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doing a little more for people with cognitive limitations

From: WCAG 2.0 Comment Form <nobody@w3.org>
Date: Fri, 29 Jun 2007 04:02:09 +0000 (GMT)
To: public-comments-wcag20@w3.org
Message-Id: <20070629040209.EB58D6B644@kent.w3.org>

Name: Roger Hudson
Email: rhudson@usability.com.au
Document: W2
Item Number: Guideline 3.1: Make text content readable and understandable
Part of Item: 
Comment Type: technical
Summary of Issue: doing a little more for people with cognitive limitations
Comment (Including rationale for any proposed change):
Guideline 3.1 is concerned with the need to make text readable and understandable. In general WCAG 2.0 contains very few provisions for improving the accessibility of web content for people with cognitive disabilities or learning difficulties. 

When this lack of specific guidance relating to people with cognitive, language and learning limitations were raised by me and other people following the release of the WCAG Last Draft in 2006, the general response of the Working Group was, \"We have added some best practices for cognitive, learning, and language disabilities as advisory techniques. We have not been able to propose many additional success criteria that meet WCAG\'s testability requirements.\"

I agree it is hard to make some of the requirements for improving accessibility for people with cognitive, language and/or learning limitations machine testable. However, my reading of the definition of testability includes the provision for reliable human testable compliance. It is my view, many issues that were previously dismissed as not testable, are in fact testable by qualified human testers.  

Proposed change: I believe the Working Group should include the following Level AA Success Criterion for guideline 3.1. At the least, this will go some small way to addressing the short comings in relation to cognitive and learning limitations in the proposed draft of WCAG 2.0.

Proposed Change:
3.1.? Comprehension: Barriers to the readability or comprehension of text, tables and forms be avoided, or a mechanism for obtaining supplementary content or an alternative version is provided. (level AA)

Techniques could include:

Use the clearest and simplest language appropriate for a site\'s content.

Provide a mechanism for users to easily change text font size and the line-height of paragraphs.

Avoid the use of complex and highly decorative backgrounds for text or provide a mechanism for users to easily remove the background.

Avoid the use of highly decorative font styles for text or provide a mechanism for users to easily change the text style.

Avoid the use of text line lengths in excess of 80 characters or provide a mechanism for users to easily reduce column width or line length.

Avoid the use of text lines that are both left and right justified or provide a mechanism for users to easily obtain a version that is not fully justified.

For technical or complex content that is to be accessible to a general audience (for example legal documents or insurance conditions), provide an additional simple-language version.

(NB: I realise some of these techniques are included for other Success Criterion, however I believe that restating them here will help focus attention on the importance of considering the needs of people with cognitive, language and/or learning difficulties.)
Received on Friday, 29 June 2007 04:02:12 UTC

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