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RE: Disability Type Analysis of WCAG 1.0

From: Kynn Bartlett <kynn-edapta@idyllmtn.com>
Date: Sat, 25 Aug 2001 07:51:22 -0700
Message-Id: <a05100304b7ad699608aa@[]>
To: "Charles F. Munat" <chas@munat.com>, "WAI Guidelines WG" <w3c-wai-gl@w3.org>
At 3:37 PM -0700 2001/8/24, Charles F. Munat wrote:
>It means that Kynn's experiment not only tells us nothing of value, but also
>that it may be outright LYING to us.
>Don't believe me? Ask any scientist.
>The point of any experiment is to test a hypothesis. The experiment succeeds
>if it either proves the hypothesis is false or proves that it is not false
>(i.e., reject or fail to reject the null hypothesis). An experiment is a
>failure only if it fails to test the hypothesis.
>You could say that Kynn's hypothesis is that the distribution of checkpoints
>across disabilities served is not uniform. But that's not really Kynn's
>hypothesis. Otherwise, so what? Who cares if it is not uniform?
>Kynn's actual hypothesis has a subtext: the checkpoints are not uniformly
>distributed AND *this has some meaning for accessibility*. Since his
>experiment did not control all the variables properly (heck, it didn't
>control ANY of them), it fails to test this hypothesis. Therefore it is of
>no value.

You seem to be taking this as an "experiment" -- which I believe was your
term -- rather than an "exercise."  The exercise was to to do number
crunching to see whether there are any trends in how the guidelines are
written, in terms of how much time was spent on one activity, in order
to see whether that might explain WCAG 1.0 being mistaken for "guidelines
for blind access" rather than "guidelines for access by everyone with

So, the raw numbers presented earlier are not the "experiment" itself,
they're the "evidence."

The real hypothesis is, "spending so much space writing about one type
of disability can give false impressions to people who read the

Note that to prove or disprove that, first you have to document how much
space was actually used, then you have to go and speak to people who
read the guidelines and gather information on whose needs they feel the
guidelines meet.

Then you'd sit down and start tweaking things -- give someone a version
of WCAG 1.0 which doesn't include checkpoints for anyone BESIDES blind
people, or versions where the number of checkpoints for blind people is
reduced as much as possible.  Then measure "whose needs do you think are
being met?"

That's how you do -this- experiment, Chas.  If you're doing an experiment,
of course.  Number crunching isn't experimental and you are barking up
oops sorry I got in Chas mode) if you are looking for data analysis to
include hypotheses.

This "experiment" isn't valuable as an experiment -- because it's not
one!  It's just the starting point, to stimulate discussion.  It's what
needs to be documented FIRST, before you can go ahead and do real


Kynn Bartlett <kynn@reef.com>
Technical Developer Liaison
Reef North America
Accessibility - W3C - Integrator Network
Received on Saturday, 25 August 2001 11:10:51 UTC

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