Short Scales of Satisfaction Assessment:
A Proxy to Involve Disabled Users
in the Usability Testing of Websites
, Stefano Federici
, Maria Laura Mele
and Matilde Conti
Human Factors Research Group, School of Mechanical, Materials
and Manufacturing Engineering, The University of Nottingham, Nottingham, UK
Department of Philosophy, Social & Human Sciences and Education,
University of Perugia, Perugia, Italy
ECONA, Interuniversity Centre for Research on Cognitive Processing in
Natural and Artiﬁcial Systems, Sapienza University of Rome, Rome, Italy
Abstract. Short scales of user satisfaction analysis are largely applied in
usability studies as part of the measures to assess the interaction experience of
users. Among the traditional tools, System Usability Scale (SUS), composed of
10 items, is the most applied quick evaluation scale. Recently, researchers have
proposed two new and shorter scales: the Usability Metric for User Experience
(UMUX), composed of four items, and the UMUX-LITE, which consists of only
the two positive items of UMUX. Despite their recent creation, researchers in
human-computer interaction (HCI) have already showed that these two tools are
reliable and strongly correlated to each other [1–3]. Nevertheless, there are still
no studies about the use of these questionnaires with disabled users. As HCI
experts claim [4–7], when disabled and elderly users are included in the
assessment cohorts, they add to the overall analysis alternative and extended
perspectives about the usability of a system. This is particularly relevant to those
interfaces that are designed to serve a large population of end-users, such as
websites of public administration or public services. Hence, for a practitioner
adding to the evaluation cohorts a group of disabled people may sensibly extend
number and types of errors identiﬁed during the assessment. One of the major
obstacles in creating mixed cohorts is due to the increase in time and costs of the
evaluation. Often, the budget does not support the inclusion of disabled users in
the test. In order to overcome these hindrances, the administering to disabled
users of a short questionnaire—after a period of use (expert disabled costumers)
or after an interaction test performed through a set of scenario-driven tasks
(novice disabled users)—permits to achieve a good trade-off between a limited
effort in terms of time and costs and the advantage of evaluating the user
satisfaction of disabled people in the use of websites. To date, researchers have
neither analyzed the use of SUS, UMUX, and UMUX-LITE by disabled users,
nor the reliability of these tools, or the relationship among those scales when
administrated to disabled people.
© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015
M. Kurosu (Ed.): Human-Computer Interaction, Part III, HCII 2015, LNCS 9171, pp. 35–42, 2015.
In this paper, we performed a usability test with 10 blind and 10 sighted users
on the Italian website of public train transportation to observe the differences
between the two evaluation cohorts in terms of: (i) number of identiﬁed errors,
(ii) average score of the three questionnaires, and (iii) reliability and correlation
of the three scales.
The outcomes conﬁrmed that the three scales, when administered to blind or
sighted users, are reliable (Cronbach’s α > 0.8), though UMUX reliability with
disabled users is lower than expected (Cronbach’s α < 0.5). Moreover, all the
scales are strongly correlated (p < .001) in line with previous studies. Never-
theless, signiﬁcant differences were identiﬁed between sighed and blind par-
ticipants in terms of (i) number of errors experienced during the interaction and
(ii) average satisfaction rated through the three questionnaires. Our data show, in
agreement with previous studies, that disabled users have divergent perspectives
on satisfaction in the use of a website. The insight of disabled users could be a
key factor to improve the usability of those interfaces which aim to serve a large
population, such as websites of public administration and services. In sum, we
argue that to preserve the budget and even incorporate disabled users’ per-
spectives in the evaluation reports with minimal costs, practitioners may reliably
test the satisfaction by administrating SUS and UMUX or UMUX-LITE to a
mixed sample of users with and without disability.
Keywords: Disabled user interaction
Usability evaluation Usability Metric
for User Experience
System Usability Scale
Satisfaction is one of the three main components of usability , along with effec-
tiveness and efﬁciency. Practitioners are used to testing this component through stan-
dardized questionnaires after that people have gain some experience in the use of a
website. In particular, experts are used to applying short scales of satisfaction analysis
to reduce the time and the costs of the assessment of a website. Among the quick
satisfaction scales, the most popula r tool of assessment is SUS . SUS is a free and
highly reliable instrument [10–14], composed of only 10 items on a ﬁve-point scale (1:
Strongly disagree; 5: Strongly agree). To compute the overall SUS score, (1) each item
is converted to a 0-4 scale for which higher numbers indicate a greater amount of
perceived usability, (2) the converted scores are summed, and (3) the sum is multiplied
by 2.5. This process produces scores that can range from 0 to 100. Despite the fact SUS
was designed to be unidimensional, since 2009, several researchers have showed that
this tool has two-factor structures: Learnability (scores of items 4 and 10) and Usability
(scores of items 1-3 and 5-9) [2, 3, 13, 15–17]. Moreover, the growing availability of
SUS data from a large number of studies [13, 18] has led to the production of norms for
the interpretation of mean SUS scores, e.g., the Curved Grading Scale (CGS) .
Using data from 446 studies and over 5,000 individual SUS responses, Sauro and
Lewis  found the overall mean score of the SUS to be 68 with a standard deviation
The Sauro and Lewis CGS assigned grades as a function of SUS scores ranging
from ‘F’ (absolutely unsatisfactory) to ‘ A+’ (absolutely satisfactory), as follows:
36 S. Borsci et al.
Grade F (0–51.7); Grade D (51.8–62.6); Grade C- (62.7–64.9); Grade C (65.0–71.0);
Grade C+ (71.1–72.5); Grade B- (72.6–74.0); Grade B (74.1–77.1); Grade B+ (77.2–
78.8); Grade A- (78.9–80.7); Grade A (80.8-84.0); Grade A+ (84.1–100).
Recently, two new scales were proposed as shorter proxies of SUS : the
UMUX, a four-item tool [1, 19], and the UMUX-LITE composed of only the two
positive-tone questions from the UMUX . The UMUX items have seven points (1:
Strongly disagree; 7: Strongly agree) and both the UMUX and its reduced version, the
UMUX-LITE, are usually interpreted as unidimensional measures. The overall scales
of the UMUX and UMUX-LITE range from 0 to 100. Their scoring procedures are:
UMUX: The odd items are scored as [score − 1] and even items as [7 − score]. The
sum of the item scores is then divided by 24 and multiplied by 100 .
UMUX-LITE: The two items are scored as [score − 1], and the sum of these is
divided by 12 and multiplied by 100 . As researchers showed [1, 3, 19], SUS,
UMUX, and UMUX-LITE are reliable (Cronbach’s α between .80 and .95) and cor-
relate signiﬁcantly (p < .001). However, for the UMUX-LITE, it is necessary to use the
following formula (1) to adjust its scores to achieve correspondence with the SUS .
UMUX LITE ¼ :65 Item 1 score½þItem 2 score½ðÞþ22:9: ð1Þ
Despite the fact short scale of satisfaction analysis is quite well known and used in
HCI studies, rarely have the psychometric properties of these scales been analyzed by
researchers when applied to test the usability of an interface with disabled users. This is
because elderly and disabled people are often excluded from the usability evaluation
cohorts because they are considered “people with special needs ” , instead of
possible end-users of a product with divergent and alternative modalities of interaction
with websites. Nevertheless, as suggested by Borsci and colleagues , the experi-
ence of disabled users has a great value for HCI evaluators and for their clients. Indeed,
to enrich an evaluation cohort with sub-samples of disabled users could help evaluators
to run a sort of stress test of an interface [21
The main complaint of designers, as regards the involvement of disabled people in
the usability evaluation, is the cost of the test for disabled users. In fact, disabled users
testing usually requires more tim e compared with the assessment performed by people
without disability. The extra-time could be due to the following reasons. First, some
disabled users need to interact with a website through a set of assistive technologies
and this could require conducting the test in the wild instead of a lab. Second, eval-
uators need to set-up an adapted protocol of assessment for people with cognitive
impairment, such as dementia . Nevertheless, these issues could be overcome by
adopting speciﬁc strategies. For instance, experts could ask for a small sample of
disabled users, who are already customers of a website, to perform at their house a set
of short interactions with a website driven by scenarios. Another approac h could be to
ask disabled users who are novices in the use of a website, to perform at home for a
week a set of tasks by controlling remotely the interaction of these users . Inde-
pendently from the strategies, instead of fully monitoring the usability errors performed
by disabled users, experts could just request from these end-users to complete a short
scale after their experience with a system to gather their overall satisfaction. The
satisfaction outcomes of disabled users’ cohort could be then aggregated and compared
Short Scales of Satisfaction Assessment: A Proxy to Involve Disabled Users 37
with the results of the other cohort of people without disability. Therefore, by using
short scales of satisfaction evaluation, practitioners could save on costs and, with a
minimal effort, report to designers the number of errors identiﬁed, the level of satis-
faction experienced by users without disability, and a comparative analysis of the
satisfaction with a mixed cohort of users. Thus, short scales could be powerful tools to
include, at minimal cost, the opinions of disabled users in the usability assessment, in
order to enhance the reliability of the assessment report for the designers.
Today, the possibility to include a larger sample of users with different kind of
behaviors in the usabi lity testing is particularly relevant to obtain a reliable assessment.
In fact, in the context of ubiquitous computing people could access and interact through
different mobile devices with websites, and a large set of information on public services
(such as taxes, education, transport, etc.) is available online. Therefore, for the success
of public services websites it is important to have an interface which is accessible to a
wide range of possible users and usable in a satisfactory way.
Despite the growing involvement of disabled users in the usability analysis, there
are no studies analyzing the psychometric properties of short scales of satisfaction and
the use of these tools to assess the usability of website interfaces perceived by a sample
of disabled users.
The aim of this paper is to propose a preliminary analysis of the use of SUS,
UMUX, and UMUX-LITE with a small sample of users with and without disability. To
reach this aim, we involved in a usability assessment two different cohorts (blind and
sighted users), in order to observe the differences between the two samples in terms of
number of errors experienced by the end-users during the navigation, and the overall
scores of the questionnaires. Moreover, we compared the psychometric properties of
SUS, UMUX, and UMUX-LITE when administered to blind and sighted participants in
terms of reliability and scales correlation.
Two evaluation cohorts composed of 10 blind-from-birth users (Age: 23.51; SD: 3.12)
and 10 sighted users (Age: 27.88; SD: 5.63) were enrolled through advertisements
among associations of disabled users , and among the students of the University of
Perugia, in Italy. Each participant was asked to perform on the website of the Italian
public train company (http://www.trenitalia.it) the following three tasks, presented as
– Find and buy online a train ticket from “Milan – Central station” to “Rome –
– Find online and print the locat ion of info-points and ticket ofﬁces at the train station
– Use the online claim form to report a problem about a train service.
Participants were asked to verbalize aloud their problems during the navigation. In
particular, sighted users were tested through a concurrent thinking aloud protocol,
while blind users were tested by a partial concurrent thinking aloud .
38 S. Borsci et al.
After the navigation each participant ﬁlled the Italian validated version [14 ] of three
scales, presented in a random order.
2.1 Data Analysis
For each group of participants there were descriptive statistics (mean [M], standard
deviation [SD]). An independent t-test analysis was performed to test the differences
between the two evaluation cohorts in terms of overall scores of the three question-
naires. Moreover, a Cronbach’s α and Pearson correlation analyses were performed to
analyze the psychometric properties of the scales when administered to different
end-users. All analyses were performed using IBM® SPSS 22.
3.1 Usability Problems and User Satisfaction
The two evaluation cohorts identiﬁed, separately, a total number of 29 problems: Blind
users experienced 19 usability issues, while sighted users experienced only 10 issues.
Of the 29 issues reported by the two cohorts, eight issues were ident iﬁed by both blind
and sighted users; tw o problems only by sighted users; and 11 only by blind users.
Therefore, a sample of 21 unique usability issues was identiﬁed testing 20 end-users.
As reported in Table 1 , an independent t-test analysis showed that for each of the
questionnaires there was a signiﬁcant difference between the overall satisfaction in use
experienced by blind and sighted users.
As can be seen in Table 2, while blind users assessed the website as not usable
(Grade F), sighted users judged the interface as having an adequate level of usability
(Grades for C- to C). By aggregating the two evolution cohorts, the website could be
judged as a product with a low level of usability (Grade F).
3.2 Psychometric Properties of Questionnaires
The Cronbach’s α analysis showed that all the questionnaires are reliable when
administered to both sighted and blind users (Table 3). Nevertheless, in the speciﬁc
case of blind users, UMUX reliability is lower than expected (.568).
Table 1. Differences among SUS, UMUX, and UMUX-LITE administered to blind and sighted
Blind vs. Sighted users Degree of Freedom tp
SUS 17 6.469 .001
UMUX 4.876 .001
UMUX-LITE 4.319 .001
Short Scales of Satisfaction Assessment: A Proxy to Involve Disabled Users 39
As Table 4 shows, all the questionnaires, independently from the evolution cohort,
are strongly correlated (p < .001).
Table 2 clearly shows that while sighted users judged the website as quite a usable
interface (Grades from C- to C), disabled users assessed the product as not usable
(Grade F). This distance between the two evaluation cohorts is perhaps due to the fact
that blind users experienced 11 more problems than the cohort of sighted participants.
These results indi cate that a practitioner adding to an evaluation cohort a sample of
disabled users may drastically change the results of the overall usability assessment,
i.e., the average overall score of the scales (Table 1).
Table 2. Average score, standard deviation (SD) and average aggregated scores of the SUS,
UMUX, and UMUX-LITE of blind and sighted users. For each scale the Curved Grading
Scale (CGS), provided by Sauro and Lewis , was also used to deﬁne the grade of website
Sighted Blind Av. aggregated scores
SUS 67.75 (SD:20.83) 15.25 (SD:11.98) 41.5 (SD:31.6)
Grade C Grade F Grade F
UMUX 62.02 (SD:17.91) 32.10 (SD:11.99) 46.27 (SD:21.21)
Grade C - Grade F Grade F
UMUX-LITE 68.52 (27.48) 17.54 (14.24) 41.66 (34.27)
Grade C Grade F Grade F
Table 4. Correlations among SUS, UMUX, and UMUX-LITE for both blind and sighted users.
Types of end-users Scales SUS UMUX
Blind SUS 1 .948**
UMUX .935** 1
UMUX-LITE .948** .928**
Sighted SUS 1 .890**
UMUX .890** 1
UMUX-LITE 820** .937**
**. Correlation is signiﬁcant at the 0.01 level (2-tailed).
Table 3. Reliability of SUS, UMUX, and UMUX-LITE for both blind, and sighted users.
SUS .837 .915
UMUX .568 .898
UMUX-LITE .907 .938
40 S. Borsci et al.
The three scales were very reliable for both the cohorts (Cronbach’s α > 0.8;
Table 3), however, the UMUX showed a low reliability when administered to blind
users (Cronbach’s α > 0.5). This low level of reliability of UMUX was unexpected,
considering also that UMUX-LITE composed of only the positive items of UMUX –
i.e., items 1 and 3 – was very reliable (Table 3). Pe rhaps the negative items of UMUX –
i.e., items 2 and 4 – were perceived by disabled users as complex or unnecessary
questions, or this effect is an artifact of the randomized presentation of the question-
naires to the participants. Finally, for both the cohorts, the three scales were strongly
correlated – i.e., p<.001 (see Table 4).
Quick and short questionnaires could be reliably used to assess the usability of a
website with blind users. All the three tools reliably capture the experience of partic-
ipants with and without disability, by offering to practitioners a good set of stan-
dardized results about the usability of a website.
Although further studies are needed to clarify the reliability of UMUX when
administered to disabled users, our results suggest that UMUX-LITE and SUS might be
applied by practitioners as good scales of satisfaction analysis. The use of these short
scales may help practitioners to involve blind participants in their evaluation cohorts
and to compare the website experience of people with and without disability. In fact,
practitioners with a minimal cost may administer SUS and UM UX or UMUX-LITE to
a mixed sample of users , thus obtaining an extra value for their report: the divergent
perspectives of the disabled users. This extra value is particularly important for web-
sites of public administration and of those services, such as public transport, that have
to be accessed by a wide range of people with d ifferent levels of functioning.
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