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Re: evaluating web applications (was Re: Canadian Treasury Board accessibility assessment methodology)

From: Michael S Elledge <elledge@msu.edu>
Date: Wed, 23 May 2012 16:26:34 -0400
Message-ID: <4FBD47FA.8090606@msu.edu>
To: public-wai-evaltf@w3.org
Hi Shadi (and everyone)--

We've reviewed both software and websites for accessibility and have 
found several differences.

The first is that software often requires more manual review since it is 
often in a proprietary format that browser-based tools (like Web 
Accessibility Toolbar) can't diagnose. It can also have more complex 
interaction.

The second is that we're more often asked to be part of the development 
process, which will involve more iteration with developers. In other 
words, they will ask us to review a page, we will critique, they will 
respond, we will review a second time, etc., which leads to more 
conversations back and forth about how things should work in terms of 
accessibility.

Ultimately, however, we are reviewing against the same set of standards 
(WCAG 2.0 AA) and therefore expecting the same accessibility.

Hope this is helpful.

Mike



On 5/23/2012 2:12 PM, Peter Korn wrote:
> Shadi,
>
> I can't speak to "usual practice" for web accessibility evaluators.  I 
> think that software organizations generally who are implementing 
> accessibility support simply test for it alongside general software 
> testing.  E.g. on a regular basis as new internal builds are released 
> to testing, QA will look at things like keyboard operability, theme 
> support, color/contrast issues, and interoperability with assistive 
> technologies.  Programmatic testing will be a part of this as much as 
> possible.  QA practices to ensure code coverage generally would also 
> apply to accessibility testing -> focus on those places where 
> engineering has indicated new features were added or UI has changed; 
> run some set of "sanity tests" to ensure that the most critical and 
> basic functionality isn't broken (e.g. always try to read a known good 
> sample web page each time you get a new build of Firefox), etc.
>
> But this is different from a one-time review of an application; this 
> is about the software development process and working to ensure 
> accessibility is there - like any other feature and like overall 
> functionality - as the product is being built.  I don't know how to 
> adapt that process - which may involve hundreds of hours over a 
> multi-year development cycle - to a one-short WCAG evaluation of a web 
> application.
>
>
> Regards,
>
> Peter
>
> On 5/23/2012 12:30 AM, Shadi Abou-Zahra wrote:
>> Hi all,
>>
>> Is there a suggested approach/procedure for sampling functionality 
>> within an application, as we have for web pages within a website? Is 
>> this usual practice that web accessibility evaluators take?
>>
>> Best,
>>   Shadi
>>
>>
>> On 22.5.2012 23:24, Peter Korn wrote:
>>> Shadi,
>>>
>>> I don't believe one can make an effective, useful, meaningful 
>>> conformance claim
>>> <http://www.w3.org/TR/WCAG/#conformance-claims>  about many classes 
>>> of web
>>> applications today. That class includes things like web mail, and 
>>> many kinds of
>>> portal applications (particularly where they only employ a single URI).
>>>
>>> I do believe it will be possible to evaluate web applications for 
>>> accessibility
>>> - similar to evaluating non-web applications for accessibility - but 
>>> I expect we
>>> will need to do something that is different from the binary
>>> "perfection"/"imperfection" of the current conformance claim
>>> <http://www.w3.org/TR/WCAG/#conformance-claims>  rubric. The 
>>> Canadian Treasury
>>> Board example takes a step along that path in shifting from one binary
>>> "perfection"/"imperfection" statement to a two tiered, percentage 
>>> collection of
>>> 38 binary "perfection"/"imperfection" statements. But we need to go 
>>> further than
>>> that.
>>>
>>> I think the components of such a successful evaluation will need to:
>>>
>>>    * Recognize (as EvalTF is already doing) that only a 
>>> sampling/subset of
>>>      everything that a user can encounter can be effectively 
>>> evaluated in a
>>>      finite and reasonable amount of time
>>>    * Provide greater granularity in the evaluation reporting - one 
>>> that is
>>>      designed to accommodate the reality of imperfect software while 
>>> nonetheless
>>>      providing useful information to those consuming the evaluation 
>>> report such
>>>      that they can make informed decisions based on it
>>>    * Incorporate the concepts (as EvalTF is starting to do) of uses 
>>> (or use
>>>      cases) of the application so that the evaluation is meaningful 
>>> in the
>>>      context of how the web application will be used
>>>
>>>
>>> I am eager to get further into these discussions in EvalTF, some of 
>>> which may be
>>> logical things to discuss as we review feedback from the public 
>>> draft (including
>>> some of the Oracle feedback... :-). And as I mentioned, we've 
>>> already started
>>> exploring some of this already.
>>>
>>>
>>> Peter
>>>
>>>
>>> On 5/22/2012 2:09 PM, Shadi Abou-Zahra wrote:
>>>>  Hi Peter,
>>>>
>>>>  Does that mean that web applications cannot be evaluated?
>>>>
>>>>  Best,
>>>>  Shadi
>>>>
>>>>
>>>>  On 22.5.2012 20:40, Peter Korn wrote:
>>>>>  Shadi,
>>>>>
>>>>>  As is clear from the Notes&  Examples under their definition of 
>>>>> "Web page" at
>>>>>  the bottom of the URL you circulated (below), it is clear they 
>>>>> are looking to
>>>>>  assess on a Pass/Fail basis the full complexity of web 
>>>>> applications. As we've
>>>>>  explored in recent EvalTF meetings, that is a very challenging 
>>>>> thing to do,
>>>>>  given how dynamic web applications can be (cf. their examples of 
>>>>> a "Web mail
>>>>>  program" and a "customizable portal site"). It is challenging in 
>>>>> normal software
>>>>>  testing to determine whether you have reached every possible code 
>>>>> path&  every
>>>>>  possible configuration of the structure behind a single URI, let 
>>>>> alone answer
>>>>>  Pass/Fail for each and every WCAG A/AA SC for those.
>>>>>
>>>>>
>>>>>  Regards,
>>>>>
>>>>>  Peter
>>>>>
>>>>>  On 5/22/2012 6:10 AM, Shadi Abou-Zahra wrote:
>>>>>>  Dear Group,
>>>>>>
>>>>>>  Ref:<http://www.tbs-sct.gc.ca/ws-nw/wa-aw/wa-aw-assess-methd-eng.asp> 
>>>>>>
>>>>>>
>>>>>>  David MacDonald pointed out the accessibility assessment 
>>>>>> methodology of the
>>>>>>  Canadian Treasury Board, in particular the scoring they use.
>>>>>>
>>>>>>  Best,
>>>>>>  Shadi
>>>>>>
>>>>>
>>>>>  --
>>>>>  Oracle<http://www.oracle.com>
>>>>>  Peter Korn | Accessibility Principal
>>>>>  Phone: +1 650 506 9522<tel:+1%20650%20506%209522>
>>>>>  Oracle Corporate Architecture Group
>>>>>  500 Oracle Parkway | Redwood City, CA 94065
>>>>>  -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 
>>>>>
>>>>>  Note: @sun.com e-mail addresses will shortly no longer function; 
>>>>> be sure to use:
>>>>> peter.korn@oracle.com to reach me
>>>>>  -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 
>>>>>
>>>>>  Green Oracle<http://www.oracle.com/commitment>  Oracle is 
>>>>> committed to
>>>>>  developing practices and products that help protect the environment
>>>>
>>>
>>> -- 
>>> Oracle<http://www.oracle.com>
>>> Peter Korn | Accessibility Principal
>>> Phone: +1 650 506 9522<tel:+1%20650%20506%209522>
>>> Oracle Corporate Architecture Group
>>> 500 Oracle Parkway | Redwood City, CA 94065
>>> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 
>>>
>>> Note: @sun.com e-mail addresses will shortly no longer function; be 
>>> sure to use:
>>> peter.korn@oracle.com to reach me
>>> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 
>>>
>>> Green Oracle<http://www.oracle.com/commitment>  Oracle is committed to
>>> developing practices and products that help protect the environment
>>
>
> -- 
> Oracle <http://www.oracle.com>
> Peter Korn | Accessibility Principal
> Phone: +1 650 5069522 <tel:+1%20650%205069522>
> 500 Oracle Parkway | Redwood City, CA 94065
> Green Oracle <http://www.oracle.com/commitment> Oracle is committed to 
> developing practices and products that help protect the environment

-- 
Michael S. Elledge
Associate Director
Usability/Accessibility Research and Consulting
Michigan State University
Kellogg Center
219 S. Harrison Rd Room 93
East Lansing, MI  48824
517-353-8977
Received on Wednesday, 23 May 2012 20:27:14 GMT

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