whereas on the other hand many people prefer making websites using the traditional way. This document will clear the doubt whether an individual should use wordpress websites or coded websites according to the users convenience. The Responsiveness of the websites, the use of CMS nowadays, more and more up gradation of technologies with SEO, themes, templates, etc. make things like web development much much easier. The aesthetics, the culture, the expressions, the features all together add up in order make the designing and development a lot more efficient and effective. Digital Marketing has a tremendous growth over the last two years and yet shows no signs of stopping, is closely related with the web development environment. Nowadays all businesses are going online due to which the impact of web development has become such that it has become an integral part of any online business.

Cognitive disabilities and web accessibility: a survey into the Brazilian web development community

Cognitive disabilities include a diversity of conditions related to cognitive functions, such as reading, understanding, learning, solving problems, memorization and speaking. They differ largely from each other, making them a heterogeneous complex set of disabilities. Although the awareness about cognitive disabilities has been increasing in the last few years, it is still less than necessary compared to other disabilities. The need for an investigation about this issue is part of the agenda of the Challenge 2 (Accessibility and Digital Inclusion) from GranDIHC-Br. This paper describes the results of an online exploratory survey conducted with 105 web development professionals from different sectors to understand their knowledge and barriers regarding accessibility for people with cognitive disabilities. The results evidenced three biases that potentially prevent those professionals from approaching cogni-tive disabilities: strong organizational barriers; difficulty to understand user needs related to cognitive disabilities; a knowledge gap about web accessibility principles and guidelines. Our results confirmed that web development professionals are unaware about cognitive disabilities mostly by a lack of knowledge about them, even if they understand web accessibility in a technical level. Therefore, we suggest that applied research studies focus on how to fill this knowledge gap before providing tools, artifacts or frameworks.

PERANCANGAN WEB RESPONSIVE UNTUK SISTEM INFORMASI OBAT-OBATAN

A good information system must not only be neat, effective, and resilient, but also must be user friendly and up to date. In a sense, it is able to be applied to various types of electronic devices, easily accessible at any whereand time (real time), and can be modified according to user needs in a relatively easy and simple way. Information systems are now needed by various parties, especially in the field of administration and sale of medicines for Cut Nyak Dhien Hospital. During this time, recording in books has been very ineffective and caused many problems, such as difficulty in accessing old data, asa well as the information obtained was not real time. To solve it, this research raises the theme of the appropriate information system design for the hospital concerned, by utilizing CSS Bootstrap framework and research methodology for web development, namely Web Development Life Cycle. This research resulted in a responsive system by providing easy access through desktop computers, tablets, and smartphones so that it would help the hospital in the data processing process in real time.

Web Development and performance comparison of Web Development Technologies in Node.js and Python

“tom had us all doing front-end web development”: a nostalgic (re)imagining of myspace, assessment of site classifications according to layout type in web development, export citation format, share document.

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A Literature Review: Website Design and User Engagement

Renee garett.

1 ElevateU, Los Angeles, CA, USA

Sean D. Young

2 University of California Institute for Prediction Technology, Department of Family Medicine, University of California, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA, USA

3 UCLA Center for Digital Behavior, Department of Family Medicine, University of California, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA, USA

Proper design has become a critical element needed to engage website and mobile application users. However, little research has been conducted to define the specific elements used in effective website and mobile application design. We attempt to review and consolidate research on effective design and to define a short list of elements frequently used in research. The design elements mentioned most frequently in the reviewed literature were navigation, graphical representation, organization, content utility, purpose, simplicity, and readability. We discuss how previous studies define and evaluate these seven elements. This review and the resulting short list of design elements may be used to help designers and researchers to operationalize best practices for facilitating and predicting user engagement.

1. INTRODUCTION

Internet usage has increased tremendously and rapidly in the past decade ( “Internet Use Over Time,” 2014 ). Websites have become the most important public communication portal for most, if not all, businesses and organizations. As of 2014, 87% of American adults aged 18 or older are Internet users ( “Internet User Demographics,” 2013 ). Because business-to-consumer interactions mainly occur online, website design is critical in engaging users ( Flavián, Guinalíu, & Gurrea, 2006 ; Lee & Kozar, 2012 ; Petre, Minocha, & Roberts, 2006 ). Poorly designed websites may frustrate users and result in a high “bounce rate”, or people visiting the entrance page without exploring other pages within the site ( Google.com, 2015 ). On the other hand, a well-designed website with high usability has been found to positively influence visitor retention (revisit rates) and purchasing behavior ( Avouris, Tselios, Fidas, & Papachristos, 2003 ; Flavián et al., 2006 ; Lee & Kozar, 2012 ).

Little research, however, has been conducted to define the specific elements that constitute effective website design. One of the key design measures is usability ( International Standardization Organization, 1998 ). The International Standardized Organization (ISO) defines usability as the extent to which users can achieve desired tasks (e.g., access desired information or place a purchase) with effectiveness (completeness and accuracy of the task), efficiency (time spent on the task), and satisfaction (user experience) within a system. However, there is currently no consensus on how to properly operationalize and assess website usability ( Lee & Kozar, 2012 ). For example, Nielson associates usability with learnability, efficiency, memorability, errors, and satisfaction ( Nielsen, 2012 ). Yet, Palmer (2002) postulates that usability is determined by download time, navigation, content, interactivity, and responsiveness. Similar to usability, many other key design elements, such as scannability, readability, and visual aesthetics, have not yet been clearly defined ( Bevan, 1997 ; Brady & Phillips, 2003 ; Kim, Lee, Han, & Lee, 2002 ), and there are no clear guidelines that individuals can follow when designing websites to increase engagement.

This review sought to address that question by identifying and consolidating the key website design elements that influence user engagement according to prior research studies. This review aimed to determine the website design elements that are most commonly shown or suggested to increase user engagement. Based on these findings, we listed and defined a short list of website design elements that best facilitate and predict user engagement. The work is thus an exploratory research providing definitions for these elements of website design and a starting point for future research to reference.

2. MATERIALS AND METHODS

2.1. selection criteria and data extraction.

We searched for articles relating to website design on Google Scholar (scholar.google.com) because Google Scholar consolidates papers across research databases (e.g., Pubmed) and research on design is listed in multiple databases. We used the following combination of keywords: design, usability, and websites. Google Scholar yielded 115,000 total hits. However, due to the large list of studies generated, we decided to only review the top 100 listed research studies for this exploratory study. Our inclusion criteria for the studies was: (1) publication in a peer-reviewed academic journal, (2) publication in English, and (3) publication in or after 2000. Year of publication was chosen as a limiting factor so that we would have enough years of research to identify relevant studies but also have results that relate to similar styles of websites after the year 2000. We included studies that were experimental or theoretical (review papers and commentaries) in nature. Resulting studies represented a diverse range of disciplines, including human-computer interaction, marketing, e-commerce, interface design, cognitive science, and library science. Based on these selection criteria, thirty-five unique studies remained and were included in this review.

2.2. Final Search Term

(design) and (usability) and (websites).

The search terms were kept simple to capture the higher level design/usability papers and allow Google scholar’s ranking method to filter out the most popular studies. This method also allowed studies from a large range of fields to be searched.

2.3. Analysis

The literature review uncovered 20 distinct design elements commonly discussed in research that affect user engagement. They were (1) organization – is the website logically organized, (2) content utility – is the information provided useful or interesting, (3) navigation – is the website easy to navigate, (4) graphical representation – does the website utilize icons, contrasting colors, and multimedia content, (5) purpose – does the website clearly state its purpose (i.e. personal, commercial, or educational), (6) memorable elements – does the website facilitate returning users to navigate the site effectively (e.g., through layout or graphics), (7) valid links – does the website provide valid links, (8) simplicity – is the design of the website simple, (9) impartiality – is the information provided fair and objective, (10) credibility – is the information provided credible, (11) consistency/reliability – is the website consistently designed (i.e., no changes in page layout throughout the site), (12) accuracy – is the information accurate, (13) loading speed – does the website take a long time to load, (14) security/privacy – does the website securely transmit, store, and display personal information/data, (15) interactive – can the user interact with the website (e.g., post comments or receive recommendations for similar purchases), (16) strong user control capabilities– does the website allow individuals to customize their experiences (such as the order of information they access and speed at which they browse the website), (17) readability – is the website easy to read and understand (e.g., no grammatical/spelling errors), (18) efficiency – is the information presented in a way that users can find the information they need quickly, (19) scannability – can users pick out relevant information quickly, and (20) learnability – how steep is the learning curve for using the website. For each of the above, we calculated the proportion of studies mentioning the element. In this review, we provide a threshold value of 30%. We identified elements that were used in at least 30% of the studies and include these elements that are above the threshold on a short list of elements used in research on proper website design. The 30% value was an arbitrary threshold picked that would provide researchers and designers with a guideline list of elements described in research on effective web design. To provide further information on how to apply this list, we present specific details on how each of these elements was discussed in research so that it can be defined and operationalized.

3.1. Popular website design elements ( Table 1 )

Frequency of website design elements used in research (2000–2014)

Seven of the website design elements met our threshold requirement for review. Navigation was the most frequently discussed element, mentioned in 22 articles (62.86%). Twenty-one studies (60%) highlighted the importance of graphics. Fifteen studies (42.86%) emphasized good organization. Four other elements also exceeded the threshold level, and they were content utility (n=13, 37.14%), purpose (n=11, 31.43%), simplicity (n=11, 31.43%), and readability (n=11, 31.43%).

Elements below our minimum requirement for review include memorable features (n=5, 14.29%), links (n=10, 28.57%), impartiality (n=1, 2.86%), credibility (n=7, 20%), consistency/reliability (n=8. 22.86%), accuracy (n=5, 14.29%), loading speed (n=10, 28.57%), security/privacy (n=2, 5.71%), interactive features (n=9, 25.71%), strong user control capabilities (n=8, 22.86%), efficiency (n=6, 17.14%), scannability (n=1, 2.86%), and learnability (n=2, 5.71%).

3.2. Defining key design elements for user engagement ( Table 2 )

Definitions of Key Design Elements

In defining and operationalizing each of these elements, the research studies suggested that effective navigation is the presence of salient and consistent menu/navigation bars, aids for navigation (e.g., visible links), search features, and easy access to pages (multiple pathways and limited clicks/backtracking). Engaging graphical presentation entails 1) inclusion of images, 2) proper size and resolution of images, 3) multimedia content, 4) proper color, font, and size of text, 5) use of logos and icons, 6) attractive visual layout, 7) color schemes, and 8) effective use of white space. Optimal organization includes 1) cognitive architecture, 2) logical, understandable, and hierarchical structure, 3) information arrangement and categorization, 4) meaningful labels/headings/titles, and 5) use of keywords. Content utility is determined by 1) sufficient amount of information to attract repeat visitors, 2) arousal/motivation (keeps visitors interested and motivates users to continue exploring the site), 3) content quality, 4) information relevant to the purpose of the site, and 5) perceived utility based on user needs/requirements. The purpose of a website is clear when it 1) establishes a unique and visible brand/identity, 2) addresses visitors’ intended purpose and expectations for visiting the site, and 3) provides information about the organization and/or services. Simplicity is achieved by using 1) simple subject headings, 2) transparency of information (reduce search time), 3) website design optimized for computer screens, 4) uncluttered layout, 5) consistency in design throughout website, 6) ease of using (including first-time users), 7) minimize redundant features, and 8) easily understandable functions. Readability is optimized by content that is 1) easy to read, 2) well-written, 3) grammatically correct, 4) understandable, 5) presented in readable blocks, and 6) reading level appropriate.

4. DISCUSSION

The seven website design elements most often discussed in relation to user engagement in the reviewed studies were navigation (62.86%), graphical representation (60%), organization (42.86%), content utility (37.14%), purpose (31.43%), simplicity (31.43%), and readability (31.43%). These seven elements exceeded our threshold level of 30% representation in the literature and were included into a short list of website design elements to operationalize effective website design. For further analysis, we reviewed how studies defined and evaluated these seven elements. This may allow designers and researchers to determine and follow best practices for facilitating or predicting user engagement.

A remaining challenge is that the definitions of website design elements often overlap. For example, several studies evaluated organization by how well a website incorporates cognitive architecture, logical and hierarchical structure, systematic information arrangement and categorization, meaningful headings and labels, and keywords. However, these features are also crucial in navigation design. Also, the implications of using distinct logos and icons go beyond graphical representation. Logos and icons also establish unique brand/identity for the organization (purpose) and can serve as visual aids for navigation. Future studies are needed to develop distinct and objective measures to assess these elements and how they affect user engagement ( Lee & Kozar, 2012 ).

Given the rapid increase in both mobile technology and social media use, it is surprising that no studies mentioned cross-platform compatibility and social media integration. In 2013, 34% of cellphone owners primarily use their cellphones to access the Internet, and this number continues to grow ( “Mobile Technology Factsheet,” 2013 ). With the rise of different mobile devices, users are also diversifying their web browser use. Internet Explorer (IE) was once the leading web browser. However, in recent years, FireFox, Safari, and Chrome have gained significant traction ( W3schools.com, 2015 ). Website designers and researchers must be mindful of different platforms and browsers to minimize the risk of losing users due to compatibility issues. In addition, roughly 74% of American Internet users use some form of social media ( Duggan, Ellison, Lampe, Lenhart, & Smith, 2015 ), and social media has emerged as an effective platform for organizations to target and interact with users. Integrating social media into website design may increase user engagement by facilitating participation and interactivity.

There are several limitations to the current review. First, due to the large number of studies published in this area and due to this study being exploratory, we selected from the first 100 research publications on Google Scholar search results. Future studies may benefit from defining design to a specific topic, set of years, or other area to limit the number of search results. Second, we did not quantitatively evaluate the effectiveness of these website design elements. Additional research can help to better quantify these elements.

It should also be noted that different disciplines and industries have different objectives in designing websites and should thus prioritize different website design elements. For example, online businesses and marketers seek to design websites that optimize brand loyalty, purchase, and profit ( Petre et al., 2006 ). Others, such as academic researchers or healthcare providers, are more likely to prioritize privacy/confidentiality, and content accuracy in building websites ( Horvath, Ecklund, Hunt, Nelson, & Toomey, 2015 ). Ultimately, we advise website designers and researchers to consider the design elements delineated in this review, along with their unique needs, when developing user engagement strategies.

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The Design and Implementation of Responsive Web Page Based on HTML5 and CSS3

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  • Published: 26 February 2024

Analysis of web design visual element attention based on user educational background

  • Haohua Qing 1 , 2 ,
  • Roliana Ibrahim 2 &
  • Hui Wen Nies 2  

Scientific Reports volume  14 , Article number:  4657 ( 2024 ) Cite this article

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The evolution of Internet technology has led to an increase in online users. This study focuses on the pivotal role of visual elements in web content conveyance and their impact on user browsing behavior. Therefore, the use of visual elements in web design based on big data has aroused widespread concern among web designers, they apply visual elements to their web design works to make the web more attractive. This study examines the composition and distribution characteristics of key visual elements identified through user behavior data in a big data environment and discusses the use of visual elements in web design in the era of network economy. In addition, this paper issued 200 questionnaires to investigate the degree of attention to visual elements in web pages for users of different occupations and different educational backgrounds. Our survey indicated that visual elements captured the attention of 41% of corporate employees, whereas a mere 1% of social welfare workers focused on web content; 36% of undergraduates pay attention to visual elements of web pages, but only 5% and 4% of postgraduates and doctoral degrees and above. Therefore, the visual elements of the designed web page need to conform to the user's cultural background and professional background.

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Introduction.

Websites emerged during the continuous development of Internet technology and are the key to users’ online search. With the rapid increase in the number of Internet users, people use the internet more and more frequently 1 . More companies want to pass the company's products, service concepts and corporate culture to the public through web pages 2 . Web design includes many visual elements, such as the text content, image content, color matching, and panel design of the web page 3 . The role of visual elements in web design is mainly to beautify web pages 4 . It can incorporate different content into web design. It can help people quickly understand and analyze things, and it can also make web design more in line with the current aesthetics, in order to realize the communication of web page information 5 , 6 . Based on this, the web designer has properly managed the visual elements in the web page, and found that the increase in visual intensity between the user experience and the visual impact can attract users 7 . By adjusting the visual elements of the web interface, a user-guided effect is achieved 8 , 9 .

Web designers design content for different web pages, using navigation and advertising to attract users' attention 10 . According to Fitz's law, the size of the content in the web interface will affect the user's behavior 11 . This problem can be solved by shrinking the content of the web page 12 . Based on the analysis of the big data environment, a dynamic evaluation method can be designed in the web page according to the needs, which can be used in the teaching system. Through the attraction of the visual elements of the web page, students can evaluate their learning situation on the Internet during their spare time 13 , 14 .

This paper mainly studies the use of visual elements in web design under the big data environment. This paper mainly studies the use of visual elements in web design under the big data environment and it mainly focuses on the following parts: First, analyze the application principles of big data in web design, and propose the influence of internet technology on the use of web design; second, study the function of visual elements in web design, and the influence of text content, image content, color matching and panel design that make up visual elements on web design; third, analyze the existing problems of current web design from a contemporary aesthetic point of view; based on this, propose strategies for the application of visual elements in web design.

In this paper, we define “visual elements” as the fundamental components that constitute web page design, such as text content, image content, color matching, and panel design. “Web design” refers to the process of integrating these visual elements to convey information and facilitate user interaction. Specifically, “network visual elements” refer to visual components used in a web environment to attract and maintain user attention.

Before delving into the functions and impact of visual elements, it is crucial to clarify the theoretical foundation upon which our study rests. Our research is built upon the principles of cognitive psychology and visual communication theory, focusing on how users process visual information and the impact of visual elements on web browsing behavior. Specifically, we are guided by Donald Norman's theory of emotional design 15 and recent research on user experience within big data environments 16 in constructing our analytical framework and research methodology.

Related works

Overview of big data technology and web design.

With the rapid development of social economy and internet economy, the number of netizens in our country is increasing, and more and more companies use internet technology 17 , 18 . The development of big data has closely integrated corporate information with big data analysis. Personalization technology is the key point of big data analysis. Companies apply personalized technology to corporate web pages and use it as a platform for corporate information display and user communication 19 , 20 . As one of the basic algorithms of big data, Pagerank function assigns a value to web pages in the Web, the higher the Pagerank value is, the more important it is, and the higher the probability of web-page quality 21 . The Pagerank function is defined as:

In the Pagerank function, \(PR\left({p}_{i}\right)\) denotes the Pagerank of page \({p}_{i}\) . The damping factor, represented by \(d\) , is typically set to 0.85. The function considers \(M({p}_{i})\) as the set of pages linking to \({p}_{i}\) and \(L\left({p}_{j}\right)\) as the count of outbound links on the page \({p}_{j}\) .

Abstract the web page in the Web into a node, and abstract the entire Web into a guidance graph to get the corresponding transition matrix 22 , as shown below:

The value in row i and column j represents the probability of jumping to web page i from web page j. The rank value of the web page at the beginning is 1/N, here is 1/3, the probability distribution of the first time going online is M 1 v, the second time going online is M 2 v, and so on, the probability of going online for the i-th time is M i v, the greater the probability of a user going online, the more attractive the visual elements of the web-page are. Using the Pagerank function big data algorithm, it can count the probability of users browsing different visual elements such as text, images, and sounds. The statistical data is used to improve web design and make web pages meet the needs of different users.

The main visual elements that make up web design

The web platform is the main carrier for the transmission of Internet information. The most important thing in web design is its functions and the visual effects it brings to users. In order to improve the visual effects of web design, we first need to analyze the basic visual elements that constitute web design 23 . Specifically, the following aspects are crucial:

The visual element of text content, which expresses the author’s thoughts and feelings through text. It accounts for a large proportion in web design and contains a large amount of information. In the process of web design, the font color of visual elements of text content, style, and size will affect the overall layout of the web design.

The visual elements of image content. Images are an indispensable part of web design. The visual elements of image content bring stronger visual impact to the viewer than the visual elements of text content. It can highlight the web page in the web design process the style and attract the attention of viewers.

Color matching with visual elements, it can reflect the overall beauty of the web page in the web design process, and the combination of color visual elements and image visual colors can better highlight the theme of web design.

The visual elements of panel design are very important to web design. A reasonable design of web page layout can better express the visual color of text content, visual elements of image content, and color matching visual elements. It needs to start from the user's point of view, and the design is in line with the modern human aesthetic web page layout can attract more viewers.

After detailing the main visual elements of web design, it is essential to consider how these elements interact with one another and how they are perceived as a unified whole by users in accordance with Gestalt psychology principles, rather than merely isolated parts. For instance, how the visual elements of text and images combine to produce a synergistic effect, how color matching affects the unity of the visual theme, and how the layout guides the user's visual flow. These factors collectively define the user’s visual experience and comprehension, and thus, their interrelations must be meticulously considered in the design process.

Furthermore, this study will also analyze the differences in interest towards visual element content among user groups with different educational backgrounds. We will investigate which specific contents better engage certain user demographics, thus providing a basis for personalized web design.

Principles of using visual elements in web design

The use of visual elements in the web design process can transmit web information more directly and effectively to viewers 24 . As a means of web design to convey information to users, visual elements need to be clarified about the principles of using visual elements in the web design process 25 . There are several guiding principles for using visual elements in web design, such as the principles of visibility outlined by Andy et al. 26 , and the user interface design rules by Matera et al. 27 : One is that the visual elements must be able to attract the user's attention; the second is that the content of the web page needs to be understood by the viewer; the third is that the visual elements in web design must conform to the user’s reading habits; the fourth is that the visual elements can allow users to leave a deep image and guide users to read; the fifth is to design personalized reading services that are convenient for viewers to browse according to user needs.

To effectively investigate users' attention to visual elements, a comprehensive survey methodology was designed, as shown in Fig.  1 in the flowchart below.

figure 1

Survey methodology flowchart for users' attention to visual elements.

The flowchart covers the key steps of the survey methodology, including determining research objectives, developing questionnaires, distributing surveys, tracking responses, and analyzing data. This structured approach ensures that the user survey is conducted in a systematic and scientific manner.

Having established the need to analyze users' attention to visual elements, the next step is to design an effective methodology. This includes determining the survey objects, content, distribution methods and analysis approach. The goal is to gain insights into target users' needs and preferences, in order to guide the application of visual elements in web design.

Ethics approval

The preliminary survey of this study involved issuing 200 questionnaires to investigate the degree of attention to visual elements in web pages among users of different occupations and educational backgrounds. Informed consent was obtained from all participants who took part in the questionnaire. This consent process was in compliance with the ethical standards of the Institutional Review Board (IRB) of the Affiliated Hospital of Guangdong Medical University. The IRB granted an ethics waiver for this study due to its non-interventional and observational nature, aligning with national regulations that exempt such studies from the requirement of formal ethics approval. Throughout the research process, we adhered to the ethical principles of the Declaration of Helsinki.

Survey content and objects of user experience

Web design is to convey the information that the designer wants to transmit to users through the internet. In order to determine the needs of the viewers for the visual elements of the web page, sort out the main problems related to the visual elements in the web page design process, and use the questionnaire to investigate the current situation of the user's visual elements on the web page. According to the results of the questionnaire, determine the needs of different users for web visual elements. The subjects of the survey are mainly people who frequently search for information on the web. They can be users of different occupations and different educational backgrounds, but it is necessary to ensure a balanced ratio of men and women, and a total of 200 questionnaires were issued.

Survey methods of users' attention to visual elements in web pages

For our user experience study, we disseminated 200 questionnaires across various online platforms, including We-Chat, QQ, and Weibo. Under the premise that the ratio of men to women is basically the same, samples are drawn according to users of different occupations and different educational backgrounds, and guarantees the completion of the survey results. In the survey of the user experience of visual elements in the web design process, we should first determine the survey object and survey purpose of this survey, and formulate the content of the questionnaire based on the content. After the questionnaire for the experience of visual elements in the web page is created, the designated personnel will release the questionnaire on different network platforms, and track the management of the survey results, and finally analyze the results of the questionnaire.

To delve deeper into the analysis of the attention given to visual elements by users of different educational backgrounds, we decided to employ a mathematical approach to quantify these data.

where \({W}_{avg}\) represents the weighted average attention. \(n\) denotes the number of categories based on different educational backgrounds. \({w}_{i}\) stands for the number of users (or weight) with the \({i}\) th educational background. \({a}_{i}\) signifies the average attention to visual elements by users with the \({i}^{th}\) educational background. Utilizing the aforementioned formula, we conducted a weighted average analysis on the collected data.

Educational applications of study findings

The findings of this study have a broad application in the field of education. For instance, educators can adjust their classroom teaching strategies based on our results, utilizing effective visual elements to enhance student interest and the appeal of instructional content. Educational institutions can also apply these strategies in their website design to better showcase educational resources, thereby attracting students and enhancing their learning experience.

In the following sections, we will detail the results of this analysis and discuss its implications for the practical application of visual elements in web design.

Analysis of user needs for web visual elements

The characteristics of different web browsers are different. There are individual differences between them. The occupation, education level of the browser, what they see and hear in life, etc. It will affect the experience of the browser on the web-page. According to the suggestions provided by the viewer to the web designer during the process of browsing the web, the web designer makes the web content according to the actual needs of the user, let users have a better sense of use when browsing web pages, thereby improving the efficiency of web pages transmitting information to users. Before web design, on the premise of ensuring the ease of use of the web page, web designers should figure out the needs of target users, the content of the web-page should attract users in a short period of time, conform to the user's browsing habits, meet the needs of users through network visual elements, and convert the target users of the web-page into real users.

Results and discussion

The analysis of the survey results regarding different users' attention to visual elements provides valuable insights for web design. However, simply analyzing user preferences is not enough. To further explore the application of visual elements in web design, it is also crucial to examine the effectiveness of visual information transmission.

We acknowledge that the sample of 200 self-recruited anonymous Internet users used in this study may not be representative of the entire Internet user population. As such, the conclusions of this study should be interpreted with caution and considered as preliminary insights into specific user behaviors. Future research should aim to include a broader sample to increase the generalizability of the findings.

Analysis of the degree of attention of different professional users to visual elements

Users of different occupations may have different demands for browsing information online due to occupational reasons. According to the 200 questionnaires issued, the results shown in Table 1 can be obtained, according to Table 1 , in this survey, 82 corporate staff paid the most attention to visual elements, and 2 social welfare workers were the least.

According to the results in Table 1 , the percentages of different professional users' attention to visual elements are shown in Fig.  2 . From the figure, it can be seen that corporate employees' attention to visual elements accounts for the highest proportion of 41%, followed by students at 17%. Web designers can design career-related web interfaces according to different professional needs and their preferences for visual elements, for example, corporate workers pay more attention to text visual elements, while student groups pay more attention to video visual elements, and design according to user needs to achieve the effect of attracting users to browse the web for a second time. Web designers can combine the personality characteristics of young people and their hot spots to explore potential web browsing groups.

figure 2

The proportion of different professional users' attention to visual elements.

Discussion on the variation of attention to visual elements among users of different educational backgrounds

Web content display varies when accessed by users from diverse educational backgrounds. This variation is often driven by backend algorithms that tailor content recommendations based on user browsing behavior. Our survey, encompassing 200 respondents, revealed distinct patterns in attention to visual elements. For instance, undergraduates, numbering 72, exhibited the highest attention to these elements. In contrast, individuals with doctoral degrees, totaling only 8, demonstrated the least attention. Furthermore, the collective attention from individuals with an educational level below a bachelor's degree was observed to be significant, with 71 respondents.

According to the results in Table 2 , the proportion of users with different educational backgrounds' attention to visual elements is shown in Fig.  3 . It can be seen from the figure that undergraduates' attention to visual elements accounts for 36% of the total proportion, and graduate students and doctoral degrees and above account for 36% of the total the ratio is less, 5% and 4% respectively. According to the analysis of education level, those with a high school degree or above accounted for 81.5% of the total surveyed people. Therefore, web designers need to consider the educational level of potential viewers and the visual element applications that different education levels like in the process of designing web pages. The text visual elements of the design need to conform to the user’s cultural background.

figure 3

The proportion of users with different educational backgrounds paying attention to visual elements.

Analysis of the effectiveness of visual information transmission in web design

The purpose of web design is to deliver web content to viewers. If there are no visitors to browse the web, then web information cannot be disseminated. Web design must first meet the psychological needs of viewers, and secondly, it must be able to attract users’ attention and reduce the risk of dissemination. Necessary information interferes with users to avoid unnecessary negative effects. The effectiveness of visual information transmission in web design is analyzed based on the following aspects:

Text and color elements: text is the most important part of transmitting web content, and color is the first visual language for human eyes to receive information. In web design art and cultural connotations should be combined in the process.

Images and panel elements: The main function of images is to convey information. In the web design process, images should be put in an appropriate amount. Too much will affect the effect of the entire web page to convey information. The panel can be carried out according to the designer's ideas in the web design process. To adjust, designers need to capture the public's aesthetics and design web pages.

Navigation bar: Setting a navigation bar on a web page can facilitate users to find target information. The location of the navigation bar is very important and requires careful consideration.

Study limitations

There are several limitations to our study. Firstly, the public dataset used may not fully represent the behavior patterns of all Internet users. Secondly, the cross-sectional nature of the data limits our capacity for causal inferences. Lastly, we acknowledge the need for a more diverse sample to enhance the generalizability of our results.

The burgeoning social and internet economy has witnessed a surge in the number of internet users globally. The integration of big data with corporate information has opened new avenues for personalized technology, especially in corporate web page design. Presently, web design exhibits a high degree of diversity, reflecting varied modes of information and emotional conveyance.

Given the diversity of internet users, understanding the aesthetic and browsing needs of the target audience has become paramount. Designers are required to conduct market research to cater to the preferences of different user groups. Visual elements play a pivotal role in this process. Appropriate color combinations, image, and graphic selections can enhance user experience, but it's essential to avoid overuse or misuse to ensure users aren't distracted or confused. The ubiquity of mobile devices also mandates designers to ensure that visual elements display correctly across various devices.

In summary, the significance of visual elements in web design cannot be overlooked. Designers must be adept at applying visual elements to create interfaces that align with public aesthetics while satisfying user browsing needs, thereby driving advancements in web page design.

To further guide web designers, we offer the following specific recommendations: Firstly, designers should adjust the use of visual elements based on the educational background of users, ensuring that the design aligns with the users' cultural and aesthetic habits. Secondly, considering the ubiquity of mobile devices, designers should ensure that visual elements are displayed correctly across various devices. Lastly, future research could explore the application of visual elements in different web design styles and how these elements affect user behavior and satisfaction, thus providing data-backed support for innovative developments in web page design.

Acknowledgements

This work was supported by the Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM) through UTMER 2021 (Grant Number Q.J130000.3851.20J26).

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Guangzhou College of Technology and Business, Guangzhou, Guangdong, China

Haohua Qing

Department of Applied Computing and Artificial Intelligence, Faculty of Computing, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia, Johor Bahru, Johor, Malaysia

Haohua Qing, Roliana Ibrahim & Hui Wen Nies

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H.Q. performed the research and calculations. H.Q. and H.W.N. discussed the results and wrote this paper together. R.I. supervised the project.

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Correspondence to Roliana Ibrahim .

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Qing, H., Ibrahim, R. & Nies, H.W. Analysis of web design visual element attention based on user educational background. Sci Rep 14 , 4657 (2024). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-024-54444-8

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research papers for web design

  • Web Design Research Paper: What Tips You Should Use

When learning web design in college or university, you won't avoid a task every student deals with: It's a research paper writing. While it sounds challenging for a web designer to write papers, it's necessary for those willing to systemize their knowledge and get a diploma.

In this article, you'll reveal the nature of research papers in web design and get actionable tips on how to write them like a pro. Please note this type of writing is more in-depth than a blog post and a standard essay. So, read carefully — and feel free to ask professionals for writing help when you need clarification on whether you do everything right.

But first, the basics:

Web Design Research Paper: What Tips You Should Use

What Is a Research Paper?

According to professional academic writers from https://essayshark.com/ , a research paper is an in-depth and evidence-based analytical study on a given topic.

It reminds a standard analytical essay you write in school or college. The difference is that a research paper requires original research from the author. Before writing, you need to analyze pre-existing research, conduct yours, and present the results, emphasizing the use of statistical data and contributing your input to the debate.

The purpose is to:

Check your writing skills.

Assess your ability in scholarly research.

Estimate your knowledge of the subject.

See your original thesis and evidence. (What does it contribute to the scientific community?)

Understand if your knowledge and skills are enough to complete a course and get a certificate or a diploma.

Why Do You Need to Write It on Web Design?

When you get a profession in design , you'll need to write a research paper at the end of a corresponding course. It's not only about impressing your educator and getting a high grade. As a web designer, you might want to innovate the field:

Researching web design will reveal something new for your colleagues and build you a reputation as an expert. It's your chance to stand out and bring trends, not just repeat existing tactics and techniques others use when web designing.

More than that, researching your interests can help you improve your knowledge, systemize it, and understand the tiniest details of your profession.

How to Write a Web Design Research Paper: 10 Tips to Use

Choose a topic.

Get ready for precise research.

Focus on a thesis statement.

Outline it before writing.

Organize the evidence beforehand.

Ensure you use the correct structure for a research paper.

Consider the language.

Use a proper citation style.

Edit your paper.

Proofread the draft several times.

research papers for web design

And now, to practice.

Below are the practical tips for writing a web design research paper.

1. Choose a topic

When writing a research paper, it's you who chooses its topic. A professor doesn't assign any particular themes, but they set the specific and strict rules you'll need to follow. That is why ensure you read the assignment carefully and understand all the requirements.

What are those must-follow requirements?

They are about your research paper's length, citation style, and formatting. (Read the rules below.) Also, consider whether you must craft a cover page and present a paper's abstract beforehand. Check the deadline, the required submission method, and the overall goal of your future web design paper.

Once you understand your assignment task sheet inside and out, it will be easier to decide on the topic and craft the whole paper.

In a review on essayshark , web design students appreciate their assistance with choosing a topic for their research papers. Feel free to ask professionals if you need help with a web design topic worth researching and sharing with the audience.

The topic is essential for your paper's overall success:

Choose those with pre-existing research and evidence — you'll need content for your paper. 

Consider topics with enough data to discuss.

Avoid generic topics: They won't bring you enough ideas for interpretation, and they don't have any value to the community.

Think of something engaging and interesting to you. It's easier to research and write on the topic of your interest.

More tips on how to choose a compelling topic for your web design research paper:

Try brainstorming and talking to your fellows or your professor. They may have some good ideas you can use for your paper.

Prompt AI tools like ChatGPT to help you with topics. While most of their ideas are superficial, they can inspire or point you in the right direction.

Check other research papers in the niche. Their discussion sections often include ideas for further examination: See if there are any you could use for your paper.

2. Get ready for precise research

Once you have a topic, it's time for the preliminary research. Remember that not only will you need to discuss the existing knowledge, but you should also add original insights to the paper. With that in mind, do the following:

When reading the research on your topic, try to extract an issue to focus on in your paper. Are there any areas you could develop in your work in more detail? Do you have ideas for new research in this sub-topic? Does it miss anything? What didn't other researchers cover?

When researching, finish the sentence:

"I want to know why/how/what..."

Come up with research questions that will guide you at this stage. What and how are you going to cover in your web design paper? What will be your unique take on the topic?

What resources to use for the research? Consider books, reputable websites, scientific journals, etc. Use only those with the proven data and evidence you can refer to in your future document.

3. Focus on a thesis statement

The central argument of your research paper has the name of a thesis statement. Please do your best to craft it before writing because it will determine the content of your whole work.

A thesis should answer your research question. It's concise (1-2 sentences) and contentious, establishing the paper's purpose, position, and showing what reasoning you'll use to support it.

Your thesis statement appears in the introductory paragraph of your web design research paper. Thus, you let the readers know what your work will be about. If it's challenging for you to summarize your research in 1-2 sentences, here is the tip:

Make your topic a question, and then answer it.

4. Outline it before writing

An outline is the structure of your research paper. Think of it as a detailed plan where you prescribe every text block and make some notes on what you'll include there. It's super helpful to craft outlines before writing: With a paper's plan at hand, you'll reduce stress, save time, and be sure you get everything while drafting.

research papers for web design

In the above picture, you can see a standard outline for research papers. It reveals all the parts to include in your document, their approximate length, and the details to cover:

The introduction is 2-3 paragraphs with a hook to grab readers' attention, context, and a thesis statement. Body paragraphs explain the problem's extent, repercussions, and possible solutions you offer. A research paper's conclusion should contain your thesis's restatement, arguments' summary, and a call to action for the audience.

Before writing your web design paper, take short notes on each block in the outline. Thus, you'll know what argument, evidence, and details to place in each section.

5. Organize the evidence beforehand

Remember point two? It was the tip about preliminary and precise research to find facts, data, statistics, and other evidence for your future paper. Now, it's time to organize them and decide which one to refer to in each section.

So, re-check all the sources you collected earlier and find the specific information you will include in every block. Add corresponding notes in your outline: When writing, it will help you see where to place this or that evidence. You won't miss anything, and you'll ensure you mention everything you want to say.

Plus, it will save you time. Knowing where and what to write, you will stay focused and create your paper's draft faster.

6. Ensure you use the correct structure for a research paper

Research papers have a more complex structure than academic papers like essays, reviews, or personal statements. The standard blocks are:

Introduction: Here, you'll introduce a topic and its background, provide the context, and write a thesis statement.

Paper body: Here, you'll have about eight paragraphs with information like the problem's extent, its cause and effect, your original research, and the solution you offer to the scientific community.

Concluding paragraph: Here, you summarize your points, restate the thesis, and leave the readers with the food for thought (a call to action, ideas for further research, etc.)

Besides, the following elements should be present in your web design paper:

The title (heading)

Abstract (reveals the purpose of your research)

Literature review (tell about the existing research on your topic)

Your methods (what methodology you used to conduct your research)

Results (what data you received from your research)

Discussion (your interpretation of the research and its results)

References (the list of resources you used as evidence in your paper)

7. Consider the language

Web design isn't about data visualization only. The text also matters, and its role becomes even more critical when writing a research paper.

research papers for web design

Try using formal language, like the one from academic essays or scientific journals. This language is clear and specific , with related terms, transitional phrases between paragraphs, and logical flow between sections.

Ensure your grammar and punctuation are correct. Avoid filler words; don't write your paper in the first person ("I"). Past tense and passive voice are okay when speaking of experiments for your research. Graphs, charts, diagrams, and other visual content are also okay to support your point or illustrate your argument/research results.

8. Use a proper citation style

Remember the first tip? Read the task carefully: There will be guidelines concerning a citation style you should use when formatting your paper.

The two most common citation styles for research papers are MLA (Modern Language Association) and APA (American Psychological Association). Each is about specific formatting rules: How to structure references, what punctuation to use, whether to italicize names, what to write from a capital letter, etc.

There are also citation styles like Chicago (The Chicago Manual of Style) and AMA (American Medical Association). Depending on the subject or the guidelines your professor (or your educational institution) prescribes for research papers, they may change.

Learn the formatting rules for the citation style you need (all the manuals are available online) — and do your best to craft your paper accordingly.

9. Edit your paper

When your web design research paper is ready, please don't hurry to submit it for review. It's critical to edit it and ensure you have organized everything right.

Re-read the paper carefully and check if:

Your thesis statement is concise and clear.

The paper is structured correctly, and all necessary elements flow logically.

You use details, facts, and evidence, not generic statements and superficial information.

You use a proper citation style and format everything accordingly.

You've avoided repetitions, plagiarism, and biased information.

Below is the table showcasing the standard formatting rules for research papers. If nothing else is prescribed in your guidelines, feel free to use it to organize your document.

10. Proofread the draft several times

Last but not least:

Proofread your web design research paper to prevent spelling, grammar, and punctuation mistakes. Ensure you used all the names, dates, and facts correctly.

Read your paper out loud, line by line: It will help you "hear" if it sounds reasonable and logical. Feel free to use editing resources like grammar and readability checkers.

Final Words

Web design research papers are your instrument to prove your knowledge of the subject and offer new insights and techniques to the community. This paper is a must for those learning web design in college, and it serves as a document to complete the course and get your diploma.

Now that you have actionable, step-by-step tips on writing your research paper like a boss, please do not ignore them — and your web design copy will sound A-worthy and professional.

Web Design Research Paper: What Tips You Should Use

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A Critical Review of Research on Website Development and Design Related to Diversity Issues

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Accessibility engineering in web evaluation process: a systematic literature review

  • Review Paper
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  • Published: 27 January 2023
  • Volume 23 , pages 653–686, ( 2024 )

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  • Jinat Ara 1 ,
  • Cecilia Sik-Lanyi 1 &
  • Arpad Kelemen 2  

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Several works of literature contributed to the web evaluation process in recent years to promote digital inclusion by addressing several accessibility guidelines, methods, processes, and techniques. Researchers have investigated how the web evaluation process could be facilitated by including accessibility issues to obtain an inclusive and accessible solution to improve the user experience and increase user satisfaction. Three systematic literature reviews (SLRs) have been conducted in the context of past research, considering such research focuses. This paper presents a new SLR approach concerning accessibility in the web evaluation process, considering the period from 2010 to 2021. The review of 92 primary studies showed the contribution of publications on different phases of the web evaluation process mainly by highlighting the significant studies in the framework design and testing process. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first study focused on the web accessibility literature reporting the engineering assets for evaluation of new accessible and inclusive web-based solutions (e.g., websites). Besides, in this study, we aim to provide a new direction to the web designers and developers with an updated view of process, methods, techniques, tools, and other crucial aspects to contribute to the accessible process enrichment, as well as depict the gaps and challenges that may be worthy to be investigated in the future. The findings of this SLR introduce a new dimension in web accessibility research on determining and mitigating the research gap of web accessibility issues for web designers, developers, and other practitioners.

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1 Introduction

In recent years, various aspects have motivated researchers to conduct studies about digital accessibility. The extension and increased availability of the web for multiple purposes (e.g., information search), the representation of the content (e.g., video, audio), and the emergence of new platforms (e.g., Internet of Things) and technologies (e.g., mobile, computer, tablets) are significant aspects to reinforce the investigation of the digital information platform. In particular, from the very beginning of the digital revolution, digital resources become the fundamental source for citizens to access information such as education, health care, government, news, and other information such as entertainment and sports [ 1 , 2 ].

According to the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) and the Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) report, accessibility is a broad and extensible term associated with people who have disabilities, incompetent skills, or situational-induced impairment [ 3 ]. This initiative's objective is to ensure accessibility which means people with special needs should be able to access, navigate, interact, and contribute to the information that is available on the Web/Internet, electronic resources/materials, and computer. The current mission of the WAI initiative is to coordinate international, technical, and human efforts to improve web accessibility [ 4 ]. With this mission in mind, WAI launched a set of accessibility guidelines called Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAGs) [ 5 , 6 ]. A detailed description of WCAG is given in Sect.  2 .

The scientific research community has recognized that web design and development must inspect the assorted number of requirements of citizens across the population, including special needs users and elderly citizens. Earlier researchers considered accessibility checking as a supplementary requirement in the evaluation phase of any application development. However, in recent years, researchers suggested that accessibility requirements should be followed from the very beginning of the application design and development. Lack of consideration of accessibility issues during the design and development might introduce violations of accessibility guidelines and consequently basic rights of people with disabilities. A great volume of literature exists addressing accessibility guidelines in the design and development of web platforms [ 7 , 8 ]. More recently, a few studies highlighted the importance and emerging need of considering accessibility throughout the web development life cycle [ 9 , 10 ].

Few studies discussed the importance of systematic literature review (SLR) approaches to present the true insights of a particular topic for highlighting future improvement directions [ 11 , 12 , 13 ]. Campoverde-Molina et al. [ 14 ] mentioned that SLR is a synthesis process of past studies that have been published in different scientific databases focusing on a particular issue. SLR aims to review past literature on a specific domain to determine its effectiveness and find the research gap and new research areas. It helps to identify the way of knowledge improvement, promotes new theories for development, and reveals the new investigated area that needs to focus. Therefore, an SLR focusing on web accessibility engineering assets is essential to determine a way to promote an accessible web platform according to WCAG standards.

Emphasizing the necessity of the SLR approach in the web accessibility context, Akram and Sulaiman [ 14 ] and Campoverde‑Molina et al. [ 15 ] have conducted SLRs to analyze the accessibility of educational institute websites within a specific period. The first SLR performed the analysis regarding the period between 2009 and 2017. The second one conducted the investigation considering the period of 2009 to 2020. In 2021, Campoverde‑Molina et al. [ 16 ] extended their previous work intending to update the result of the past SLR and extended the period from 2002 to 2020. In general, SLR refers to the aggregation of knowledge about a particular domain of research with a set of research questions and solutions. Thus, the SLR process should be as unbiased as possible [ 17 ]. The selected SLRs are auditable and have significant effects. However, the focus on engineering assets such as processes, development techniques, and technologies is limited, which is a drawback of SLRs.

This paper presents an extensive SLR in the context of accessibility in the web evaluation process to identify several engineering processes to improve the accessibility of web platforms. This study will help a wide array of people (developers, designers, inventors, leaders, researchers, and users) and facilitate the accessible web design and evaluation process. The paper is organized as follows: In Sect.  2 , accessibility concepts, importance, and related works are presented. Section 3  describes the details of conducting the SLR. Section  4 represents the result of conducted SLR and discusses the main findings through a broad discussion. In Sect.  5 , we conclude the paper.

2 Background and related work

Digital accessibility is a process to ensure the availability of online tools or content to the users [ 13 ]. The prime objective of digital accessibility is to make an accessible, operable, and interactable online platform to provide equal information accessing opportunities for people with disabilities [ 18 , 19 ]. Several aspects might initiate barriers to implementing and ensuring digital accessible platforms or tools or content, such as limited accessibility knowledge and its guidelines. Sometimes organizational barriers and parameters such as organization size, capital, and cost influence accessibility issues. Addressing these issues, the governments and organizations of several countries declared various guidelines, standards, and conformance levels for the stakeholders [ 20 ]. Following these guidelines, associate authorities might overcome critical issues and ensure digital accessibility.

2.1 Accessibility standards

To develop an accessible solution (e.g., application, websites, software, etc.), several accessibility guidelines have been introduced by the government of several countries and various public and private institutes such as WCAG, Section 508, EN 301 549, YD/T 1761–2012, WAI-ARIA, BITV, ISO 9241 and ATAG are prominent. Web Content Accessibility Guideline (WCAG) was introduced by the Web Accessibility Initiative of the World Wide Web Consortium with several success criteria under 13 guidelines. Section 508 is accessibility requirements rules published by the US Government for digital resources to make the resources accessible. EN 301 549 is a European accessibility requirement that is suitable for public procurement of ICT products and services in Europe. YD/T 1761–2012 refers to the Chinese Technical requirements standards for web accessibility that primarily focus on ensuring accessibility in the digital platform. Besides, the WAI-ARIA standard was published by W3C to define a set of guidelines for HTML attributes to improve semantic accessibility. BITV is a German standard that is issued focusing on WCAG 2.0 to make the website and application accessible for people with disabilities by ensuring perceivable, operable, understandable, and robust guidelines. Similarly, ISO 9241 provides requirements for accessible developments throughout the application development life cycle. It concerns both hardware and software components for interactive design and development. Authoring Tool Accessibility Guidelines (ATAG) is WCAG and User Agent Accessibility guidelines-based instruction for accessible web content design and development.

Among these guidelines, WCAG is the most widely used accessibility standard. WCAG is a documented guideline that explains all the accessibility criteria and step-by-step recommendations about implementation, improvement, and measurement of accessibility to provide a better user experience, especially for people with disabilities. W3C-based WAI first developed the WCAG standards to make the web accessible [ 3 ]. As of July 2022, WAI has published five versions of the WCAG standard, including WCAG 1.0, WCAG 2.0, WCAG 2.1, WCAG 2.2, and WCAG 3.0 (draft version). The WCAG 3.0 is the most sophisticated standard, currently available as a working draft for web developers (front and back end) and designers to develop accessible and usable web content [ 21 ].

In 1999, the first version of WCAG 1.0 was released by W3C with three priorities, 14 guidelines, and 65 checkpoints [ 22 ]. In 2008, W3C released the second version of standards/guidelines, including 61 success criteria and 12 guidelines under four principles: perceivable, operable, understandable, and robust, concerning three conformance levels: Level A, Level AA, and Level AAA [ 23 ]. Furthermore, in 2018, the W3C published an updated version of WCAG 2.0 principles, namely the WCAG 2.1 standard [ 6 ]. It has all the principles, guidelines, success criteria, and conformance levels similar to WCAG 2.0 but they added one new guideline and 17 new success criteria. Therefore, completion of the WCAG 2.1 standard ensures the fulfillment of WCAG 2.0 and is followed with more accessibility concerns. The significant update in WCAG 2.1 is the ‘Operable’ principle. In this principle, a new guideline with six success criteria has been added.

In 2021, W3C extended the WCAG 2.1 guideline and released the WCAG 2.2, an updated version [ 24 ]. In this version, in the Operable principle under guideline (2.4), three new success criteria have been added. In December 2021, the last modified version of WCAG (3.0, working draft) was published, now in progress, waiting for the final draft of guidelines [ 21 ]. Figure  1 shows the WCAG standard with its principles, success criteria, and conformance levels. For the details about success criteria and conformance level, the author refers the reader to [ 24 ]. In addition, all the versions of WCAG followed three conformance levels of A, AA, and AAA to classify web content. By following the WCAG standard, developers and designers can make digital content accessible for a wide range of people with disabilities, including blindness, low vision or vision impairments, deafness and hearing loss, limited movement, dexterity, speech disabilities, sensory disorders, cognitive and learning disabilities, photo-sensitivity and combinations of these [ 25 ]. Nowadays, ensuring an accessible web and improving user experience is crucial for web engineers, researchers, and developers. According to the researchers' opinions, more research needs to be carried out in the next years to improve the accessibility of digital platforms [ 26 ]. Therefore, to understand web accessibility in-depth, a detailed and updated SLR approach is important.

figure 1

Overview of web content accessibility guidelines (WCAG) version 2.0, 2.1 and 2.2

Our investigation found seven SLRs between 2010 and 2021 related to the area of digital accessibility (two), web accessibility (three), and web-based image and games accessibility (two). The main focus of these seven SLRs is to make digital content accessible for people with disabilities, which is also a prime objective of the digital accessibility consortium. A detailed discussion of the three SLRs concerning web accessibility has been described in the following subsection (2.2) and a comparison of our SLR with the seven earlier SLR studies is conducted in the discussion section.

2.2 Related SLR studies

In the web accessibility context, the first selected SLR was carried out by Akram et al. [ 14 ] to identify the issues with web accessibility of the Saudi Arabian university webpages from the web engineering point of view. To conduct this SLR, they followed three research questions: (1) what are the main principles of Web Content Accessibility Guideline 2.0 (WCAG-2.0) proposed by the W3C to improve web accessibility, (2) what is the compliance level of university and government websites with WCAG-2.0 globally, and (3) what is the compliance level of Saudi Arabian university and government websites with WCAG-2.0. To search past literature, they considered ten scientific databases: Google Scholar, Google search engine, EBSCO host, IEEE Explorer, Science Direct, The Elsevier, Springer Link, ACM Digital Library, Wiley, and Emerald, and found 15 pieces of literature from 2009 to 2017. Their systemic literature review concluded that 87% of the past research employed automatic accessibility testing tools to evaluate university websites. Their SLR also revealed that the most experimented automatic accessibility tools are Bobby, AChecker, eXaminator, TAW, Total Validator, EvalAccess, Cynthia Says, Magenta, Site Analyzer, MAUVE, FAE, WAVE, Valet, and W3C validator service. In addition, they incorporated the manual evaluation process (e.g., interview, questionnaire-based assessment). The manual investigation illustrated that in past research the majority of the work emphasized the improvement of a few accessibility issues such as navigation errors, orientation issues, timing errors, text equivalent to graphics, content, the validity of hypertext markup language (HTML), and cascading style sheets (CSS), use of HTML5, interface design, content, and scripting. However, they conclude that in Saudi Arabia, most universities do not follow World Wide Web Consortium guidelines.

The work proposed by Akram et al. is important in representing the insights of accessibility considering several aspects. However, to validate their represented statistics of implemented automatic accessibility testing with the experimented tools and to identify other possible techniques to validate the accessibility, Campoverde‑Molina et al. [ 15 ] carried out the second SLR and present the empirical results of the accessibility evaluation of educational websites. They have considered 25 past studies from 2009 to 2019 to answer ten research questions. This SLR investigated the selected papers focusing on the bibliometric analysis context and literature review. The SLR determined that 80% of past studies focused on automatic analysis through automatic accessibility evaluation tools, 8% through user incorporation, and 12% through hybrid approaches such as expert invitation, user involvement, and automated tools consideration. This SLR concluded that selected websites did not satisfy any version of the WCAG standard and their conformance levels that introduce the necessity of correction of errors by adopting automated tools and manual observation during website construction.

Following their first SLR, Campoverde‑Molina et al. [ 16 ] extended their previous SLR considering the period from 2002 to 2020 to investigate more research works to represent the accessibility insights in depth. This recent SLR aimed to analyze past literature that focused on the accessibility analysis of university websites. They performed an investigation of 42 selected papers obtained from three scientific databases (Web of Science, Scopus, and IEEE Xplore), focusing on the accessibility standards and accessibility evaluation methodologies. In 42 papers, they found that 38,416 university webpages have been experimented with in the past years. Their SLR result illustrates that all the experimented websites were from Asia. Most of the existing research has experimented with university homepages. All the past literature followed two standards: ISO/IEC 40,500:2012, and Sect. 508, to analyze the accessibility of web pages. They also concluded that past studies considered automatic evaluation tools to validate university web pages, which is around 90.47%. The most frequently used accessibility testing tools are AChecker, WAVE, Bobby, and TAW. However, the inspection result of this SLR is that most of the past investigated university websites showed violations of accessibility guidelines, most commonly adaptability, compatible, distinguishable, input assistance, keyboard accessible, navigable, predictable, readable, and text alternatives that show important accessibility issues.

The selected three systematic literature reviews represent the current insights of the web in detail, considering the term of accessibility context. Despite the importance of these SLR approaches, they have a poor concern about past research domains and lack consideration of engineering approaches, methods, etc. The lack of engineering methods shows the shortcoming of the past SLR that initiate the importance of a detailed future of SLR. In this paper, our presented SLR is unlike the other three systematic literature reviews. We consider a wide range of existing literature intending to determine the engineering approach to initiate future research to mitigate the current research gap.

3 Research methodology

This study aims to conduct a systematic literature review by following the SLR process guidelines and Kitchenham’s guidelines from Kitchenham and Charters [ 27 ]. This research considers three steps to facilitate the SLR approach: (i) planning the SLR process, (ii) conducting the SLR approach, and (iii) reporting the review findings. Figure  2 represents the flowchart of our SLR process.

figure 2

Flowchart of the proposed systematic literature review (SLR)

3.1 Planning the SLR process

The main sub-activities related to planning the SLR are (i) research question specification, (ii) search string formulation, and (iii) database selection. All these sub-activities are described below.

3.1.1 Research questions

The first step of a literature review is to develop the research questions. Therefore, we developed the research questions according to our research focus. The two research questions are the following:

Research Question-1: What are the available methods, techniques, processes, and approaches to support the evaluation of accessible web?

Research Question-2: What are the current engineering assets (tools, technologies, etc.) to support the evaluation of accessible web?

3.1.2 Search string

To select the appropriate search strings, we defined a set of keywords according to our research questions concerning the accessibility and website domain. We tested the developed set of keywords in different scientific databases by searching manually and refined it based on the relevancy of the output with the research objective. The finally selected set of keywords represented using Boolean operation is the following:

{(Web engineering) or (Website accessibility) or (Web page accessibility) or (Universal accessibility design) or (Accessibility evaluation) or (Accessibility framework) or (Web accessibility methods and algorithms) or (Accessibility measuring software) or (Current accessibility violations)}.

3.1.3 Database selection

For the most relevant and updated literature identification, database selection is crucial. Several scientific databases are available, so appropriate database selection is critical. Herein considering the opinions of other researchers, we selected seven popular databases that provide quality literature and scientific publications. These databases used advanced search algorithms to extract the most related literature according to the user's interest. Seven databases used in this SLR are Scopus, Web of Science, Science Direct, ACM digital library, Google Scholar, IEEE Xplore, and PubMed.

3.2 Conducting the systematic literature review

This phase aims to describe review activities through the specification of (i) database searching and literature extraction, (ii) inclusion and exclusion implication, and (iii) data extraction and quality assessment. These sub-activities are described in detail in the following subsections. Figure  3 shows the flowchart of the review overview.

figure 3

Flowchart of the review overview

3.2.1 Database searching and literature extraction

We tested the search strings in seven databases to extract past literature. These databases are accepted by scientific committees for scientific publishing. Most of the literature is open access. These databases have advanced search algorithms and semantic technology to retrieve the appropriate literature according to the search strings.

In total, 152 papers were found in the period from 2010 to November 2021 (Scopus: 30, Web of Science: 28, IEEE Xplore: 8, PubMed: 5, Science directory: 20, ACM digital library: 16 and Google Scholar: 45). Five studies were found from other source and were included in the preliminary screening process. These five papers were found in Research Gate (platform of scientific work) based on the suggestion of digital accessibility expertise (3 papers) and other colleagues’ recommendations (2 papers). These works were not available in the seven databases that we have used in this work. The considered five papers have potential contributions to web accessibility and significant observation that addressed the importance of consideration in this systematic literature review. Figure  4 shows the search result considering the number of papers selected in each database through the search query. However, Scopus, Web of Science, and Google scholar have a wider array of literature than other databases. Among 157 papers, we have selected the most related papers required for this review through inclusion and exclusion criteria (described in the next section).

figure 4

The number of selected literature per database

3.2.2 Inclusion and exclusion criteria

The extracted literature has been evaluated to include the most relevant studies in this research. We excluded the literature that did not meet the inclusion criteria for the review. The inclusion criteria were the following: written in English, papers published in peer-reviewed journals or conferences (i.e., not books), publication period between 2010 and 2021, and describe accessibility improvement, development, or related to accessibility assessment.

The exclusion process was performed to eliminate papers from this review. The exclusion criteria were the following: duplicate papers, non-English papers, not directly related or irrelevant papers, papers that are not freely accessible, and those that are not research papers such as posters, letters, thesis, and editorials. After applying inclusion and exclusion criteria to 157 papers, the following observation was made: 12 papers were duplicates, 11 papers were not in English, 29 papers were not directly related to our research focus, and 7 papers were not research papers. In total, we excluded 59 papers by primary screening. After eliminating these papers, we conducted the proposed SLR process considering the selected 98 papers (including 6 past literature reviews). The entire literature selection process has been performed through the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) technique. The PRISMA flow diagram of the study selection is shown in Fig.  5 .

figure 5

Study selection through PRISMA approach

3.2.3 Data extraction and quality analysis

In this study, our research was conducted based on the search results during 10–15 January 2022, returning 157 papers. To identify a high-quality paper, data extraction and quality assessment are essential. Several earlier literature reviews followed this technique for the primary evaluation of the selected studies. Therefore, we followed assessment guidelines to identify quality papers, complete paper reading, and answer our research questions. Table 1 shows the assessment criteria for the evaluation of selected studies.

For each question, we set the score to 0 or 1. For each positive answer, a paper gets a score of 1. If not relevant to the assessment questions, the score is 0. For the Q1 indexed journal, the additional points are + 0.50. Similarly, the extra points for the Q2, Q3, and Q4 indexed journal is + 0.40, + 0.30, and + 0.20, respectively. We incorporated Equation-1 and Equation-2 to calculate the final and normalization score to estimate the quality of each selected paper. After conducting the quality analysis, we consider only those studies that passed at least four quality assessment questions with α  ≥ 0.4 normalized scores. However, among 98 selected studies, six were excluded from this SLR (as shown in Fig.  5 , PRISMA diagram) based on the result of the quality assessment criteria. Table 2 shows the quality assessment result of the qualified 92 papers for this review.

3.3 Reporting the findings

In general, selected papers were related to web development, web accessibility, and information and communications technology (ICT) tools. The statistics of past research showed that existing SLRs focused on a few criteria, but other aspects also need to be considered. However, this study focused on previous SLR results and added new findings from our investigation results that were not highlighted in the earlier SLRs. Earlier SLRs considered accessibility requirements, standards, frequent violations, and improvement suggestions. However, accessible development criteria, evaluation tools development and their engineering methods, and updated validation and testing procedure need to highlight to identify the new research area. According to Durdu and Yerlikaya [ 28 ], before ensuring accessible web, web developers and designers should consider the standard guidelines and the requirements of people with disabilities. Also, Bradbard and Peters [ 29 ] shared the same observation. They highlighted that the majority of developers and designers have no adequate knowledge about accessibility requirements for people with disability and also lack knowledge about accessible web application development. Thus, in recent days, accessibility specialists have suggested checking accessibility criteria during the development and testing process through automatic accessibility testing tools and user and expert testing. Past works introduced various aspects of developing an effective webpage, but recent studies revealed that accessibility issues completely align with user satisfaction or usability. Therefore, the government of different countries and public and private organizations initiated a few guidelines concerning accessibility and usability criteria [ 30 ] that directed a new research area to make the development easier and barrier-free. In the Following, we would like to describe our findings and analysis results of the selected literature in the context of two research questions.

RQ-1: What are the available methods, techniques, processes, and approaches to support the evaluation of accessible web?

To answer the first research question, we analyzed 92 selected studies. The selected papers were classified into seven groups/processes: (i) accessibility requirements (AR), (ii) challenges (C), (iii) improvement directions (ID), (iv) framework design (FD), (v) framework implementations (FI), (vi) testing (T), and (vii) evaluation (E). All these phases are described in detail in the following subsections. Figure  6 presents the seven processes with an accounted number of papers for each process. Furthermore, nineteen studies emphasized two activities as presented in the Venn diagram of Fig.  7 , which is: {2 (AR & E) + 1 (AR & T) + 2 (AR & FI) + 1 (C & ID) + 1 (C & FD) + 4 (ID & T) + 1 (ID & E) + 1 (ID & FD) + 2 (FD & E) + 4 (T & E)}. The Venn diagram represents the number of papers that have multiple focuses instead of a particular focus or objective. In total 19 unique papers have been found that have multiple focuses. Figure  7 shows the number of papers with their associated activities through the blue arrow. For example, considering ‘accessibility requirements,’ 2 papers focused on accessibility requirements and evaluation process, 2 papers focused on accessibility requirements and implementation, and 1 paper focused on accessibility requirements and testing. Figure  7 shows the complete view of the number of papers with their multi-focused area. Moreover, results depict that past research mostly emphasized the technical processes, especially improvement direction, testing, and evaluation.

figure 6

Percentage of studies considering each process related to web evaluation and accessible web applications

figure 7

Venn diagram representing the number of studies for certain activities and multiple activities

3.3.1 Accessibility requirements (AR)

This section describes the accessibility and usability requirements with new methods for imposing the accessibility and usability requirements on the current web. Among 92 papers, nine (9) were related to accessibility requirements (representing 9.7% of the total literature) that emphasized ensuring the accessibility guidelines. These studies could be grouped into three main topics of interest, as presented in Table 3 .

In the context of accessibility requirements, Bai [ 31 ] and Henry et al. [ 32 ] described the importance of accessibility and usability criteria in web and mobile software applications. They added that improving web accessibility is essential for users with disabilities and non-disabled users. They indicate a significant gap between the needed strategies and the developed solutions for people with disabilities, including auditory, cognitive, neurological, physical, speech, and visual impairments. Therefore, the requirements of people with disabilities should be acknowledged during development as accessible technology is essential for equal access and interaction in today's digital world. Also, Riley-Huff [ 34 ] pointed out that the first step to developing an accessible website is following the web accessibility guidelines/standards. To ensure higher accessibility standards, a possible way is to improve accessibility and usability [ 35 ]. Thus, automatic accessibility testing tools are essential. To ensure usability, they mentioned a few existing models that are prominent to analyze. Another study by Wu et al. [ 33 ] investigated data visuality (chart type, chart embellishment, and data continuity) for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. They emphasized that people with intellectual and developmental disabilities perform information processing differently. But the actual scenario is quite challenging that complicates the process of data visuality for these people. Thereby they suggested considering all the potential requirements with disabilities during development to improve data visuality and accessibility.

Sauer et al. [ 36 ] identified three criteria: accessibility, usability, and user experience. These are essential for making the internet platform accessible and convenient for people with and without disabilities. They suggested several methods to ensure accessibility (checklists, cognitive barrier walkthroughs, automatic checking), usability (user testing, observation, questionnaires, interviews, focus groups, heuristic evaluation, cognitive walkthrough, and data logging), and user experience. They suggested that accessibility and usability could be imposed during development to improve the user experience. Vu et al. [ 37 ] addressed that low-quality web designs often lead to user frustration that might cause abandonment of undesirable sites. They highlighted several potential and usable web design and evaluation components/methods to improve website usability, which results in a better user experience.

Furthermore, Almeida and Baranauskas [ 38 ] pointed out that web accessibility requirements for people with disabilities are crucial. The difficulty of understanding accessibility guidelines is the prime cause of inaccessible design and development. They also added that developers and designers are not experts and have limited knowledge of accessibility requirements. Therefore, they proposed an inclusive web-based collaborative tool to evaluate and modify the guidelines according to the universal and accessible design and development guidelines. It helps to represent the accessibility guidelines more skillfully. Furthermore, Gaggi and Pederiva [ 39 ] developed a tool for designers and developers concerning the same issue. They assisted the importance of accessibility measurement with a complete direction about guidelines that need attention during the web design and development phase.

3.3.2 Challenges (C)

This section describes the accessibility challenges that are generally liable for the current inaccessible web platform. Among 92 papers, four (4) studies were related to accessibility challenges (representing 4.3% of the total literature). These investigated studies could be grouped into three main topics of interest, as presented in Table 4 .

Researchers are trying to ensure an accessible web for more than a decade, including digital content, websites, user-machine interface, software, etc. Acosta-Vargas et al. [ 40 ] pointed out that to implement an accessible web, web researchers have found several challenges. They specified that accessible web page development required adequate knowledge that demands financial investment such as manufacturing and maintaining costs, testing costs, and quality assurance costs. These deliberations are crucial to improving the accessibility of the developed system. However, these deliberations rely on the organization's size, capital, opportunities, etc. Thus, ensuring these necessities is comparatively challenging. Inal et al. [ 41 ] showed their effort by conducting a user survey about digital accessibility practices to identify the challenges of creating an accessible system. They invited user experience (UX) professionals to find the most common challenges. The challenges were associated with time constraints, lack of training cost constraints, work overload, not being a requirement for the organization, not being a customer requirement, and people with disabilities or special needs not included as target users. Inal et al. highlighted that such challenges act as barriers to considering accessibility requirements seriously, which is responsible for the current inaccessible web.

Another study by Brajnik and Vigo [ 42 ] addressed some crucial challenges that need to consider for introducing an accessible web. The most pressing ones are validity, reliability, sensitivity, and adequacy of user-tailored metrics. Challenges with validity are associated with different validation systems of metrics. For example, there are no specific/gold standards to produce the output for the validation process. The reliance on tools and their limited coverage, completeness, and correctness are heterogonous issues that arise as challenges during metrics result in validation. The reliability of several evaluation performance metrics (human judgment, automatic evaluation, etc.) depends on the evaluation metric transparency and their reproducible and comparable results. Brajnik and Vigo depict that the actual cause for low reliability is the adopted sampling method to evaluate the pages, such as accessibility violation criteria, identified data, formulae, or methods to compute the final score. Sensitivity and adequacy are related to the meaningfulness and suitability of the generated scores through metrics. User-tailored metrics depend on the user's ability as all users have different needs. Accessibility barriers affect different ability users in various manners. Thus, such aspects addressed by Brajnik and Vigo need to be considered in future research.

Furthermore, Palaskar et al. [ 43 ] revealed that existing automated accessibility testing tools consider around 50% of Web Content Accessibility Guidelines. Though most of the rules are easy to understand, sometimes it is pretty challenging to implement all the natural language rules in an automatic system. They also claimed that some rules are unacceptable for ensuring accessibility, and others are inappropriate, for example, rules for color schemes and image captions accessibility checking. To develop an accessible website, consideration of some specific aspects is insufficient. Sometimes, accessibility checking requires more than the considered rules. Thus, validating the appropriate rules and incorporating all the guidelines is the major challenge for current web-based accessibility research.

3.3.3 Improvement directions (ID)

This section describes directions for future improvement of accessible development. Among 92 papers, ten (10) studies were related to improvement directions (representing 10.8% of the total literature). These investigated studies could be grouped into two main topics of interest, as presented in Table 5 .

In the context of improvement direction, few studies focused on the technological aspects of accessible development. Edelberg and Verhulsdonck [ 44 ] addressed that web developers and associated authorities choose the colors and font based on the choice of organization identity. However, through this process, it is not always possible to address accessibility issues such as inaccessible color and contrast, and fonts, which makes a difference in design and development for people with disabilities such as a person with low vision. They suggested that colors, fonts, and supporting elements should be perceived correctly during the development phase. Development should be encoded according to the content management system (CMS) to enhance the user experience of a wider audience. Brajnik and Vigo [ 42 ] pointed out the significant progress for accessibility metrics in the last decades. However, immaturity is still present in modern development. Thus, future research for further improvements is indicated. Based on their observation, they added a few improvement directions. For example, the implementation should follow Agile, an iterative development model to keep track of accessibility issues. In addition, following the hybrid approach like human judgments through different levels of expertise and users, such as disability type or user, might improve the accessibility of the development. Miesenberger et al. [ 45 ] presented some accessibility challenges related to cognitive disability with associated improvement direction. For instance, individual user-centered and personal services-based design and development should ensure. Accessibility requirements should be tested in development cycles with several testing tools (keyboard/mouse logging, eye tracking, etc.). To better usability design, an advanced development framework or platform for R&D should incorporate, and the development should follow the process model (e.g., Waterfall, Iterative, Spiral, Agile, etc.). In addition, Alismail and Chipidza [ 46 ] recommended following the WCAG 2.0 and 2.1 guidelines to develop accessible websites by addressing potential accessibility issues. Also, they emphasized user testing by involving people with disabilities, integrating assistive technologies during web accessibility evaluation, incorporating accessibility requirements during design, development, and maintenance phases, and arranging training for web developers and designers to spread accessibility awareness.

In the accessible prototype design context, Bhagat and Joshi [ 47 ] presented a few technical recommendations to overcome accessibility challenges. They also mentioned that all the accessibility requirements should be checked and validated by the website's quality assurance (QA) team. Ojha et al. [ 48 ] provided a few guidelines based on their detailed study on improving website accessibility with readability. Readability improvement suggestions are related to website structural components such as hyperlinks and image alt-text. These functions should ensure by incorporating the variable weight-based approach for different elements of web pages. Also, website dynamism should be considered in readability score computation to improve the readability in terms of the accessibility of the website. Furthermore, Morris et al. [ 52 ] emphasized ensuring alt text of visual content for screen reader users. They have articulated design guidelines for the representation of visual content with prototype design requirements, especially for people with vision impairments, to facilitate and improve visual content accessibility.

3.3.4 Framework design (FD)

This section describes several frameworks designed to contribute to the web evaluation process to facilitate web platform accessibility. Among 92 papers, seventeen (17) were related to framework design (representing 18.4% of the total literature). These investigated studies could be grouped into three main topics of interest, as presented in Table 6 .

To contribute to accessible user-centric design, Alahmadi [ 53 ] proposed a state-of-the-art framework for web accessibility evaluation to facilitate accessibility measurement and identify accessibility standards errors. The proposed model ensures user-centered design (UCD) based on usability and accessibility guidelines for deaf, visually impaired, and deaf-blindness people. Kaur and Gupta [ 54 ] proposed a quality index evaluation framework to evaluate website design to ensure the quality of web design and development. Hassouna et al. [ 55 ] addressed some significant issues for users with visual impairment. Concerning the accessibility requirements for users with vision impairment, they designed an accessible web page prototype. Few studies focused on ontology design. For example, Sapna and Mohanty [ 56 ] proposed a large-scale test scenario management process using ontology modeling with the help of Web Ontology Language (OWL) to facilitate the software and web development, and testing process by providing faster and more reliable services. Kourtiche et al. [ 57 ] designed an ontology of user-profiles considering user disability context to understand various user requirements during accessible web development. Another study proposed by Fayzrahmanov et al. [ 58 ] developed a user interface to improve web navigability considering the user requirements with visual impairment.

In the context of web accessibility evaluation, Li et al. [ 59 ] designed an interactive web accessibility evaluation system based on the Chinese government guidelines. This framework incorporates automatic tools and human inspection to make evaluation feasible for large web pages. Alsaeedi [ 60 ] proposed a novel framework for evaluating the performance of two accessibility testing protocols in webpage evaluation. Song et al. [ 61 ] designed a crowdsourcing-based web accessibility evaluation framework to validate against WCAG. It generates the automatic accessibility score of each evaluated webpage according to the weight of each checkpoint. Giovanna et al. [ 62 ] developed an open support accessibility evaluation tool to improve automatic accessible support following accessibility conformance testing (ACT) rules. Sanchez-Gordon and Luján-Mora [ 64 ] proposed an agile environment-based accessibility evaluation framework to improve evaluation results based on automated tools, simulators, and expert and user-based testing. In further evaluation, Song et al. [ 65 ] addressed the complexity of accessibility evaluation methods and the shortage of experts in this field. These aspects make the accessibility evaluation process difficult and reduce their significance. Thus, they proposed a crowdsourcing-based web accessibility evaluation system that uses decision strategies such as the golden set strategy and time-based golden set strategy. Palaskar et al. [ 43 ] claimed that most existing Americans with Disabilities (ADA) tools detect only 50% to 60% of accessibility violations because the rules are not understandable. They developed an API to test websites according to the WCAG 2.0 guidelines and A, AA, and AAA conformance level. Additionally, Acosta-Vargas et al. [ 66 ] designed a heuristic method to enable accessibility measurement of websites to ensure an accessible and inclusive web platform.

Additionally, Won [ 67 ] developed a color tool to understand website color meaning for accessible design practice. The proposed approach can evaluate webpage HTML design prototypes and provide a clear understanding of product-specific colors, cross-cultural color meanings, and color preference. It assists designers in making better color decisions during the design and development phase.

3.3.5 Framework implementations (FI)

This section describes several studies that implemented different approaches to contribute to evaluating an accessible web platform. Among 92 papers, seventeen (17) were related to implementation purposes (representing 18.4% of the total literature). These investigated studies could be grouped into three main topics of interest, as presented in Table 7 .

Concerning web accessibility evaluation, many research studies proposed decision support systems, evaluation tools, algorithms, frameworks, models, and interfaces. Mohamad et al. [ 68 ] developed a decision support system for large-scale compliance assessment against web accessibility recommendations and legislation. This architecture aims to provide scalable, interoperable, and integrated web accessibility assessment in the context of user-centric design to develop accessible web and mobile applications. Li et al. [ 69 ] proposed an EDBA decision support system for website accessibility evaluation at a lower cost. Among other scientific studies, Žuliček et al. [ 70 ] developed an accessibility evaluation tool to evaluate the whole webpage, including subpages, to provide a detailed analysis and simplified code refinement. Oliveira et al. [ 71 ] developed an accessibility assessment tool to analyze the strength and weaknesses of the website following the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines. Rashida et al. [ 72 ] developed an automated web-based tool to identify the quality of academic websites by considering websites' content of information, loading time, and overall performance metrics. Lim et al. [ 73 ] proposed an open-source customized automated accessibility testing tool based on the existing Axe accessibility testing engine to scale up the accessibility testing process. Gaggi and Pederiva [ 39 ] developed an automatic tool to assist designers and developers in understanding development aspects that should be considered during the development process to introduce an accessible website. In addition, Duarte et al. [ 74 ] developed an algorithm to automatically identify the semantic similarity between web content and its textual description in the context of web accessibility evaluation guidelines or rules. Wu et al. [ 75 ] developed a semi-supervised regression algorithm involving manual evaluation (webpage sampling) and automatic accessibility testing to generate the overall evaluation result of the website. Almeida and Baranauskas [ 38 ] developed a framework following universal design (UD) accessibility guidelines to help designers overcome accessibility barriers in a web-based system. Morato et al. [ 76 ] proposed a framework for automatic website accessibility checking in the context of readability through a linguistic characteristics analyzer to identify the best linguistic feature to detect text readability.

In the context of accessibility evaluation for visually impaired people, Michailidou et al. [ 78 ] implemented an open-source web accessibility prediction model to predict and visualize the complexity of web pages in the form of a pixelated heat map. Another work proposed by Bonacin et al. [ 79 ] developed an adaptive interface focusing on the requirements of Color Vision Deficiency (CVD) people considering automatic recoloring facilities to facilitate the interaction of CVD people with the web.

Additionally, for accessible prototype development, Matošević et al. [ 82 ] developed a machine learning algorithms-based expert knowledge system to classify web pages or parts of web pages to improve search engine optimization (SEO) guidelines.

3.3.6 Testing (T)

This section describes the studies associated with the testing purpose for accessibility validation of web platforms. Among 92 papers, thirty (30) were related to accessibility testing (32.6% of the total literature). These investigated studies could be grouped into five main topics of interest, as presented in Table 8 .

In the context of testing, many research studies focused on accessibility testing tools to validate website accessibility considering several disabilities. Few studies tested accessibility issues by incorporating automated accessibility testing tools. Martins et al. [ 83 ] tested eHealth websites using a single accessibility testing tool to identify the accessibility issues. Addressing the effectiveness of multiple automatic testing tools, Padure and Pribeanu [ 84 ] applied six accessibility evaluation tools to evaluate their selected websites. They suggested that a single testing tool is not enough to identify all the accessibility issues of a website. In other studies, Marino and Alfonzo [ 35 ] claimed that automatic tools are inadequate to clarify all the accessibility issues of websites. Thus, further manual observation is required. Therefore, Hassouna et al. [ 85 ] initiated a semi-automated evaluation process utilizing an automatic tool and human observation to evaluate design prototypes of websites. The considered evaluation tool is effective as it identifies problems in the design stage. For example, if it detects any error, it redirects to the design stage to show the problem and repair the design problems without modifying the original code. Also, Bhagat and Joshi [ 47 ] observed that a lack of awareness regarding assistive technologies and global accessibility standards is responsible for less inclusive and less accessible website design and development. Thus, they conducted the experimental procedure following automatic and user testing to help service providers, government divisions, and ministries ensure maximum accessibility of online platforms. Rysavy and Michalak [ 92 ] evaluated the library tools and services in terms of accessibility and usability with open-source tools that emphasized the involvement of blind student workers to validate the resulting transparency.

In contrast, few studies evaluated websites considering several tools and techniques to measure the performance of accessibility, usability, readability, and quality. Akgül [ 93 ] evaluated website accessibility, usability, quality, and readability using several tools and techniques. The author employed online open-source tools for accessibility testing and visual and manual inspection for usability testing considering several design standards and Google search results. For quality performance, Akgül incorporated webpage monitoring software considering download time, page size, and objects per website. Finally, evaluated readability, considering text alignment, webpage language, and all-caps text. Grant et al. [ 97 ] examined web accessibility and user experience using the hidden code optimization technique. They aim to motivate better web development practices and improve the overall holistic user experience. Ajuji et al. [ 96 ] and Kumar et al. [ 98 ] proposed two scientific studies. They depict that though the increasing web interactivity is significantly visible, still people with disabilities are finding it difficult to access. They highlighted that website has non-compliant issues against the W3C guidelines. Thus, to evaluate the websites' conformance to the WCAG, Ajuji et al. implemented an automatic accessibility testing tool to evaluate the websites in terms of Perceivable, Operable, Understandable, and Robust. Kumar et al. considered a simulator to visualize the accessibility issues for different types of disabilities. Burkard et al. [ 99 ] counteracted that the importance and awareness of digital accessibility are often not recognized during web development. Due to the complexity of the guidelines, people are not motivated to follow them. Therefore, automatic accessibility barrier checking, identifying, and fixing is an important issue. They considered several accessibility monitoring systems to validate the websites and compare tools in the context of completeness and correctness. Also, Alshamari [ 51 ] evaluated the accessibility of E-commerce websites through multiple accessibility evaluation tools to generate evaluation reports, locate potential errors, and direct warnings to help in accessible website design and development. Furthermore, Król et al. [ 105 ] evaluated the quality of the websites through automatic testing tools considering website performance, SEO quality, website availability, and mobile friendliness.

In the context of better user experience, Bai [ 31 ] emphasized accessibility and usability observation as website accessibility and usability are highly correlated. Bai choose the most frequently used automatic conformance testing tools and several usability testing models. Another study proposed by Yi [ 106 ] claimed that most websites are not accessible to people with visual impairment, even not readable by the screen reader. This problem happens as websites have too many menus, multiple frames, and a lack of alternative text. Thus, Yi proposed the web accessibility evaluation process using questionnaire-based user testing incorporating people with visual impairment. All the users tested websites using assistive technologies such as screen readers to share their opinions by answering questions about the websites’ accessibility.

3.3.7 Evaluation

This section describes several accessibility evaluation methods and techniques. Among 92 papers, nineteen (19) were related to accessibility evaluation (representing 20.6% of the total literature). These investigated studies could be grouped into three main topics of interest, as presented in Table 9 .

Here, we focus on the studies performed in the context of evaluation purposes. For accessibility evaluation, few studies focused on the questionnaire and expert-based evaluation. Hassouna et al. [ 55 ] and Moreno et al. [ 107 ] argued that the web is less accessible for people with vision impairments. They utilized questionnaire-based evaluation for accessibility prototypes with the participation of people with visual impairment. For descriptive analysis of the questionnaire result, they used statistical techniques to observe the relationship between the questionnaire items and the dependent variables. Another study by Hadadi [ 110 ] stated that designers are not careful about considering the requirements of disabilities such as color blindness. Thus, they overlooked the accessibility criteria to integrate into the design tools. This work evaluated the accessibility of widely used design tools through user feedback. The aim was to increase accessibility awareness and encourage product designers to design and develop an accessible solution. Alcaraz Martínez et al. [ 114 ] addressed that several statistical charts on websites are valuable for representing the information. Unfortunately, charts on websites are not accessible for people with low vision and CVD. Thus, they performed a heuristic accessibility evaluation of statistical charts focusing on the needs of people with low vision and CVD to find the usability problems in user interface design. In another study, Giovanna et al. [ 62 ] conducted a quantitative and qualitative analysis of user feedback regarding task completion time and computing success rate metric. In addition, some existing literature focused on automatic testing validator performance assessment and effeteness. Krawiec and Dudycz [ 108 ] evaluated the performance of automatic accessibility testing validator considering standards, the number of page validation ability, user interface interactivity, software update, free/commercial, etc. This assessment system helps to understand the most effective tool according to the specific requirements. Kous et al. [ 102 ] reinforced that several statistical methods using the quantitative data analysis concept are valuable for validating automatic web accessibility testing results. Grantham et al. [ 109 ] claimed that low literacy and numeracy skills sometimes affect user access and understanding of the website's content. Following accessibility guidelines and incorporating advanced assessment criteria against international legal accessibility requirements should be considered to ensure an accessible web.

Considering readability, Kimmons [ 111 ] claimed that most websites have accessibility issues with content understanding (readability) and structural elements. These issues introduce serious accessibility problems and act as a leading cause of reducing accessibility. Another work is conducted by Sun et al. [ 113 ] to assess e-textbooks’ accessibility. They investigated accessibility considering reading time and accuracy to content-related questions. They evaluated experiment results through composite, average, and weighted average scores to examine user experience and performance. However, Ojha et al. [ 48 ] addressed a wide array of accessibility and readability evaluation metrics for online content based on machine learning and statistical language modeling techniques.

In the context of usability evaluation, Radcliffe et al. [ 112 ] conducted m-Health app evaluation considering accessibility and usability concerns. The evaluation was performed through rapid user-testing and quantifying usability feedback. The user testing result and usability feedback were validated through several standardized evaluation methods for inclusive design requirements specification. Wu et al. [ 33 ] addressed that web designers and developers should focus on usability criteria instead of user experience as ensuring usability improves accessibility. Thus, their paper presents several methods and techniques for usability and accessibility evaluation of web design, such as naturalistic observation, participatory evaluation, web-based methods, prototyping, usability inspections, and usability laboratory testing. Giraud et al. [ 116 ] indicated that filtering redundant and irrelevant information is crucial for people with visual impairments similar to sighted users to improve the accessibility of the web. Therefore, to improve website usability, some specific needs of users with visual impairment are emerging to consider. They conducted experiments with users with vision impairment to determine the accessibility of web content in terms of filtered or not irrelevant and redundant information. Also, cognitive load, performance, and participants' satisfaction were investigated through the dual-task paradigm.

Figure  8 represents the number of papers on each topic of interest according to the seven processes. This figure depicts that the number of proposed approaches for accessibility testing to identify accessibility issues is more frequent than other approaches such as development, implementation, and evaluation. The observation result of research question 1 concludes that the number of the proposed approach for the development and implementation of the accessible web evaluation approach was relatively lower, which addresses a further concern of the web researcher.

figure 8

Number of studies on each topic of research interest according to the seven processes/phase

RQ-2: What are the current engineering assets (tools, technologies, etc.) to support the evaluation of accessible web?

We analyzed the selected papers and identified several groups of interest considering our seven processes. Table 10 summarizes the 22 groups of topics of interest related to the seven processes, including verities of methods, tools, and techniques to answer our second research question.

Asset description

From the 7 process groups and 22 topics of interest (Table 10 ), we aimed to highlight the main assets related to the engineering aspects to support the technical process we have found in our SLR offered by past researchers. These findings will help developers, web engineers, accessibility researchers, and associated authorities to support the accessible design and development process. The addressed assets are listed and described below.

Assets of accessibility requirements (AR)

(AR 1 .) Assets for the importance of accessibility and usability guidelines: (1)  explanation  of higher accessibility standards in website evaluation [ 31 ]; (2)  explanation  of the importance of accessibility guidelines and user requirements for people with disabilities [ 32 ]; (3) sets of usability requirements  for conventional visualization elements design for cognitive barriers people [ 33 ]; (4)  explanation  of web usability and accessibility requirements of WCAG 2.0 and ISO 9241 standards [ 34 ].

Therefore, in this group, we identified two subgroups of assets: s-group-1: 3 studies for the explanation, and s-group-2: 1 study for requirements.

(AR 2 .) Assets for accessibility, usability, and user experience improvement methods: (1)  methods  to improve accessibility, usability, and user experience [ 36 ]; (2)  methods  to understand user perception to improve usability and user experience [ 37 ].

Therefore, in this group, we identified one subgroup of assets: s-group-1: 2 studies for methods.

(AR 3 .) Assets for accessibility requirements specification: (1) Faware is a framework for accessibility requirements representation and implementation in visualization elements design and development [ 38 ]; (2) WCAG4All is a tool for understanding accessibility requirements following standards guidelines [ 39 ];

Therefore, in this group, we identified two subgroups of assets: s-group-1: 1 study for framework and s-group-2: 1 study for tools.

Assets of challenges (C)

(C 1 .) Assets of limited resource adequacy: (1)  cost  for maintaining, testing, and quality assurance is challenging that depends on organization size, capital, and opportunities [ 40 ]; (2)  opportunities for the training program, learning materials, etc. are not enough for accessibility knowledge improvement [ 56 ]; 3) practical experience and advanced knowledge  of UX professionals from different countries are limited [ 41 ].

Therefore, in this group, we identified three subgroups of assets: s-group-1: 1 study for cost, s-group-2: 1 study for opportunities, and s-group-3: 1 study for experience and knowledge.

(C 2 .) Assets of success criteria validation: (1)  metrics  for accessibility evaluation concerning validity, reliability, sensitivity, and adequacy are challenging to ensure [ 42 ].

Therefore, in this group, one subgroup of assets was found: s-group-1: 1 study for metrics.

(C 3 .) Assets of rules optimization : (1)  guidelines  are not enough or appropriate, even difficult to incorporate in automated systems or web development processes [ 43 ].

Therefore, we found one subgroup of assets in this group: s-group-1: 1 study for guidelines.

Assets of improvement directions (ID)

(ID 1 .) Assets for technological aspects: (1) guidelines for accessible and functional prototype design and development [ 44 ]; (2) directions for accessible development [ 42 ]; (3) directions for cognitive disabilities and their particular accessibility barriers in recent development [ 45 ]; (4) suggestions for development that would be facilitated and tested during the design and development phase [ 46 ].

Therefore, in this group, we identified three subgroups of assets: s-group-1: 1 study for guidelines, s-group-2: 2 studies for directions, and s-group-3: 1 study for suggestions.

(ID 2 .) Assets for accessible prototype design: (1)  directions  for accessible prototype design and development [ 47 ]; (2)  guidelines  for improving website readability by ensuring proper structural components and website dynamism [ 48 ]; (3)  suggestions  for spreading awareness, organizing training, and focusing on the accessible prototype design to make the websites accessible to all, including people with special needs [ 49 ]; (4)  suggestions  for accessible prototype design to ensure advanced multimedia components [ 50 ]; (5)  suggestions  for some potential features that should be taken into consideration during feature development [ 51 ]; (6)  guidelines  for visual content representation and accessible prototype design for screen reader users [ 52 ].

Therefore, in this group, we identified three subgroups of assets: s-group-1: 2 studies for guidelines, s-group-2: 1 study for directions, and s-group-3: 3 studies for suggestions.

Assets of framework design (FD)

(FD 1 .) Assets for accessible user-centric design practice: (1) state-of-the-art  framework for university website accessibility evaluation for students with hearing and visual impairment [ 53 ]; (2)  evaluation  of web page prototype design considering blind user requirement [ 55 ]; (3) OUPIP is a user profile-based ontological  model  for designers and developers to develop applications, and devices considering user’s needs, disability type and dynamic context [ 57 ]; (4) multi-axial serialization  framework  for the users with visual impairment to understand and find the required information in the webpage [ 58 ]; (5)  Ontology  for test management process to provide detailed knowledge about the specific domain and captured requirements for testing [ 56 ]; (6) tool for quantitative measurement by evaluating website HTML code to identify the quality of the website design [ 54 ].

Therefore, in this group, we identified five subgroups of assets: s-group-1: 2 studies for framework, s-group-2: 1 study for evaluation, s-group-3: 1 study for models, s-group-4: 1 study for tool, and s-group-5: 1 study for ontology.

(FD 2 .) Assets for web accessibility evaluation: (1) design a cost-effective crowdsourcing  framework  for web accessibility evaluation considering 25 checkpoints and 5 conformance levels [ 59 ]; (2) proposed a  framework  in order to evaluate the well-known automatic accessibility tools in terms of webpage accessibility through their proposed measurement metrics [ 60 ]; (3) a crowdsourcing  framework  for web accessibility evaluation against web accessibility content guidelines checkpoints [ 61 ]; (4) an open and flexible accessibility testing  tool  to support single and multi-page validation [ 62 ]; (5) WUAM is a framework  for websites usability and accessibility evaluation to improve website performance [ 63 ]; (6) proposed a framework  for web accessibility improvement following ISTQB in agile contexts [ 64 ]; (7) proposed a crowdsourcing  framework  for website accessibility evaluation to identify the accessibility barriers and determine the overall accessibility level [ 65 ]; (8) proposed an API  based website accessibility testing tool following ADA guidelines to identify the potential errors and violations, even without prior knowledge [ 43 ]; (9) proposed a framework  for website accessibility barrier measurement according to several variable magnitude techniques [ 50 ]; 10) proposed a heuristic  method  to determine the level of accessibility of high ranked websites [ 66 ].

Therefore, in this group, we identified four subgroups of assets: s-group-1: 7 studies for framework, s-group-2: 1 study for method, s-group-3: 1 study for tool, and s-group-4:1 study for API.

(FD 3 .) Assets for accessible color design: (1) an accessible color suggestions  tool  for designers to improve their color judgment ability and increase their inspiration for accessible design practice [ 67 ].

Therefore, in this group, we identified one subgroup of assets: s-group-1: 1 study for tools.

Assets of framework implementation (FI)

(FI 1 .) Assets for web accessibility evaluation system: (1) user-centric holistic decision support environment  system  for web and mobile application accessibility evaluation [ 68 ]; (2) a cost-effective task assignment-based decision support  system  for web accessibility evaluation [ 69 ]; (3) a module  for automatically analyzing, identifying and solving the accessibility issues [ 70 ]; (4) an automated website readability assessment  model to improve the accessibility and readability of the website [ 76 ]; (5) ShoppingForAll is a tool  for evaluating and identifying the strength and weaknesses of the website in terms of user satisfaction and accessibility criteria [ 71 ]; (6) an  algorithm  for semantic similarity improvement of website content from the web accessibility perspective [ 74 ]; (7) a  tool  for quality assessment of the university websites by assessing website source code [ 72 ]; (8) FAware is a  tool  to provide accessibility issues and available suggestions [ 38 ]; (9) a semi-supervised  model  to evaluate and predict website accessibility [ 75 ]; (10) an open-source, industry-standard  tool  to addresses the shortcomings of current accessibility testing tools for the local government context [ 73 ]; (11) WCAG4All is a  tool  for consulting web designers and developers about accessibility guidelines [ 39 ]; (12) WAccess is a browser extension open-source accessibility testing  tool  to evaluate websites against WCAG guidelines [ 77 ].

Therefore, in this group, we identified five subgroups of assets: s-group-1: 2 studies for systems, s-group-2: 1 study for modules, s-group-3: 2 studies for models, s-group-4: 6 studies for tools, and s-group-5: 1 study for algorithms.

(FI 2 .) Assets for web accessibility evaluation for visually impaired users: (1) ViCRAM is a tool  to predict the visual complexity of the web pages associated with accessibility issues for people with visually impaired or low vision people [ 78 ]; (2) FAIBOUD is a framework  to facilitate the interaction of CVD people with the web [ 79 ]; (3) proposed an automatic  system  for identifying website drop-down menu widgets [ 80 ].

Therefore, in this group, we identified three subgroups of assets: s-group-1: 1 study for tool, s-group-2: 1 study for framework, and s-group-3: 1 study for the system.

(FI 3 .) Assets for accessible prototype improvements : (1) proposed a method  to improve accessibility issues by modifying faulty code into correct code to make content management system-based websites more accessible [ 81 ]; (2) An expert knowledge  system  to detect web page SEO quality [ 82 ].

Therefore, in this group, we identified two subgroups of assets: s-group-1: 1 study for method and s-group-2: 1 study for the expert system.

Assets of testing (T)

(T 1 .) Assets for automatic detection of accessibility issues : (1) ACCESSWEB is an automated validator  for accessibility evaluation considering different accessibility guidelines [ 83 ]; (2) TAW is an automated validator  for web pages evaluation against the web content standards [ 35 ]; (3) Total Validator is an automated validator  to validate accessibility against standards guidelines [ 86 ]; (4) A semi-automated  process  is to evaluate website design prototypes and repair without modifying the original page code [ 85 ]; (5) AChecker and TAW  automated validators are to validate the accessibility of the website and identify the associated issues that violated accessibility guidelines [ 87 ]; (6) automatic testing by AChecker, Total Validator, WAVE, and HTML/CSS/ARIA  automated validators  for evaluation of higher educational institute websites [ 88 ]; (7) hybrid accessibility testing  process  with AChecker, WAVE, and aXe automatic accessibility testing tools and JAWS and Non-Visual Desktop Access, two open-source screen reader applications [ 47 ]; (8) WAVE is an automated validator  to indicate accessibility issues and related accessibility features [ 89 ]; (9) AChecker, Cynthia Says, Mauve, TAW, Total Validator, and Wave are automated validators to identify the accessibility issues and compare their result to understand the effectiveness of the system [ 84 ]; (10) AChecker, WAVE, and SortSite are automated validators  to identify the shortcoming of websites [ 46 ]; (11) AChecker, Cynthia Says, EIII Checker, MAUVE, SortSite, TAW, Tenon, and WAVE are automated validators  to identify the effectiveness of result considering coverage completeness, correctness, specificity, inter-reliability and intra-reliability, validity, efficiency, and capacity [ 90 ]; (12) multi-tool accessibility assessment through  automated validators  such as AChecker, Cynthia Says, Tenon, WAVE, Mauve, and Hera to perform a comparative analysis of websites to identify the effective testing tool [ 49 ].

Therefore, in this group, we identified two subgroups of assets: s-group-1: 10 studies for the automated validator, and s-group-2: 2 studies for the process.

(T 2 .) Assets for content evaluation for osteoarthritis: (1) SMOG and FOG are two  automated validators  to determine webpage content readability considering informative images and relevant video [ 91 ].

Therefore, we identified one subgroup of assets in this group: s-group-1: 1 study for the automated validator.

(T 3 .) Assets for accessibility evaluation for blind users: (1) WAVE is an online  automated validator  for accessibility issues identification of library tools and services for blind users [ 92 ].

Therefore, this group identified one subgroup of assets: s-group-1: 1 study for the automated validator.

(T 4 .) Assets for accessibility evaluation: (1) propose a hybrid  evaluation  approach for improving user experience [ 97 ]; (2 ) A hybrid  evaluation  process for accessibility, usability, quality and readability testing [ 93 ]; (3) A semi-automated evaluation process incorporating AChecker, Total Validator, WAVE and expert opinion to examine the webpage code [ 94 ]; (4) AChecker is an automated validator  to analyze education cooperative websites to determine its accessibility considering disabilities [ 95 ]; (5) TAW is an automated validator  to validate websites against the conformance of WCAG 2.0 [ 96 ]; (6) A simulator  for visual, hearing and mobility impairment to visualize the accessibility issue associated with the particular disability [ 98 ]; (7) A semi-automated process considering axe Monitor, Pope Tech, Siteimprove, ARC with user feedback to validate websites accessibility [ 99 ]; (8) WAVE is an automated validator  to validate the accessibility of COVID-19 vaccine registration portals [ 100 ]; (9) accessibility evaluation through comparative  analysis  using automatic accessibility testing protocols and statistical observation [ 101 ]; (10) AChecker is an automated validator  to evaluate website accessibility [ 102 ]; (11) AChecker, Cynthia Says, and TAW are automated validators  to validate website e-accessibility [ 103 ]; (12) A comparative analysis using Webaccessibility automated accessibility validator and statistical technique to validate the websites against WCAG 2.1 conformance guidelines [ 104 ]; (13) Google PageSpeed Insights, Blink Audit Tool, Backlink Checker, WAVE and Bulk are automated validator  to assess and evaluate website quality [ 105 ]; (14) Achecker, TAW, Eval Access, MAUVE and FAE are automated validators  to identify the accessibility issues of the selected websites [ 51 ].

Therefore, in this group, we identified four subgroups of assets: s-group-1: 2 studies for evaluation, s-group-2: 7 studies for the automated validator, s-group-3: 1 study for the simulator, s-group-4: 2 studies for analysis, and s-group-5: 2 studies for the process.

(T 5 .) Assets for better user experience: (1) FAE, Nielsen’s10-item metric, and Baker’s six-dimension are automated validators  for accessibility and usability testing for better user experience [ 31 ]; (2) questionnaire-based user  assessment  to identify the accessibility incompatibility with screen reader application [ 106 ].

Therefore, in this group, we identified two subgroups of assets: s-group-1: 1 study for automated validator and s-group-2: 1 study for assessment.

Assets of evaluation (E)

(E 1 .) Assets for accessibility evaluation methods: (1) manual  assessment  through assistive technology with users and experts in this field [ 83 ]; (2) questionnaire-based  assessment  for people with visual impairment through several data analysis techniques [ 85 ]; (3) questionnaire-based  evaluation  for discovering the navigation strategies of low vision people that cause to experience accessibility barriers [ 107 ]; (4) automatic  assessment  system to identify the most effective validator for accessibility testing [ 108 ]; (5) statistical data  analysis  to validate the reliability of the questionnaire result [ 55 ]; (6) quantitative data  analysis  using statistical analysis methods [ 102 ]; (7) manual  assessment  criteria for accessibility assessment of Australian private and governmental websites against DDA standards [ 109 ]; (8) user  evaluation  of Adobe online design platforms tool with the help of mix panel data analysis [ 110 ]; (9) statistical  evaluation  for quality analysis of the websites [ 105 ].

Therefore, in this group, we identified three subgroups of assets: s-group-1: 4 studies for assessment, s-group-2: 3 studies for evaluation, and s-group-3: 2 studies for analysis.

(E 2 .) Assets for readability evaluation tools and techniques : (1)  metrics / tools  for website content readability measurement to make website content universally accessible [ 48 ]; (2) descriptive  evaluation  of university homepage to validate the readability [ 111 ].

Therefore, in this group, we identified two subgroups of assets: s-group-1: 1 study for metrics/tool and s-group-2: 1 study for evaluation.

(E 3 .) Assets for usability evaluation methods: (1) statistical  techniques  for usability testing of m-Health application [ 112 ]; (2) questionnaire-based  evaluation  for user experience testing [ 113 ]; (3) quantitative and qualitative  analysis  considering the user performance, computing task completion time, and correct task completion ratio [ 62 ]; (4) quantitative and qualitative  analysis  with statistical measurements to evaluate user perceptions [ 115 ]; (5) statistical  analysis  to determine the relationship between web accessibility and usability [ 31 ]; (6) user  evaluation  to improve website accessibility and interface usability by reducing the cognitive load of people with blindness [ 116 ]; (7) hybrid  evaluation  process to identify the effectiveness of usability and interface design [ 33 ]; (8) quantitative and qualitative  analysis  to evaluate user perceptions for interactive user interface design [ 114 ].

Therefore, in this group, we identified three subgroups of assets: s-group-1: 1 study for technique, s-group-2: 3 studies for evaluation, and s-group-3: 4 studies for analysis.

Figure  9 shows the graphical representation of assets obtained in this SLR. The observation result of research question 2 (as shown in Fig.  9 ) illustrates that automated validators, tools, and frameworks are the main research assets in the investigated area. It demonstrated that most past researchers and the scientific community contributed to accessibility research using the existing automated validators. Recently researchers focused on developing accessibility testing tools and designing frameworks to contribute to accessibility practice, though the number of developed tools and frameworks is limited. In addition, a small group of researchers has conducted studies on other aspects in the accessibility context.

figure 9

Identified assets of the research outcome

4 Discussion

4.1 research context’s investigation results.

This section highlights the context we focused on in our investigation to reveal in this SLR. The first context of the discussion is the invested domain of past studies. Figure  10 shows the number of papers in each research area found in this SLR. Most studies focused on education, such as government and higher education institute websites. However, few studies focused on other areas such as libraries, health care, electronic materials (e.g., eBooks, visual charts, etc.), tourism, and E-commerce. Accessibility research has a significant contribution to national and international legislation to develop accessible software or web in different domains. However, more investigation for accessibility measurement should be carried out considering other areas to present accessible systems within a broad scope of future research. Besides, during the COVID-19 pandemic, accessible healthcare websites were significantly valuable and were a crucial requirement for the world community [ 117 ]. However, the observation result depicts that the number of proposed studies focusing on the healthcare domain is not adequate, which is the present research gap in this particular domain. This finding exposes the necessity of devoting continued effort to investigating the healthcare domain in future research.

figure 10

Number of studies of each area of research considering accessibility domain

Figure  11 shows that according to the investigated platforms, most of the selected studies focused on web systems (75 studies), four (4) studies focused on tools and applications, and six (6) studies presented platform-independent approaches.

figure 11

Number of investigated studies of each platform

Regarding guidelines, most of the selected studies followed WCAG standards to evaluate and develop the web or software application. Figure  12 depicts that WCAG is the dominant and accepted standard for referencing primary accessibility guidelines for the accessible solution and prototype design or user-centric design issues. WCAG is also extensively used as a referencing guideline in accessibility assessment or testing tool development. However, as WCAG is incorporated widely; a few deliberations are laborious to solve by imposing this standard alone. Thus, a wide variety of supporting resources and other guidelines or standards is crucial help for web developers and designers to improve accessibility issues and overcome the current accessibility limitation.

figure 12

Number of studies according to the focused guideline

Regarding programming language, the frequently used programming language to implement the proposed methods, tools, and frameworks were JavaScript (object-oriented), Python (high-level programming language), HTML (markup language), CSS/SCSS (style description language), PHP (scripting language), C+ + (case sensitive language), OWL (knowledge representation language) and SWRL (logical inference engine). The most frequently marked engineering tools were Apache and MySQL webserver, Oracle database, JavaScript (React), FontAwesome, Axe, Chrome, and HTML Code Sniffer accessibility evaluation libraries. Frequently applied Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) are Clarifai (for image and video), Indico (for semantic matching), Swoogle, AATT, and REST API for Windows and Linux Operating systems. Most tested websites followed content management systems such as WordPress, Joomla, and Drupal. The tested report represents in extensible markup language (XML), enhanced address recognition logic (EARL), and portable document format (PDF). However, Selenium Web Browser Automation and ChromeDriver Tools with Webdriver and MutationObserver API are effective among other web engineering tools.

Generally, the effectiveness and performance of the web concerning accessibility issues have been assessed through automatic testing (accessibility and usability) and human observation. Figure  13 shows that frequently implemented testing tools are WAVE, AChecker, and TAW. However, earlier studies also addressed other accessibility and usability testing tools such as Mauve, Cynthia Says, Total Validator, aXe Monitor, Tenon, Siteimprove, SortSite, etc. Among several automatic testing tools, some specific tools have been implemented frequently in the past literature. Despite the availability of a wide array of accessibility testing tools (approximately 75 according to W3C), most tools are underrated, and even web designers and developers have no idea about these tools and their effectiveness [ 118 ]. In the investigated works of literature, only three pieces of literature compared multiple automatic accessibility testing tools to evaluate their effectiveness. This limited number of comparative analyses is not sufficient to show the usefulness of the existing automated tools. Thus, it is crucial to devote continued effort to perform further comparative analysis considering the benefits of automatic testing tools in future accessibility research.

figure 13

Number of studies considering implemented testing tools

Concerning the accessibility and usability evaluation and validation results, SPSS, Microsoft Excel, and STATISTICA were the most used statistical analysis tools. Frequently used statistical standards are standard deviation (SD), Pearson’s correlation analysis, one-way ANOVA, System Usability Scale (SUS), Tierney’s 7-min accessibility assessment and app rating system, z-score calculation, Kolmogorov–Smirnov test, Shapiro–Wilk test, Wilcoxon signed-rank test, arithmetic mean, median, coefficient of variation, minimum and maximum value computation. According to past literature, these statistical techniques are effective in accessibility evaluation and validation practice.

Concerning the publication frequency, the observation result shows that between 2010 and 2021, seven (7) studies were published per year on average. Figure  14 displays that the observed number of published studies was low until 2017. Since then, the number of published works has grown. Between 2020 and 2021, the number of publications has shown tremendous growth. This significant growing number of publications depicts that nowadays, web researchers are concerned about the importance of accessible web and ensuring accessibility of the digital platform.

figure 14

Number of publications per study year for the SLR

Considering our seven processes, we classified the selected papers into three periods: 2010–2013, 2014–2017, and 2018–2021. As shown in Fig.  15 , the number of publications between 2018 and 2021 was much higher in each of the 7 processes compared to the earlier periods. This increase was greatest in testing. The rise of articles in the implementation, evaluation, and design areas is also remarkable. These statistics indicate that concern about digital accessibility has increased in recent years. Compared with other processes, accessibility requirements, challenges, and improvement directions are underrated topics in accessibility research. In addition, the number of papers for development methods (development and implementation) is also limited. This observation directs the importance of devoting continued efforts to conducting future research concerning accessibility requirements, challenges, improvement directions, and development methods.

figure 15

Number of publications in seven processes of the SLR considering three time periods

As the prime objective of accessibility research is to ensure online platforms are accessible to people with disabilities, thus, in this SLR study, we classified the past studies according to their focused disability type. Almost one-third of the selected studies did not focus on any group of disabilities (see Fig.  16 ). A prominent number of studies focused on issues with every disability. The number of studies focused on visual impairment is also noticeable. However, compared to these three criteria (AI (area independent), AD (all types of disabilities), and VD (visual impairment)), a few studies considered the cognitive, sensory impairment, and physical disabilities issues. Apart from the invested disability types, it is crucial to show the continued effort for other exceptional cases, such as hearing disabilities, moving disabilities, special children, and autism.

figure 16

Publications with focused disabilities group

Despite the importance of applications to support during the web development process to ensure accessible application development, studies related to application development for accessibility direction are still limited compared to studies on web accessibility evaluation. This result shows the importance of putting effort into methods, tools, and assets to support the development of accessible web and web applications, considering the engineering feature of this platform.

4.2 Web accessibility in past studies

In our search for past studies, we found seven SLRs addressing web accessibility. Najadat et al. [ 119 ] indicated that research on web accessibility has grown since 2007. However, the development of accessibility evaluation tools, metrics, and standards was addressed poorly by past literature. They showed the most common web metrics regarding design, speed, size, diagnosis tools, and metrics for better provision of services. Following this, an SLR carried out by Muniandy and Sulaiman [ 120 ] depicts that for years, accessible computer application design, including mobile applications, computer applications, and online web applications for visually impaired people, has gained immense popularity. Research conducted by Baldwin and Ching [ 121 ] identified that user-centric web prototype design would be helpful to improve accessibility in upcoming development for people with disabilities.

Addressing these issues, an SLR carried out by Akram and Sulaiman [ 14 ] indicated that many studies published between 2009 to 2017 devoted to automated tools development to validate the technical aspects against the accessibility conformance or guidelines. Despite the importance of automatic accessibility testing tools, the lack of advanced techniques to develop these tools required human observation to interact with people with disabilities with interactive systems. With the same focus, an SLR carried out by Campoverde-Molina et al. [ 15 ] stated that a synthesis study is crucial to determine the web accessibility standards and the evaluation methods. They also indicated that the testing process remains the main focus of the current web research. In another SLR, Campoverde-Molina et al. [ 16 ] added that the majority of the experimented websites have potential accessibility issues that address further investigation and more research in this field.

In our findings, we identified a few studies related to the accessible design pattern of rich internet application (RIA), accessibility guidelines visualization, and user interface designs. Compared with the previous SLR studies proposed by Akram and Sulaiman and Campoverde-Molina et al., our proposed study also identifies the importance and growth of accessibility requirements elicitation. They added that research on accessible development and evaluation techniques, user-centric design, and user requirements with disabilities should consider.

Further, an SLR conducted by Oh et al. [ 122 ] indicated that web accessibility research in the area of web image analysis and web-based gamification or game development has increased. They added that understanding visual information (e.g., images) is a critical challenge for people with low vision. Another SLR proposed by Salvador-Ullauri et al. [ 123 ] depicted that web-based games are helpful for teaching and learning for people with disabilities. Web and game developers and designers are fascinated by implementing accessible features as accessibility guidelines are not limited to a particular domain of people. However, from the comparative analysis of previous SLRs, we can observe that (Table 11 ) most of the past SLR studies have lacked consideration of development and implementation approaches for web evaluation that are necessary to include in our SLR process.

4.3 Observation of research

In the investigated studies of this research, among the considered seven processes, challenges, and accessibility requirements experienced with less literature. The primary reason might be aligned with the current research focus. The majority of the research focused on the development of evaluation and testing methods, though addressing accessibility challenges during web development and enhancing the importance of ensuring accessibility guidelines is also important [ 124 ]. Without demonstrating the challenges that might be raised during the development process and their associated solutions, it is barely possible to ensure accessibility for digital sources (e.g., websites, software, etc.). To improve these issues, more attention should be given to the current research focus to identify the major challenges associated with the development of the accessible solution and demonstrate the accessibility guidelines with its advancements. Besides, the literature for framework design and development/implementation is not significant compared to the other processes (e.g., testing). Also, there was limited investigation for evaluation metrics to evaluate the correlation between experimented results and user (e.g., people with disabilities) perceptions, which introduces an urgent need to investigate accessibility result validation systems. In addition, our SLR result illustrates that most of the research focused on automatic accessibility testing tools to investigate the accessibility of the web platform. The articles found considered automatic accessibility testing tools while largely neglecting engineering asset development. Therefore, our proposed SLR depicts the importance of future research for updated methods, techniques, processes, and approaches to support the ensurement of an accessible web.

However, a positive finding observed in this SLR was the rapid growth of the number of studies in the accessibility context. Improving accessibility means developing accessible applications and solutions to help users with various disabilities. This perspective emphasized that developed systems should focus on user requirements (especially for special needs users) to ensure user-centric design, considering user involvement and global accessibility design guidelines for digital inclusion. To enable accessible development tendencies in companies and governmental organizations, several governments have proposed rules to improve the accessibility of digital services; for instance, the United Kingdom, the European Union, the Chinese government, and other public and private organizations. Despite several new digital content accessibility guidelines, investigating new processes, tools and techniques is a significant challenge that directs the importance of future investigations or state-of-the-art research.

5 Conclusion

A systematic literature review is presented in this paper, considering accessibility in the context of web evaluation processes. In this paper, we attempted to take a small step toward contributing to this research by pointing to a new direction for future goals and considerations.

This study showed automatic accessibility testing and evaluation of the focused area of research in the last decade for ensuring the inclusion of accessible web content. There was a great increase in the number of published works after 2017 compared to the previous years.

In the past, most of the literature focused on visual impairment, and very few papers discussed other disabilities, such as hearing, physical, and cognitive disabilities. In this SLR, we found requirements, challenges, engineering techniques, ontology, frameworks, API, algorithms, and testing tools for different levels of satisfaction associated with disabilities, but especially for visual impairment. Therefore, we identified and reported a research gap regarding other disabilities.

Unfortunately, there are few reference architectures for referring to accessible web design, development, and evaluation processes. For example, a framework for accessibility improvement of people with color vision deficiency [ 79 ], an approach for automatically identifying widgets [ 80 ], and an accessibility testing and refinement tool for the early design phase [ 110 ]. It would be beneficial to develop other reference architecture focusing on other contributing areas to solving three problems: (i) framework for the developer to identify and implement accessibility features to improve the accessibility issues, (ii) easy methods to understand and ensure accessibility requirements concerning every type of disabilities during the development phase, and (iii) updated automatic accessibility testing protocols incorporating the latest WCAG standards rules. To overcome these problems, we can note that developing new methods and tools could be a research topic in the upcoming years.

Considering the accessibility of current web platforms, in general, currently available web resources (websites, web-based games, web/mobile applications, etc.) are not accessible. Recently, the governments of many countries-imposed accessibility-related laws (i.e., WCAG) to ensure accessibility requirements. Furthermore, the methods and tools to solve the accessibility problems have limitations that direct future research concerning the development of engineering approaches.

For current accessibility research, there are many challenges to incorporating updated WCAG. Regarding automatic accessibility testing protocol, several studies focused on the limited number of guidelines and disability requirements. Studies for the design and development of accessibility testing protocols are limited. Thus, automatic accessibility testing protocol development concerning different disabilities and elderly user requirements could be a research area in the upcoming years.

Finally, consideration of several methodologies and open-source developments for ensuring accessibility is significantly important. Recently, several researchers and companies have been developing web-based solutions by adopting accessibility requirements. They develop open-source software that has an essential role for end-users and corporations. Accessibility is a crucial technological aspect of developing a new solution for any domain.

Abbreviations

Accessibility conformance testing

Americans with disabilities

Application programming interface

Cascading style sheets

Color vision deficiency

Disabilities discrimination act

Enhanced address recognition logic

Evaluator-decision-based assignment

Hypertext markup language

Information and communications technology

International software testing qualifications board

Web ontology language

Portable document format

Preferred reporting items for systematic reviews and meta-analyses

Rich internet application

Syntactically awesome style sheet

Search engine optimization

  • Systematic literature review

Semantic web rule language

User-centric design

Universal design

Web accessibility initiative

Web content accessibility guidelines

Extensible markup language

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Ara, J., Sik-Lanyi, C. & Kelemen, A. Accessibility engineering in web evaluation process: a systematic literature review. Univ Access Inf Soc 23 , 653–686 (2024). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10209-023-00967-2

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  • Volume 14, Issue 5
  • Preferences of people with chronic kidney disease regarding digital health interventions that promote healthy lifestyle: qualitative systematic review with meta-ethnography
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  • http://orcid.org/0000-0002-0437-7118 Thái Bình Trần 1 , 2 ,
  • http://orcid.org/0000-0001-9117-7722 Meghan Ambrens 3 , 4 ,
  • Jennifer Nguyễn 2 , 5 ,
  • Eve Coleman 3 , 5 ,
  • Yannick Gilanyi 5 , 6 ,
  • Meg Letton 1 , 3 ,
  • Anurag Pandit 5 ,
  • Logan Lock 5 ,
  • http://orcid.org/0000-0002-6575-3711 Jeanette M Thom 7 , 8 ,
  • Shaundeep Sen 2 , 9 ,
  • http://orcid.org/0000-0001-5935-7328 Kelly Lambert 1 , 10 ,
  • http://orcid.org/0000-0002-7469-6587 Ria Arnold 1 , 2 , 5
  • 1 School of Medical, Indigenous and Health Sciences , University of Wollongong Faculty of Science Medicine and Health , Wollongong , New South Wales , Australia
  • 2 Department of Renal Medicine , Concord Repatriation General Hospital , Concord , New South Wales , Australia
  • 3 Falls, Balance and Injury Research Centre , Neuroscience Research Australia , Randwick , New South Wales , Australia
  • 4 School of Population Health , University of New South Wales Faculty of Medicine , Sydney , New South Wales , Australia
  • 5 School of Health Sciences , University of New South Wales Faculty of Medicine , Sydney , New South Wales , Australia
  • 6 Centre for Pain IMPACT , Neuroscience Research Australia , Randwick , New South Wales , Australia
  • 7 School of Health Sciences , The University of Sydney Faculty of Medicine and Health , Sydney , New South Wales , Australia
  • 8 Sydney Musculoskeletal Health , The University of Sydney , Sydney , New South Wales , Australia
  • 9 Concord Clinical School , The University of Sydney Faculty of Medicine and Health , Sydney , New South Wales , Australia
  • 10 Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District , Wollongong , New South Wales , Australia
  • Correspondence to Associate Professor Ria Arnold; rarnold{at}uow.edu.au

Objectives Diet and physical activity are crucial for people with chronic kidney disease (CKD) to maintain good health. Digital health interventions can increase access to lifestyle services. However, consumers’ perspectives are unclear, which may reduce the capacity to develop interventions that align with specific needs and preferences. Therefore, this review aims to synthesise the preferences of people with CKD regarding digital health interventions that promote healthy lifestyle.

Design Qualitative systematic review with meta-ethnography.

Data sources Databases Scopus, CENTRAL, MEDLINE, CINAHL and SPORTDiscus were searched between 2000 and 2023.

Eligibility criteria Primary research papers that used qualitative exploration methods to explore the preferences of adults with CKD (≥18 years) regarding digital health interventions that promoted diet, physical activity or a combination of these health behaviours.

Data extraction and synthesis Two independent reviewers screened title, abstract and full text. Discrepancies were resolved by a third reviewer. Consumers’ quotes were extracted verbatim and synthesised into higher-order themes and subthemes.

Results Database search yielded 5761 records. One record was identified following communication with a primary author. 15 papers were included. These papers comprised 197 consumers (mean age 51.0±7.2), including 83 people with CKD 1–5; 61 kidney transplant recipients; 53 people on dialysis. Sex was reported in 182 people, including 53% male. Five themes were generated regarding consumers’ preferences for digital lifestyle interventions. These included simple instruction and engaging design; individualised interventions; virtual communities of care; education and action plans; and timely reminders and automated behavioural monitoring.

Conclusion Digital health interventions were considered an important mechanism to access lifestyle services. Consumers’ preferences are important to ensure future interventions are tailored to specific needs and goals. Future research may consider applying the conceptual framework of consumers’ preferences in this review to develop and evaluate the effect of a digital lifestyle intervention on health outcomes.

PROSPERO registration number CRD42023411511.

  • qualitative research
  • systematic review
  • chronic renal failure
  • nutrition & dietetics
  • physical therapy modalities

Data availability statement

Data are available on reasonable request. The data sets used and/or analysed during the current study are available from the corresponding author upon reasonable request.

This is an open access article distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial (CC BY-NC 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt, build upon this work non-commercially, and license their derivative works on different terms, provided the original work is properly cited, appropriate credit is given, any changes made indicated, and the use is non-commercial. See:  http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ .

https://doi.org/10.1136/bmjopen-2023-082345

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STRENGTHS AND LIMITATIONS OF THIS STUDY

The meta-ethnography approach allowed reviewers to generate novel, whole-of-phenomenon understandings that transcend the scope of any single study.

However, this approach is not without limitations. Since meta-ethnography seeks to synthesise qualitative studies with varying participants, settings and contexts; contextual nuances in each study may not be represented in the final synthesis.

Meta-ethnography is limited to qualitative evidence synthesis and may not be suitable for researchers looking to understand the scope of the literature on a topic.

The final synthesis does not provide immediate practical advice but rather a framework to inform further investigation.

Finally, meta-ethnography is a relatively new approach and there continues to be debates about the best meta-ethnography process, including eligibility criteria and appropriate number of constituent studies in a review.

Introduction

Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is a prevalent yet under-recognised condition characterised by irreversible kidney dysfunction. 1 Between 2017 and 2022, CKD affected 1 in 10 adults worldwide 2 ; was the 12th-leading cause of global mortality 3 and accounted for 35 million disability-adjusted life-years. 4 People with CKD have a high risk of physical disability 5 6 and cardiovascular mortality 7 8 due to systemic complications such as cardiovascular and neuromuscular disorders. 9–11 Furthermore, CKD incurs severe financial burden with the highest mean annual cost per person attributed to advanced stages requiring haemodialysis (INT$57 334) or transplantation (incident: INT$75 326; follow-up: INT$16 672). 12 Despite its burden, CKD is largely under-recognised with poor rates of documentation in primary care 13 14 and low recognition among people with biomarkers of kidney dysfunction. 15 Proactive strategies are needed to develop disease awareness, increase access to life-extending care and minimise disease burden.

Diet and physical activity are key strategies to prevent deterioration of health outcomes, 16 17 optimise health-related quality of life 18 19 and maintain physical independence 18 20 21 for people with CKD. However, consumers face numerous barriers to lifestyle management including low health literacy, 22 23 funding constraints for allied health physical activity services 24 and workforce limitations in rural settings. 25 26 Complex dietary requirements 27 and safety concerns relating to physical activity 28 also make behaviour change challenging. These factors highlight the need to develop innovative strategies to increase access to lifestyle interventions and support self-management.

Digital health interventions (DHIs) may provide a useful mechanism to promote healthy lifestyles for people with CKD. 29 DHI is defined as the use of health informatics to assist the delivery of healthcare (ie, provide education and instruction, record and display data, guide users’ behaviours, provider reminders and facilitate provider–consumer communication). 30 31 In this review, DHI may include mobile health technology (eg, application software and short messaging services 30 ), telehealth technology (eg, videoconferencing and audio call 32 ), wearable technology (eg, step count monitor 30 ), computerised systems (eg, websites 33 ) or multicomponent interventions that use more than one type of technology. Digital lifestyle interventions in other cohorts such as diabetes, 34 cardiovascular disease 35 and mental illness 36 have demonstrated efficacy to improve health outcomes.

Despite widespread advocacy for healthcare digitalisation, 37–40 the preferences of people with CKD regarding digital interventions that promote a healthy lifestyle are unknown. ‘Preferences’ refer to attributes of digital lifestyle interventions that are desirable to achieve successful behaviour change. 41 This reflects a broad scope of subjective experiences including intervention content, function and strategy that contribute to behaviour change. Incorporating consumers’ preferences can promote positive care experience, 42 improve perceptions of self-management 43 and enhance health outcomes. 44 Without consumers’ preferences, health providers may develop interventions that do not align with consumers’ needs and goals. 45 Therefore, this review aimed to synthesise the preferences of people with CKD regarding DHIs that promote healthy lifestyle.

This is a qualitative systematic review with a meta-ethnography approach, 46 which involves synthesising data from primary studies to generate novel, whole-of-phenomenon understandings that transcend the scope of any one study. The review was registered with PROSPERO (number: CRD42023411511) and reported according to the meta-ethnography reporting guidelines 46 ( online supplemental table S1 ), Enhancing Transparency in Reporting the Synthesis of Qualitative Research statement 47 ( online supplemental table S2 ) and Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses 48 ( online supplemental table S3 ).

Supplemental material

Patient and public involvement.

Patient and public were not involved in the design and conduct of this review. Findings of the review were informed by perspectives of people with CKD and will be disseminated at relevant consumers’ advocacy events.

Selection criteria

The selection criteria were developed using the PICOS principle 49 and are as follows: Population: adults with CKD (≥18 years) including those receiving kidney replacement therapy, Intervention: DHIs that promoted diet, exercise, physical activity or a combination of these health behaviours, Comparator: any comparator, Outcome: participants’ subjective experiences of digital lifestyle intervention attributes, Study design: primary studies that employed qualitative exploration methods. 41

Data sources and searches

A pilot search was conducted to generate search terms in databases CENTRAL; SPORTDiscus; MEDLINE and CINAHL. Medical Subject Headings terms were used to identify diverse terms with similar meaning. A database search, including CENTRAL, Scopus, MEDLINE, CINAHL and SPORTDiscus, was conducted between January 2000 and April 2023 to identify papers that used contemporary technologies. The number of screened and eligible papers was reported according to the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses statement. 48 Records were imported to the online platform Covidence. 50 After duplicates were removed, two independent reviewers completed title, abstract and full-text screening. Discrepancies were resolved by a third reviewer. Search terms are included in online supplemental table S4 .

Quality appraisal

The Mixed Methods Appraisal Tool 51 (MMAT) and Critical Appraisal Skills Programme checklist 52 were used to appraise the quality of mixed-method and qualitative papers, respectively. Papers were assessed by two independent reviewers. This review did not exclude studies based on quality appraisal as lack of reporting did not indicate poorly conducted research. 53 54

Data extraction

Two independent reviewers extracted descriptive data including study design; digital technology; data collection and analysis; sample size, age; CKD status and ethnicity. The Shapiro-Wilk test was conducted using SPSS V.26 to determine the normal distribution and calculate mean age. 55 One reviewer (TBT) used NVivo V.12 to extract quotes and themes from eligible papers and organised them into ‘similar’ or ‘different’ categories based on underlying meaning. 54 This was inspected by a second reviewer (MA) who confirmed the accuracy of data extraction. TBT created a synthesis document that noted similar, different or original meaning in each paper when compared with others. 56 The synthesis document was inspected by a second reviewer (MA) to determine the degree of similarity across papers.

Data synthesis

The reviewers noted similar meanings between papers and conducted an inductive thematic synthesis using the Framework approach. 57 Two reviewers used Microsoft Word and NVivo V.12 to form initial codes via line-by-line coding. These codes were refined collaboratively and organised into initial categories. These categories were further refined with other reviewers via iterative discussions to generate an analytical framework. Using this framework, the reviewers identified preliminary themes and subthemes that captured common meanings across multiple papers. This process optimised study rigour and ensured the analysis encapsulated the depth of qualitative data. Two independent reviewers developed a conceptual framework to represent the relationship between themes. 56 A final version was approved by all reviewers.

Literature search

Database search yielded 5761 records. An additional record was included following communication with a primary author. 58 After 284 duplicates were removed, 5478 underwent title and abstract screening and 53 full texts were assessed. 15 papers were eligible 58–72 ( figure 1 ).

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Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses flow diagram of search process and study selection.

Study characteristics

There were nine qualitative 58 59 62 66–69 71 72 and six mixed-method papers 60 61 63–65 70 ( table 1 ). 13 papers were from English-speaking countries, including USA (n=5), 64 67 69 70 72 Australia (n=4) 58 61 62 65 ; Canada (n=2) 63 71 and the UK (n=2). 59 60 One study came from the United Arab Emirates 66 and one from China. 68 These papers reported consumers’ preferences on a wide range of technologies, including websites (n=3) 59 60 63 ; telehealth (n=3) 58 64 65 ; mobile application (n=2) 66 67 ; mobile phone text (n=2) 61 62 ; unspecified mobile health (n=1) 69 and unspecified technology (n=1). 71 Furthermore, three papers explored consumers’ preferences on more than one type of technology, including telephone call and mobile application 70 ; information communication technologies and website 68 ; and activity trackers and mobile applications. 72 A description of the function of each type of DHI was included in online supplemental table S5 .

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Consumers’ characteristics

Two papers were supplementary publications that included the same cohort from another paper, including one on people with haemodialysis 61 62 and one on people with CKD 3–4. 58 65 Therefore, descriptive data was extracted from thirteen studies to avoid over-representation of any groups. This provided a sample of 197 consumers (mean age 51.0±7.2 (range 20–80)), including 83 with CKD 1–5 (42%); 61 kidney transplant recipients (31%); 31 on haemodialysis (16%) and 22 with an unspecified form of dialysis (11%). Two studies targeted consumers from regional 70 and rural settings 68 (n=28, 14% of the total sample). Sex distribution was reported in 11 studies (total=182 people), including 53% male and 47% female. 12 studies reported ethnicity (total=190 people), comprising white (45%); African (21%); Asian (19%); Pacific Islander (3%); Hispanic (2%); Indigenous (2%) and mixed heritage (2%). 16 consumers (8%) had unspecified ethnic backgrounds. Details can be found in online supplemental table S6 .

All qualitative papers had clear aims, appropriate design and data collection methods. 58 59 62 66–69 71 72 Seven included coherent methodological frameworks. 58 59 62 67–69 71 Three reported how the relationship between researchers and consumers was considered 59 67 71 and four had clear statements of findings. 58 59 62 68 Detailed information is included in online supplemental table S7 .

Four papers were appraised using MMAT tool for randomised quantitative, mixed-method design. 60 61 64 65 All four provided adequate rationale for mixed-method design. 60 61 64 65 Two demonstrated effective integration of quantitative and qualitative data. 64 65 One did not demonstrate effective integration 60 and another provided insufficient details on how integration occurred. 61 Detailed information is included in online supplemental table S8 .

Two papers were appraised using the MMAT tool for non-randomised quantitative, mixed-method design. 63 70 Only one provided adequate rationale for mixed-method design. 63 Both addressed inconsistencies between quantitative and qualitative data. 63 70 Detailed information is included in online supplemental table S9 .

Qualitative data synthesis

There were 5 themes and 13 subthemes that typified consumers’ preferences for digital lifestyle interventions. They included simple instruction and engaging design, individualised interventions, virtual communities of care, education and action plans, and timely reminders and automated behavioural monitoring. Illustrative quotes are included in online supplemental table S10 .

Simple instruction and engaging design

Convey ideas using plain language and simple instruction.

Plain language and simple instruction were considered optimal strategies to deliver education—‘ [The intervention has] given me simple tasks, simple methods … to improve the situation … basic stuffs that we can understand.’ (person with CKD 3–4, Australia 65 ). Consumers preferred everyday terms and cautioned against jargon which was only accessible to a specialised audience—‘ [the messages] made sense and were easy [to understand], that’s why I liked it’ (person undergoing haemodialysis, Australia 62 ).

Organised and engaging programme design elevates user-experience

Consumers noted the importance of an organised and engaging user-interface to ensure they can use the technology to its full potential—‘ the best part about the website was how it is laid out, [you can] see the levels of potassium and phosphorus, the nutritional information.’ ( person with unspecified CKD, Canada 63 ). Consumers identified factors that may reduce user-experience, such as small font—‘ On the Fitbit, [the font] is very small, and if I don’t have my readers on, I can’t read it’ (transplant recipient, USA 67 ) and complicated navigability—‘ To navigate around [the website] … I found it a bit difficult at first, I didn’t really get it.’ (kidney transplant recipient, UK). 60 These quotes further emphasised the importance of suitable programme designs to optimise user-experience.

Individualised interventions

Personal and psychosocial factors influence motivation and capacity for change.

Consumers identified personal and psychosocial health determinants as factors which may affect motivation and capacity for change. Personal factors included health complications—‘ I can't get round the house with the sore foot’ (person undergoing haemodialysis, Australia 62 ) while psychosocial factors included caring for loved ones or unstable living environment—‘ I have a lifestyle that didn’t fit with [the app] because I am not home much and have a lot of kids … so we eat out more than we probably should’ (person with CKD 1–3 a, USA 70 ).

Personalised interventions support engagement

Consumers emphasised the importance of individualised interventions to mitigate the effect of personal and psychosocial determinants of health—‘ every person is going to be different… with [my coach] he can actually judge what your condition is and change the program to actually what’s happening to you.’ (person with CKD 3–4, Australia 58 ).

A virtual community of care

Promotes provider–consumer partnership.

Digital interventions promoted provider–consumer partnership by allowing regular communication and support—‘ [My coach] supported me over the weeks, the phone calls every now and again… to have someone there to pat you on the back … and explain different things you don’t think of…’ (person with CKD 3–4, Australia 58 ).

Connects people with common care experience

Consumers suggested digital intervention could facilitate connections between people with similar care experiences ‘ If they also have social media network built into [the app], that would be cool for kidney transplant patients where they could follow each other and talk.’ (transplant recipient, USA 69 ) and advocated for future interventions to incorporate knowledge from people with lived experience—‘ [the] doctor can only give what they’ve learned. They haven’t necessarily experienced going through surgery … You need a bit of a balance [between clinician & patient-expert] (transplant recipient, UK 60 ).

Provide education and action plan

Increase coverage of lifestyle information.

Consumers noted the potential of digital interventions to increase coverage of lifestyle information—‘ [Patients] need something like this… there was lot of things when I had the transplant that I was thinking I didn’t know… [The website] makes it a lot easier’ (transplant recipient, UK 59 ).

Inform healthy decision-making

Consumers considered digital interventions to be an important tool to increase health literacy and inform healthy choices—‘ I didn’t know that one cup of soft drink contains 5 teaspoons of sugar and I don’t eat biscuits anymore, not too much… I will just taste a small one but not the usual amount I had.’ (person undergoing haemodialysis, Australia 62 ).

Provide encouragement for healthy behaviours

Consumers expressed that digital interventions enabled them to achieve small, gradual changes, which provided encouragement to attempt more comprehensive modification —‘That’s what encouraged me to go on [with the intervention], because I could see the change, as I was making little [dietary] adjustments… all these little adjustments amount to great leaps and bounds’ (person with CKD 3–4, Australia 58 ).

Consolidate knowledge and prevent misinformation

Consumers noted the lack of digital sources that were clinically tailored which may lead to misinformation— ‘ Online knowledge of food with high potassium is not detailed and sometimes conflicting.’ (person with CKD 5, China 68 ). To support self-management, consumers indicated the importance of clinically tailored digital interventions to consolidate knowledge—‘ … you know rather than going on the internet… other websites and stuff I found that [on] this particular website that there was a lot on there to help.’ (transplant recipient, UK 60 ).

Timely reminders and automated behavioural monitoring

Timely and personalised reminders prompt action.

Consumers affirmed the utility of reminders to prompt action and expressed the need for reminders to be timely and personalised according to their needs—‘ Getting the [dietary text] messages while I was doing dialysis clicked off something in the back of my mind… If I have got them on a [non-dialysis day], I don’t think I would have taken any notice.’ (person undergoing haemodialysis, Australia 62 ).

Monitoring behaviour promotes accountability

Behavioural monitoring was perceived as an important strategy to promote personal accountability and adherence to the programme—‘ … in terms of being accountable… you are being accountable to a system… you need to you know, every week you need to be putting in the [weight and activity]’ (transplant recipient, UK 60 ).

Automated data capture enhances behavioural monitoring

Consumers suggested automated data capture could help overcome the difficulty with manual tracking and allow them to accurately monitor their progress—‘ [Monitoring parameters in] the app is easier and much more convenient than recording them in a notebook.’ (person undergoing peritoneal dialysis, China 68 ).

Conceptual framework

Consumers’ preferences were represented as a conceptual framework to illustrate their relationships and inform the conduct of future digital lifestyle interventions ( figure 2 ). At its base, the framework includes consumers’ preferences for simple instruction, engaging design and individualised interventions. Simple instruction and engaging design are key characteristics of a user-friendly DHI. Consumers also outlined the need for providers to be aware of personal and psychosocial determinants of health and individualise their advice and interventions accordingly. Consumers then identified three requirements for change: virtual communities of care, education and action plans and provision of timely reminders and automated behavioural monitoring. Virtual communities of care involving relevant providers and consumers with similar care experiences were recommended to promote provider–consumer partnership and facilitate social support. Consumers recommended the provision of education and action plans to develop health literacy and inform healthy decision-making. Finally, timely reminders and automated behavioural monitoring were recommended to promote accountability. As behaviour change is a dynamic process, providers are recommended to address the requirements of change regularly by maintaining clinical rapport and reinforcing education.

Conceptual framework of consumers’ preferences regarding digital lifestyle interventions with illustrative quotes. The framework demonstrates a foundation of simple instruction, engaging design and individualised interventions that underpin an inter-related cycle of behavioural change strategies.

Consumers’ preferences for different types of DHIs

The papers in this review did not comprehensively evaluate consumers’ preferences between different types of digital solutions that promoted healthy lifestyle. However, one paper suggested people with CKD 1–5 (including peritoneal dialysis) preferred application software over websites as applications were considered more accessible. 68 Across all eligible papers, qualitative data and lines of questioning suggested participants who used websites tended to express preferences for diverse modes of delivering lifestyle education (eg, interactive webinars 63 or combining clinicians and patient-experts’ input 59 ) while participants who used mobile health technology noted the importance of timely reminders 62 and tracking data related to lifestyle behaviours (eg, nutrition, fluid and levels of physical activity 67 69 70 ). A summary of participants’ preferences in each paper was included in online supplemental table S5 .

DHIs were considered important mechanisms to access lifestyle services for people with CKD. In addition to user-friendly technology, consumers’ preferences illustrated the importance of appropriately qualified health providers to personalise behaviour change strategies, provide lifestyle education and action plans and facilitate timely reminders. The conceptual framework of consumers’ preferences in this review may inform the design and conduct of future digital lifestyle interventions.

People with CKD expressed the importance of designing user-friendly technology by incorporating simple instruction and engaging design. Preferences for simple instruction reflected health promotion research where language characterised by concise sentences 73–76 and conversational styles 77 78 is preferred to deliver education. Preferences for organised and engaging user-interface encapsulate the concept ‘system design characteristics’ from the Technology Acceptance Model. 79 ‘System design characteristics’ are theorised to influence the degree which the system would be free of difficulty 80 and degree which the system may enhance users’ capacity to perform a task. 81 Previous research recommends specific design characteristics such as arranging content by order of sequence 82 or perceived importance 83 ; using meaningful, illustrative media 84 85 and applying specific typographic features 73 such as serif font type 86 87 ; large font sizes 88 and specific colour schemes to maximise contrast between words and background. 86 Emerging research also recommends codesign of digital interventions to identify user-specific features, 89–91 reduce consumers’ anxiety 92 and enhance confidence in digital systems. 93 94 In the context of DHIs, codesign may be enhanced by user-testing workshops with think-aloud interviews followed by periods of independent use with retrospective semistructured interviews and iterative changes. 95 Although think-aloud interviews have been shown to be effective at identifying factors that limit usability, 95 only one paper in this review implemented a user-testing workshop with concurrent, think-aloud feedback. 59 Future digital lifestyle interventions may benefit from more pre-emptive strategies to address factors affecting usability, increase intention to use and promote system usage.

Another important finding was that consumers recognised the influence of personal and psychosocial factors on capacity for change and advocated for individualised interventions to mitigate their effect. These preferences are similar to qualitative research in other clinical cohorts, including people with mental illness 96 ; cancer 97 and chronic pain. 98 Collectively, they establish a common requisite for lifestyle interventions to be tailored to consumers’ needs and preferences. A potential framework to inform lifestyle intervention design could be the Behaviour Change Wheel (BCW). 99 The BCW is a framework for behaviour interventions that centres around three requirements for change 100 : capability (physical and psychological), opportunity (social and physical) and motivation (automatic and reflective). 101 The BCW provides recommendations for intervention functions that are specific to each requirement for change, 99 such as training and education to develop physical and psychological capability 102 (eg, supporting healthy dietary patterns with recipes endorsed by governing bodies like Kidney Health Australia 103 ), environmental restructuring to increase physical and social opportunity 104 (eg, increasing opportunities for clinician-led exercise with online platforms like the Kidney Beam programme 105 ) and persuasion to promote reflective and automatic motivation 106 (eg, setting personalised goals to promote reflective motivation for increasing physical activity 107 ). Previous research in people with CKD suggests the BCW may provide a useful framework to identify barriers associated with requirements for change 23 108 and determine appropriate intervention functions to address consumers’ specific needs. Although research suggests theory-driven interventions may increase the prospect of successful behaviour change for people with chronic diseases, 109 110 evidence regarding the effect of theory-informed digital interventions for people with CKD is limited. Future research that employs digital technology may consider applying the BCW as a framework to inform intervention functions and evaluate the effect of digital interventions on consumers’ self-efficacy and health outcomes.

Consumers in this review highlighted the role of digital interventions to foster provider–consumer partnerships and connect consumers to others with similar care experiences. This reflects the concepts of virtual care teams and virtual support groups. Virtual care teams refer to digitally connected multidisciplinary teams that provide coordinated interventions and communication across diverse geographic settings using specialised information and communication technologies. 111 112 Virtual support groups are peer-to-peer systems which allow consumers with similar care experiences to exchange knowledge and provide support. 113 114 Collectively, these functions help form a virtual community of care with relevant providers and consumers. While these functions may help overcome sociogeographical barriers 115 and connect consumers to others with common care experiences, 116 the administration of virtual communities of care also presents challenges. Research suggests participation in virtual support groups does not guarantee active self-management as consumers vary in their involvement as either active collaborators or passive observers. 117 Increasing use of information and communication technologies is theorised to reduce opportunities for in-person interaction, leading to a process called ‘progressive dehumanisation’ of interpersonal relationships. 118–120 This is, however, in contrast with findings in this review which suggest digital solutions may enhance rapport by enabling regular communication and support. Research also suggests virtual support groups may facilitate misinformation if consumers’ inputs are not monitored, 121 indicating the need for health providers’ oversight. Furthermore, the effect of virtual communities of care on self-efficacy and health outcomes of people with CKD is unclear. This review identified several implementation strategies to support virtual communities of care including patients’ forums, 63 social media networks 67 and group telehealth conferencing. 64 However, as yet, there is little consensus regarding the optimal strategy to promote consumers’ engagement in virtual communities of care. 117 122 Future research may consider applying the implementation strategies identified in this review and evaluate the effect of a virtual community of care on health outcomes and self-efficacy for change.

In this review, consumers identified four avenues through which digital interventions enhance the delivery of lifestyle education and action plans: increasing coverage of information, informing healthy decision-making, providing encouragement and preventing misinformation. Qualitative research in other cohorts such as people with diabetes 123 and mental illness 124 also emphasises the role of digital interventions to increase access to lifestyle information. In this review, digital interventions were regarded as a valuable platform to develop health literacy, which, in turn, informs healthy decision-making. The association between health literacy and healthy living is well documented in people with CKD, 125–127 which suggests future digital lifestyle interventions may consider health literacy as an essential target for behaviour change. Consumers in this review highlighted that they were encouraged to attempt more comprehensive lifestyle modification following initial modest changes. This is consistent with previous research in behaviour change which counsels initial gradual changes to support ongoing engagement and accumulate health benefits. 128 129 Finally, consumers suggested digital interventions could empower behaviour change by preventing misinformation. The current literature recognises that consumers regularly engage in information-seeking behaviours 130 but cautions the use of digital sources outside the health sector as they may disseminate information that is inconsistent with evidence-based research. 131 132 Exposure to information outside the health sector can lead to confirmation bias, 133 where consumers select sources that validate prior, harmful beliefs despite their lack of scientific rigour. 132 Resources from healthcare providers are needed to guide information- seeking behaviours, prevent misinformation and inform healthy lifestyle choices. 134 These strategies may be considered by future digital interventions to enhance lifestyle education and promote successful behaviour change.

Finally, this review highlighted the importance timely reminders and automated behavioural monitoring to prompt action and promote accountability. This is not unique to people with CKD as previous research suggests reminders that are not tailored to users’ lifestyle may have low receptivity and pose confidentiality risks. 135–137 Consumers in this review recommended that the timing, content and mode of delivering reminders should be tailored to optimise receptivity, maintain users’ confidentiality and promote ongoing engagement. The challenges described by consumers regarding difficulties with manual data tracking suggest automated data capture may provide a useful strategy to accurately monitor progress. This is currently the case with technologies such as accelerometer 138 139 and peripheral devices. 140 However, caution is needed when using peripheral devices produced outside the health sector due to concerns with data governance and consumers’ confidentiality. 141 142 Raw data from peripheral devices comes under the ownership of the manufacturers, 143 which raises concerns regarding consumers’ control over potentially sensitive information. 144 Although manufacturers claim anonymity in data storage, research suggests consumers’ activity and location may generate ‘digital traces’ that disclose sensitive information. 143 Future research may consider using sensors that are embedded within mobile devices and can facilitate direct data transfer to clinician-facing platforms. This places the responsibility of data governance with healthcare providers and consumers and minimises confidentiality risks associated with third party ownership. Future research may also consider generating individualised reminders that are receptive to health consumers and capable of securing their privacy.

Strengths and limitations

To our knowledge, this is the first review to synthesise the preferences of people with CKD regarding DHIs that promote a healthy lifestyle. The meta-ethnography approach generated novel, whole-of-phenomenon understandings that transcend the scope of any single study. However, there are limitations. 10 papers that form the synthesis excluded people with low English proficiency, 58 60–65 67 70 72 meaning the synthesis may not apply to people with English as a second language who face distinctive barriers to care such as language discordant interventions. 145–149 Consumers had a large age range (20–80, mean 51.0±7.2), which suggests their preferences may have limited generalisability to older people 150 with specific barriers to behaviour change such as cognitive impairment. 151 152 Furthermore, 8/13 of the eligible studies explored the preferences of people with kidney replacement therapy ( online supplemental table S6 ). People with CKD 3–5 without kidney replacement therapy comprised a small proportion of consumers in this review (n=40, 20%) despite having the largest representation in tertiary kidney care settings. 153 Therefore, the results of this review may have limited generalisability to CKD cohorts not receiving kidney replacement therapy. People from rural settings (n=28, 14%) 68 70 and people with Pacific Islander; Indigenous and Hispanic heritage were under-represented ( online supplemental table S6 ). Under-representation of these groups is common in clinical research 154–156 despite the disproportionate prevalence of CKD 157–160 and numerous sociogeographical barriers to care such as shortage of health providers and distance from health facilities. 161–163 These factors reflect an urgent need to generate community-specific knowledge and develop accessible healthcare platforms to serve the needs of these disadvantaged groups.

Future research

Future research may consider comparing consumers’ experiences with different modes of technology to determine their preferences for specific forms of DHIs or combinations of complementary technologies such as interactive webinars to instruct exercise, apps to record and display data and telehealth to facilitate provider–consumer communication. Future research may also consider exploring the preferences of cohorts that were under-represented in this review such as people not receiving kidney replacement therapy, people with low English proficiency; older people; people from rural communities and people with ethnic minority membership. Finally, the conceptual framework of consumers’ preferences in this review may be used to develop and evaluate the effect of a digital lifestyle intervention on self-efficacy and health outcomes.

People with CKD consider DHIs to be an important platform to promote a healthy lifestyle. Consumers’ preferences for digital lifestyle interventions included simple instructions and engaging design; individualised interventions; virtual communities of care; education and action plans; and timely reminders and automated behavioural monitoring. Future research may consider applying the conceptual framework of consumers’ preferences in this review to design and evaluate the effect of a digital lifestyle intervention. Future research may also generate acceptability data for people with CKD 3–5 without kidney replacement therapy whose preferences appear limited in current research. These findings would support the integration of digital solutions in clinical practice and increase opportunities for healthy living in a population with numerous challenges for behaviour change.

Ethics statements

Patient consent for publication.

Not applicable.

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Supplementary materials

Supplementary data.

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  • Data supplement 1

X @ThaiBinhTran4, @meghan_ambrens

Contributors Research idea and design: TBT, KL, JMT, SS and RA; data extraction: TBT, JN, MA, EC, YG, ML, AP and LL; data synthesis/analysis: TBT, MA, KL, JMT, SS and RA; supervision: RA, KL, SS and JMT. Each author provides significant intellectual contribution during manuscript production and revision. RA is the guarantor for this research. All authors acknowledge accountability by ensuring all questions pertaining to the accuracy or integrity of this work were appropriately examined and resolved.

Funding TBT is supported by the Australian Government Research Training Program Scholarship from the University of Wollongong.

Disclaimer The funding organisation had no role in the design and conduct of the study; data collection, analysis and management; and preparation, review or approval of the manuscript.

Competing interests None declared.

Patient and public involvement Patients and/or the public were not involved in the design, or conduct, or reporting, or dissemination plans of this research.

Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

Supplemental material This content has been supplied by the author(s). It has not been vetted by BMJ Publishing Group Limited (BMJ) and may not have been peer-reviewed. Any opinions or recommendations discussed are solely those of the author(s) and are not endorsed by BMJ. BMJ disclaims all liability and responsibility arising from any reliance placed on the content. Where the content includes any translated material, BMJ does not warrant the accuracy and reliability of the translations (including but not limited to local regulations, clinical guidelines, terminology, drug names and drug dosages), and is not responsible for any error and/or omissions arising from translation and adaptation or otherwise.

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abstract light in a tunnel

A Groundbreaking Scientific Discovery Just Gave Humanity the Keys to Interstellar Travel

In a first, this warp drive actually obeys the laws of physics.

If a superluminal—meaning faster than the speed of light—warp drive like Alcubierre’s worked, it would revolutionize humanity’s endeavors across the universe , allowing us, perhaps, to reach Alpha Centauri, our closest star system, in days or weeks even though it’s four light years away.

However, the Alcubierre drive has a glaring problem: the force behind its operation, called “negative energy,” involves exotic particles—hypothetical matter that, as far as we know, doesn’t exist in our universe. Described only in mathematical terms, exotic particles act in unexpected ways, like having negative mass and working in opposition to gravity (in fact, it has “anti-gravity”). For the past 30 years, scientists have been publishing research that chips away at the inherent hurdles to light speed revealed in Alcubierre’s foundational 1994 article published in the peer-reviewed journal Classical and Quantum Gravity .

Now, researchers at the New York City-based think tank Applied Physics believe they’ve found a creative new approach to solving the warp drive’s fundamental roadblock. Along with colleagues from other institutions, the team envisioned a “positive energy” system that doesn’t violate the known laws of physics . It’s a game-changer, say two of the study’s authors: Gianni Martire, CEO of Applied Physics, and Jared Fuchs, Ph.D., a senior scientist there. Their work, also published in Classical and Quantum Gravity in late April, could be the first chapter in the manual for interstellar spaceflight.

POSITIVE ENERGY MAKES all the difference. Imagine you are an astronaut in space, pushing a tennis ball away from you. Instead of moving away, the ball pushes back, to the point that it would “take your hand off” if you applied enough pushing force, Martire tells Popular Mechanics . That’s a sign of negative energy, and, though the Alcubierre drive design requires it, there’s no way to harness it.

Instead, regular old positive energy is more feasible for constructing the “ warp bubble .” As its name suggests, it’s a spherical structure that surrounds and encloses space for a passenger ship using a shell of regular—but incredibly dense—matter. The bubble propels the spaceship using the powerful gravity of the shell, but without causing the passengers to feel any acceleration. “An elevator ride would be more eventful,” Martire says.

That’s because the density of the shell, as well as the pressure it exerts on the interior, is controlled carefully, Fuchs tells Popular Mechanics . Nothing can travel faster than the speed of light, according to the gravity-bound principles of Albert Einstein’s theory of general relativity . So the bubble is designed such that observers within their local spacetime environment—inside the bubble—experience normal movement in time. Simultaneously, the bubble itself compresses the spacetime in front of the ship and expands it behind the ship, ferrying itself and the contained craft incredibly fast. The walls of the bubble generate the necessary momentum, akin to the momentum of balls rolling, Fuchs explains. “It’s the movement of the matter in the walls that actually creates the effect for passengers on the inside.”

Building on its 2021 paper published in Classical and Quantum Gravity —which details the same researchers’ earlier work on physical warp drives—the team was able to model the complexity of the system using its own computational program, Warp Factory. This toolkit for modeling warp drive spacetimes allows researchers to evaluate Einstein’s field equations and compute the energy conditions required for various warp drive geometries. Anyone can download and use it for free . These experiments led to what Fuchs calls a mini model, the first general model of a positive-energy warp drive. Their past work also demonstrated that the amount of energy a warp bubble requires depends on the shape of the bubble; for example, the flatter the bubble in the direction of travel, the less energy it needs.

THIS LATEST ADVANCEMENT suggests fresh possibilities for studying warp travel design, Erik Lentz, Ph.D., tells Popular Mechanics . In his current position as a staff physicist at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Richland, Washington, Lentz contributes to research on dark matter detection and quantum information science research. His independent research in warp drive theory also aims to be grounded in conventional physics while reimagining the shape of warped space. The topic needs to overcome many practical hurdles, he says.

Controlling warp bubbles requires a great deal of coordination because they involve enormous amounts of matter and energy to keep the passengers safe and with a similar passage of time as the destination. “We could just as well engineer spacetime where time passes much differently inside [the passenger compartment] than outside. We could miss our appointment at Proxima Centauri if we aren’t careful,” Lentz says. “That is still a risk if we are traveling less than the speed of light.” Communication between people inside the bubble and outside could also become distorted as it passes through the curvature of warped space, he adds.

While Applied Physics’ current solution requires a warp drive that travels below the speed of light, the model still needs to plug in a mass equivalent to about two Jupiters. Otherwise, it will never achieve the gravitational force and momentum high enough to cause a meaningful warp effect. But no one knows what the source of this mass could be—not yet, at least. Some research suggests that if we could somehow harness dark matter , we could use it for light-speed travel, but Fuchs and Martire are doubtful, since it’s currently a big mystery (and an exotic particle).

Despite the many problems scientists still need to solve to build a working warp drive, the Applied Physics team claims its model should eventually get closer to light speed. And even if a feasible model remains below the speed of light, it’s a vast improvement over today’s technology. For example, traveling at even half the speed of light to Alpha Centauri would take nine years. In stark contrast, our fastest spacecraft, Voyager 1—currently traveling at 38,000 miles per hour—would take 75,000 years to reach our closest neighboring star system.

Of course, as you approach the actual speed of light, things get truly weird, according to the principles of Einstein’s special relativity . The mass of an object moving faster and faster would increase infinitely, eventually requiring an infinite amount of energy to maintain its speed.

“That’s the chief limitation and key challenge we have to overcome—how can we have all this matter in our [bubble], but not at such a scale that we can never even put it together?” Martire says. It’s possible the answer lies in condensed matter physics, he adds. This branch of physics deals particularly with the forces between atoms and electrons in matter. It has already proven fundamental to several of our current technologies, such as transistors, solid-state lasers, and magnetic storage media.

The other big issue is that current models allow a stable warp bubble, but only for a constant velocity. Scientists still need to figure out how to design an initial acceleration. On the other end of the journey, how will the ship slow down and stop? “It’s like trying to grasp the automobile for the first time,” Martire says. “We don’t have an engine just yet, but we see the light at the end of the tunnel.” Warp drive technology is at the stage of 1882 car technology, he says: when automobile travel was possible, but it still looked like a hard, hard problem.

The Applied Physics team believes future innovations in warp travel are inevitable. The general positive energy model is a first step. Besides, you don’t need to zoom at light speed to achieve distances that today are just a dream, Martire says. “Humanity is officially, mathematically, on an interstellar track.”

Headshot of Manasee Wagh

Before joining Popular Mechanics , Manasee Wagh worked as a newspaper reporter, a science journalist, a tech writer, and a computer engineer. She’s always looking for ways to combine the three greatest joys in her life: science, travel, and food.

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Business planning, website development, product or service selection, marketing and promotion, is it a good idea to start an online business, can i start an online business with $100, what are different types of online marketing strategies, the bottom line.

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Katie Miller is a consumer financial services expert. She worked for almost two decades as an executive, leading multi-billion dollar mortgage, credit card, and savings portfolios with operations worldwide and a unique focus on the consumer. Her mortgage expertise was honed post-2008 crisis as she implemented the significant changes resulting from Dodd-Frank required regulations.

research papers for web design

  • How to Start a Business: A Comprehensive Guide and Essential Steps
  • How to Do Market Research, Types, and Example
  • Marketing Strategy: What It Is, How It Works, How To Create One
  • Marketing in Business: Strategies and Types Explained
  • What Is a Marketing Plan? Types and How to Write One
  • Business Development: Definition, Strategies, Steps & Skills
  • Business Plan: What It Is, What's Included, and How to Write One
  • Small Business Development Center (SBDC): Meaning, Types, Impact
  • How to Write a Business Plan for a Loan
  • Business Startup Costs: It’s in the Details
  • Startup Capital Definition, Types, and Risks
  • Bootstrapping Definition, Strategies, and Pros/Cons
  • Crowdfunding: What It Is, How It Works, and Popular Websites
  • Starting a Business with No Money: How to Begin
  • A Comprehensive Guide to Establishing Business Credit
  • Equity Financing: What It Is, How It Works, Pros and Cons
  • Best Startup Business Loans
  • Sole Proprietorship: What It Is, Pros & Cons, and Differences From an LLC
  • Partnership: Definition, How It Works, Taxation, and Types
  • What is an LLC? Limited Liability Company Structure and Benefits Defined
  • Corporation: What It Is and How to Form One
  • Starting a Small Business: Your Complete How-to Guide
  • Starting an Online Business: A Step-by-Step Guide CURRENT ARTICLE
  • How to Start Your Own Bookkeeping Business: Essential Tips
  • How to Start a Successful Dropshipping Business: A Comprehensive Guide

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If you want to get into the online business game, it’s a good time to start. The COVID-19 pandemic reshaped online consumer spending, including how people shop online and how they research products.

Today, 76% of Americans buy products online. Furthermore, roughly a third of people purchase items online weekly. From setting up an ecommerce business to offering web design services, there are countless avenues to explore as an entrepreneur.

Below, we’ll walk through each step to building an online business.

Key Takeaways

  • When starting an online business, comprehensive market research is critical for identifying your target audience and learning how to resonate with your customers and understand their needs.
  • Creating a business plan is an important step for outlining your business goals. It also includes your product description, target market, and financial projections, among other core components.
  • Building your website involves setting up a domain name, finding a hosting company, and designing a strong website with consistent branding that allows your customers to navigate it intuitively.
  • Choosing the right product or service to sell is essential. It’s important to think about how you’re addressing an unmet need.
  • Several digital marketing strategies can be utilized, from content marketing to paid advertising, to help your business grow.

Successful online entrepreneurs study hard in order to have a thorough understanding of their market. This is important for knowing exactly how to reach your target market , because these are the people who will buy your products and drive your business growth.

At its core, market research is about understanding your customers’ needs, pain points, and solutions. It is designed to help your business better meet these needs.

Steps to Conduct Market Research

Market research involves understanding key aspects of your current and future customers. To get a clear sense of your target market, outline the characteristics of your audience—for example, age, location, gender, income, job title, and key pain points.

Once you have identified your target audience, conduct research on the following topics, which will tell you about how they make decisions and how you can better position your business:

  • What are the challenges that your target market faces?
  • Where do they research a given product or service?
  • What are their views on pricing for this product or service?
  • What factors influence their decision to make a purchase?
  • Who are your competitors?

To put this market research into action, there are a number of different avenues you can take:

  • Focus groups
  • Competitive analysis
  • Brand awareness research
  • Market segmentation research

Consider the following questions that may be asked in an interview or focus group to learn more about your audience:

  • “How do you search for that product?”
  • “How useful was it?”
  • “What words do you use when you search on Google?”

When you have completed your market research, identify what you have learned as well as your next steps based on these insights.

Creating a business plan is a key first step for all business owners . It is important for companies looking to secure funding resources. It also serves as a blueprint to summarize your key business objectives and goals.

To write a business plan , incorporate these eight main sections, which are often found in traditional templates:

  • Executive summary : This is typically a one-page section that explains your objectives and includes your mission statement, core team, and why your company is positioned for success.
  • Company description : This describes what you offer, your competitive advantages, and your business goals.
  • Market analysis : This is where you explain your target market, market size, market trends, and competitive landscape.
  • Organization and management : Explain who is working on your team and their professional background and experience.
  • Service or product line : Describe the product or service you are offering, including any copyright or plans for patenting.
  • Marketing and sales : Discuss your marketing and sales strategy. Discuss your pricing, key metrics, and sales plan.
  • Funding request : If you are a company looking for funding, here is where you outline the capital you are requesting and where it will be allocated.
  • Financial projections : Include projections for your company’s revenue and expenses. Consider including an income statement, balance sheet, and cash flow statement in this section.

A business plan is important because it helps clarify your action points, who you are, and what you offer, all in a coherent template.

Getting your business online is the next key step. In an ever-changing environment, it is important to know the tools, trends, and strategies for building a strong online presence to allow your business to grow.

Registering Your Domain

The first step is registering your name, or your website address. This can be in the form of your business name “.com.” To purchase your domain name, you can go to sites like GoDaddy or Namecheap . If you decide to build your website using WordPress, you will need to use a site such as these to host your website.

Web Hosting Companies

Alternatively, you can buy your domain name at a hosting company. These are companies like Shopify , Wix , or Amazon Web Services , that may also offer tools to build your website and release content on them. 

Website Design

A well-designed website is important for many reasons. Using a website builder, such as Mailchimp or Squarespace , can allow you to choose a theme, customize your pages, create relevant content, and set up a payment page.

Other key aspects of your website design include its functionality, simplicity, and ease of use. Allowing your potential customers to navigate the site intuitively will be key to their experience. Brand consistency—in your logo, colors, and typeface, for example—is also key to creating a unified brand.

Another essential part of website design is its mobile application. You’ll want to ensure that your website runs smoothly on mobile, that images load properly, that the text is legible, and that buttons are intuitive to click.

This step focuses on how to choose the right product or service to sell. At the heart of this choice is the goal of solving a customer’s problem. But there are a number of strategies you can use to identify your product idea.

For example, you might consider analyzing companies with high-profit margins, products that align with your passion, burgeoning trends, items trending on online marketplaces, and/or customer reviews.

With this in mind, analyze how this product will get to your customers. Additionally, you may consider products that are not available in stores in your local market but are offered in communities such as Europe or Japan, for example.

Marketing strategy and promotion is an essential driver of business growth. As the digital landscape evolves, it’s important to have an effective marketing plan that resonates with changing consumer preferences and needs.

Here are questions that companies can consider as they create their marketing strategy, navigating today’s environment:

  • Impact, value, and growth : What are the goals and key performance indicators (KPIs) that will measure success for your business? How will you explain the value that the business provides to its customers and/or society? Create an “elevator speech”—a 30-second description of what you offer and why it’s special.
  • Customer need and brand promise : How does the brand meet a customer’s need through its products and services?
  • Customer experience : How will the business deliver the best experiences at each stage of the customer journey?
  • Organizational model : How will the business operate to serve the customer with the most impact?

These will help you understand what types of strategies can have real impact.

Types of Marketing Strategies

Consider the following digital marketing strategies that can be used for your online business:

  • Email marketing
  • Social media marketing
  • Paid advertising
  • Search engine optimization (SEO)
  • Content marketing
  • Influencer marketing

Each of these presents a different way to reach your target audience, drive conversions, or build brand awareness, depending on your marketing goals.

You need to determine that for yourself. But before starting an online business, it’s important to assess the time, investment, and resources you’ll need to get it off the ground. While the barrier to entry can be quite low, it’s worth considering your goals and strategies for making it a reality.

However, compared with starting up a traditional brick-and-mortar business, the risks of launching an online business may be reduced due to lower upfront costs such as rent, staff, and materials, among others.

The short answer: yes. While it depends on the type of business you hope to pursue, there are many ways to set up an online business at very little cost. For example, you could offer your services doing freelance work, photography, bookkeeping, or personal training. The primary costs involved include setting up your business website, which can cost as little as $2 to $20 each year with companies such as GoDaddy.

There are a number of digital marketing strategies that online businesses can use, such as content marketing, email marketing, paid advertising, SEO, and influencer marketing. Each of these strategies can be useful, depending on your product and goals.

Starting an online business can be a powerful way to launch a new product or service while reaching a wider audience. With market research, a solid business plan, a strong website, and a digital marketing strategy, you can get started in growing your company effectively. As customers increasingly make decisions virtually, building an online business is vital to any business owner’s success.

Pew Research Center. “ For Shopping, Phones Are Common and Influencers Have Become a Factor—Especially for Young Adults .”

U.S. Small Business Administration. “ Market Research and Competitive Analysis .”

U.S. Small Business Administration. “ Write Your Business Plan .”

Ogilvy. “ Getting Future Ready with Marketing Transformation ,” Page 15.

GoDaddy. “ How Much Does a Domain Name Cost? Find Out! ”

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Title: design and implementation of a new apparatus for astrochemistry: kinetic measurements of the ch + ocs reaction and frequency comb spectroscopy in a cold uniform supersonic flow.

Abstract: We present the development of a new astrochemical research tool HILTRAC, the Highly Instrumented Low Temperature ReAction Chamber. The instrument is based on a pulsed form of the CRESU (Cinétique de Réaction en Écoulement Supersonique Uniforme, meaning reaction kinetics in a uniform supersonic flow) apparatus, with the aim of collecting kinetics and spectroscopic information on gas phase chemical reactions important in interstellar space or planetary atmospheres. We discuss the apparatus design and its flexibility, the implementation of pulsed laser photolysis followed by laser induced fluorescence (PLP-LIF), and the first implementation of direct infrared frequency comb spectroscopy (DFCS) coupled to the uniform supersonic flow. Achievable flow temperatures range from 32(3) - 111(9) K, characterising a total of five Laval nozzles for use with N2 and Ar buffer gases by pressure impact measurements. These results were further validated using LIF and DFCS measurements of the CH radical and OCS, respectively. Spectroscopic constants and linelists for OCS are reported for the 1001 band near $2890 - 2940 cm^{-1}$ for both $OC^{32}S$ and $OC^{34}S$, measured using DFCS. Additional peaks in the spectrum are tentatively assigned to the OCS-Ar complex. The first reaction rate coefficients for the CH + OCS reaction measured between 32(3) K and 58(5) K are reported. The reaction rate coefficient at 32(3) K was measured to be $3.9(4) \times 10^{10} cm^3 molecule^{-1} s^{-1}$ and the reaction was found to exhibit no observable temperature dependence over this low temperature range.

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