1999 Conference Proceedings

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TRACKING THE SUCCESS OF AN ACCESSIBLE WEB SITE

Jaclyn Packer, Ph.D.
Senior Research Specialist
American Foundation for the Blind
11 Penn Plaza, Suite 300
New York, NY 10001
WWW: www.afb.org 
jpacker@afb.net

Overview

This session will address various methods of tracking how successful a web site is, using "real-life" examples from the American Foundation for the Blind's accessible web site. Various tracking methods will be discussed, as well as techniques to increase the number of visitors to your site. The main topics to be discussed include web presence and placement among search engines, determining the number of external web sites that are linked to a particular web site, and conducting analyses of web traffic over time. The importance of accessiblity to the success of a web site will be stressed.

The Importance of Accessiblity

In order to maximize the number of visitors to your web site, the information on your site should be made accessible to people with various disabilities, and should be usable by people using various browsers. The more universally useful the site, the more traffic you can expect.

Web Presence and Placement Among Search Engines

Search engines are one of the most important ways that people find their way to your web site. Not only is it important to be listed in the major search engines, but it is equally important to be placed near the "top" of the search engines' lists. Various techniques will be discussed that will help you achieve these goals, and suggestions will be made for monitoring this achievement.

Links from External Web Sites

Another important way that people find their way to your web site is by being linked from other web sites. The more sites that are linked to your web site the more visitors you can expect. Techniques for getting other sites to include a link to your site will be discussed, with an emphasis on choosing those web sites that are likely to attract visitors who would be particularly interested in your site.

Analysis of Web Traffic

Various statistical packages are available to help you to determine the number of visitors to your site. The differences between "hits", "visits", and "page views" will be discussed. Samples of data collected from AFB's web site will be presented to demonstrate the variety of information that can be culled from web logs.

Research Techniques to Gather User Data

Various research techniques to obtain information about users will be discussed briefly, including on-line surveys, usability studies and on-line focus groups.


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