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Timed Responses

From: Kynn Bartlett <kynn-edapta@idyllmtn.com>
Date: Tue, 20 Nov 2001 14:03:06 -0800
Message-Id: <a05100303b82081cfd651@[]>
To: Joe Clark <joeclark@contenu.nu>, w3c-wai-gl@w3.org
I changed the subject line, because Joe is making some good points
about timed responses that need to be discussed separately from the
FWAP proposal.

I don't disagree with anything Joe says below -- I'm just adding on an
important scenario which I think is easy to overlook:

At 2:43 PM -0500 11/20/01, Joe Clark wrote:
>This requirement is very badly worded in every version I've seen. 
>Why can't we just say:
>If the user must take an action within a specified time, authors 
>must do one of the following:
>	a. let the user disable that feature entirely
>	b. let the user set the specified time to infinity or an 
>extremely large figure
>	c. let the user set the specified time to any arbitrary figure
>Allow the user to restart the timing process as many occasions as is 
>necessary for the user.
>When issuing a warning that a response period is about to expire, 
>timing of the response period must stop until the user can react to 
>the warning.
>This approach (which we can and will tweak):
>* Lets people opt out of timed responses.
>* Lets authors whose systems cannot accommodate such an opt-out but 
>*can* accommodate a high time value use that instead.
>* Lets people give themselves as much time as they need while still 
>keeping a lid on things. (This might come up in E-learning testing; 
>a timed response may be required, but accommodation may be made for 
>students who need more time.)
>I'm very firm about stopping the clock when warning that time is 
>about to run out. By definition, if the basic or underlying or 
>original timed process is hard for a person to keep up with, a 
>quickie dialogue box that says "Hit this special button within five 
>seconds or you lose your shopping cart!" ain't gonna cut it.

This is my gut reaction too, but I am concerned that there are other
factors beyond simply the idea of online testing or shopping cart

What I'm thinking of, for example, are things like timed auctions --
how do you make something accessible if they connect to an auction
site and there's 3 minutes left to bid on that item, and it will
take the user 5 minutes to comprehend the information and issue a

According to both WCAG 2.0 draft (and 508, and Joe's proposal above),
there's no way to do it, really, and still be "accessible".  In fact,
it may even be _true_ that there's no way to do it accessibly; it
may be a lost cause?

I'm not saying I have the answer -- and in fact, my own attempts to
phrase things were self-admittedly poorly worded too.  But I do think
that "timed events such as auctions" (or even "this sale lasts until
Tuesday" or the like) are what we need to look at as test scenarios
in addition to arbitrary ("keep your shopping cart!") or not-so-
arbitrary (e-learning testing) time limits.


Kynn Bartlett <kynn@idyllmtn.com>
Received on Tuesday, 20 November 2001 17:04:02 UTC

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