W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > w3c-wai-gl@w3.org > January to March 2001

Re: Checkpoint on testability

From: Leonard R. Kasday <kasday@acm.org>
Date: Tue, 02 Jan 2001 15:53:23 -0500
Message-Id: <>
To: Kynn Bartlett <kynn@reef.com>, Kynn Bartlett <kynn-edapta@idyllmtn.com>
Cc: "w3c-wai-gl@w3.org" <w3c-wai-gl@w3.org>
OK, lets drop this particular wording.

But, wording aside,  what about the general guideline of eliminating or 
minimizing the amount of human effort needed to verify accessibility, for 
the reasons detailed in 

The basic arguments were that
(a) If testing takes too much effort t doesn't get done completely or at 
all, and in practice things that aren't tested don't work well or at all
(b) It helps the end user to check for him or herself whether a site is 
accessible before trying to make use of it.

For more details see the above URL.

By the way, this guideline doesn't rule out approaches that create two or 
more different versions of a site, and it doesn't require the site to 
explicitly reveal its internal transformation rules.   For example, if 
corresponding elements of each of two versions of a site were 
correspondingly labeled it would facilitate checking just as well as a 
single site which had the alternatives of each element part of or within 
the element (e.g. alt text or nested objects).  (yes, it complicates the 
verification assistance tools, but it would be straightforward.... and I'm 
saying that as one of the people who'd have to implement it)


At 12:10 PM 12/29/00 -0800, Kynn Bartlett wrote:
>At 11:45 AM 12/29/2000, Leonard R. Kasday wrote:
>>Minimize the amount of human effort needed to test if content is 
>>accessible.  For example, if two techniques produce equally accessible 
>>content, pick the technique that requires the least human effort to test 
>>the result.
>I don't like this rephrasing at all.
>First, the whole concept of "equally accessible content" is questionable 
>the only way two things can be said to be equally accessible is if they are
>identical (on some level).  Accessibility is not something that can be 
>though, with "equally", because accessibility _requires_ a person be 
>Accessibility in a vacuum is not measurable, all that matters is accessibility
>to a given individual.  Speaking in terms of accessibility being directly
>measured and compared by using "equally" is very confusing and gives
>the wrong idea entirely.
>For example, a page could be "highly accessible" to a person who is blind,
>using a screenreader, but it may not be that accessible to someone who
>cannot read, or who cannot hear.  Judging accessibility in this way is very
>dangerous because of the confusion introduced and the increased chance that
>the _human_ factor will be lost.
>Secondly, this specific proposal you make seems to make little sense
>because it makes _the ability of the technique to be testable_ the most
>important guideline.  If both are "equally accessible" (even if we can presume
>that we can make such a decision), then both are valid techniques for
>making pages accessible, and there may be legitimate reasons for
>choosing one or the other BEYOND simply which is the easiest to
>automatically check.
>For example, one solution may be more costly, or require retraining of
>staff.  One solution might not scale well for large or small sites, and may
>require a great deal of server-end processing.  A solution could be
>deemed "wrong" for any given number of business decisions which
>are valid and justifiable.
>It's not right for us to demand that "testability" be the only criteria
>used to distinguish between techniques -- we have no other mandated
>criteria of this sort in any techniques or guidelines document.  Remember
>that we are talking about techniques which _meet_ guidelines and
>which give roughly "equivalent" access to content.
>Elevating "testability" of techniques which produce _identical results_
>to this level is highly inappropriate, in my opinion.

Leonard R. Kasday, Ph.D.
Institute on Disabilities/UAP and Dept. of Electrical Engineering at Temple 
(215) 204-2247 (voice)                 (800) 750-7428 (TTY)
http://astro.temple.edu/~kasday         mailto:kasday@acm.org

Chair, W3C Web Accessibility Initiative Evaluation and Repair Tools Group

The WAVE web page accessibility evaluation assistant: 
Received on Tuesday, 2 January 2001 15:53:39 UTC

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.3.1 : Tuesday, 16 January 2018 15:33:35 UTC