[A11ybok] A (Hopefully Helpful) Step Back For Perspective & Clarity
ewaters at humana.com
Fri Mar 16 08:59:19 EDT 2012
I cannot agree strongly enough, which is why I support both the W3C/WAI body of knowledge AND the need to be able to access it better. For all the reasons listed below (overwhelming, organized in a way that doesn’t support my workflow, etc.), I did not extensively use the WCAG 2 guidelines in the first year and a half of my work in and learning about accessibility.
Humana Enterprise Web Accessibility
ewaters at humana.com<mailto:ewaters at humana.com>
Office and Cell: 415.692.1954
From: a11ybok-bounces at a11ybuzz.com [mailto:a11ybok-bounces at a11ybuzz.com] On Behalf Of Sunshine Lewis
Sent: Thursday, March 15, 2012 4:40 PM
To: A11yBOK Discussion List
Subject: Re: [A11ybok] A (Hopefully Helpful) Step Back For Perspective & Clarity
"Perhaps more people would be able to bring up specific topics surrounding accessibility which they feel are underserved by existing resources."
I am a web developer/designer/jack of all trades and I have been the primary annoying accessibility advocate in my organization for 7 years. I love the what WAI has done with the WCAG 2 guidelines, tools and techniques and I absolutely use them but here are my gaps.
1. WCAG 2.0 (and the WAI site) are overwhelming (to me)
There is a lot of great information but it tends to be text heavy with long content widths, limited whitespace and lots of language and acronyms/abbreviations that are appropriate but difficult to scan. Its easy to overlook the information that's there.
2. WCAG 2.0 is organized in a way that doesn't match my workflow
If I'm trying to find the current accepted best practice for marking up a textarea with instructions, I would not think to look under the techniques for making web content adaptable. Even if I did I wouldn't necessarily think to choose general or WAI-ARIA techniques because my end goal is HTML.
Finally, even if I figure out to look under adaptable and choose all the correct technique groups, the ones relevant to forms are not next to each other or even tagged as related to each other. Looking at the technique submission form I can't tell if they are supposed to be or not.
None of this is to criticize WAI and WCAG 2. Only to explain my major pain points.
When I'm trying to find a technique, I scan the tech titles for WCAG 2.0. If I know it's related to a technique that I see I'll go straight to that technique and then browse through the linked related techniques. If no luck there, I ask google/search my bookmarks and attempt to filter out irrelevant, outdated, or unfounded techniques. This is a slow and tedious process which can take me off task for hours.
So in an a11y body of knowledge, I'm looking for a resource that can answer (or point me to the answers to) the following questions
1. How can I accessibly post or markup X. Where X is some discrete unit of web content. (a flash video, an mp3 file, an image switcher, a three column list of checkboxes, inline help text for a form field, etc.)
2. How old is this technique? Does it have an expiration date (when browsers do X, or when screen readers do Y)? When was the last time someone used this in the real world?
3. Is there research to support the accessibility claims of this technique? (HUGE for getting organization support)
4. If not,does this opinion have enough peer support/approval (or lack of disapproval) to be valid?
5. What are it's pros and cons?
* Does this technique conflict or overlap with other web considerations (usability, UX, UI, IA, etc.)
6. What are the alternatives to this technique and why are they better or worse?
In the case of many of the techniques, it absolutely exists just scattered through multiple techniques. It's possible that all of this information exists in scattered form through WAI and other accessibility sites (webaim for 2). My dreams are to have that content organized into comprehensive chunks/patterns for accomplishing a specific task.
This may or may not be the appropriate project for those dreams to be realized.
On Thu, Mar 15, 2012 at 4:06 PM, Sharron Rush <srush at knowbility.org<mailto:srush at knowbility.org>> wrote:
Hi there Bill,
Yours is a welcome voice. On the previous a11yBoK List, I offered much the same rationale about the resources at the W3C/WAI working groups and web sites and wikis. I thought perhaps I was the only one who believed strongly in the value of working cooperatively within an established, international consensus-driven organization. I know that the pace of the process is often frustrating to many. However, if there is growing momentum around organizing and clarifying the BoK, that energy could be very well directed within the new community groups and other avenues developed for gathering public input.
Gap Analysis like you said would be good. Perhaps more
people would be able to bring up specific topics surrounding
accessibility which they feel are underserved by existing resources.
This sounds to me like a great place to begin. As we develop that analysis, we may also want to review the list of deliverables, planned deliverables and wish list of projects currently on display by WAI's Education and Outreach Working Group (EOWG). http://www.w3.org/WAI/EO/EO-Deliverables.html EO would embrace any help to turn the list into working projects.
At 11:49 AM 3/15/2012, bill wrote:
I've just subscribed to this list. Thanks for your efforts Karl.
[ As a quick personal intro, my name is Bill Shackleton. I share info and resources on twitter under CRPDisabilities, and since leaving the computer industry for the disability field almost 30 years ago, I've been involved in a number of issues tackling a wide range of barriers. ]
Unfortunately I missed this year's CSUN and although I've read the blog post and this list's archives, I still have a few questions and comments that might help me to fill in the blanks and/or foster some discussion in the spirit of your comment:
"Respectful disagreement is encouraged. That's how consensus is achieved."
I'm responding to, and excerpting, comments from this list and the blog post but didn't catch who said what for citing sources.. except this, where the blog post begins:
"It is now a well-accepted assumption that, in order to move forward, accessibility needs a unified set of resources that would be reliable, comprehensive, and easy to consume for users of all levels of proficiency in accessibility. There have been many discussions around this idea for a while. Yet, so far, it does not exist"
I'm a little unclear about this. It seems that if we're talking about a reliable set of resources, then wouldn't that be found at http://www.w3.org/WAI? From THE authoritative and most reliable source (ie the standard itself), you can also find getting started guides, how people with disabilities use the web, corporate business case development tools, policies from governments around the world, etc. etc. ..and expressed for different audiences whether techie, policy wonk or business manager.
As for specific in-and-out web developer questions, you can quickly filter the existing BoK by technology (flash, pdf, smil, css..), success criteria, and technique type at http://www.w3.org/WAI/WCAG20/quickref
"The WAI material, despite their efforts to guide the newcomers, isnâ€™t exactly appropriate for what I would call â€œoccasional practitionersâ€ . That is, people who punctually need to solve an accessibility issue, but donâ€™t have the time or will to go through the painfully slow process of getting the whole picture"
In what way is it not appropriate? I suppose I need to understand more specifically. As noted above, no-one has to go through a 'slow process of getting the whole picture" at all. To 'punctually solve an accessibility issue' you can either go to your own quick reference tailored in 5 seconds to your own technical and policy environment (success criteria level), select to see every technique on one large page and search it for your specific issue, or use any of a number of other tools at your disposal on the WAI site.
"second order of business, IMO, should be for us to brainstorm
funding opportunities. This would also necessitate a discussion of
scope, but I think both discussions probably should remain at a high
There has already been considerable funding by organizations big (Google, Adobe, Microsoft,..) and small - including my own modest enterprise, ERamp, Inc. ( http://www.w3.org/TR/WCAG20/#acknowledgments) - to developing the standard and producing all of the resources, including what appears to be aimed at here.
"Regarding this list, specifically, I'd like to strongly discourage
Why? Is there an additional cost to this? I ask because, as you may know if you follow my CRPDisabilities twitter account, I default to open sharing of information unless there's a compelling reaon to lock something down. It seems to me that the more lurkers, the higher the probability of someone chiming in with a strond idea, excellent resource, etc.
"I said no to Wikipedia a few times, let me clear
that up by saying, that having the final product would be a great
idea. However, starting there is maybe not the best idea"
Why not? Although (unless convinced otherwise by responses to this email) I believe that the single repository for A11yBoK should be - is - w3c/wai, I don't see any reason for not leveraging the powerful and effective wikipedia collaboration machinery for iterating up to the final product you envision.
"So, curation and collection of links are very useful, but we also need a significant effort in the production of resources, for all kinds of needs."
Could you please be more specific? What, exactly, are the resources that we need that aren't on WAI? I suspect that whatever they are has probably already been created based on a real need.. which comes back to curation.
"In addition to methodology, what would we like to accomplish, and by what date?"
I agree with this.. in fact, I'd want to know what we'd like to accomplish before thinking about methodology. I would suggest, as a clarifying exersize and a way forward that we do a simple subtraction:
Clarified statement of precisely what problem is being addressed
Already existing resources on WAI to address this problem
So far, as can be seen by my responses above, Gap Analysis = 0
Once we get a clearer sense of the scope, quality and size of the gap (through our continuing discussions), THEN we could entertain options such as contributing to WAI to expand solutions, contributing to wikipedia to perhaps create a front-end ui pointing to existing BoK resources across the web, creating a federated solution, creating a permanent home, or some other ideas.. THEN look at whether, how much, and from where needed resources could be tapped.
Hope this is seen as contributing discussion and movement, and not contrarian.
"We are called to be architects of the future..
Not its victims" R. Buckminster Fuller
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