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Usability and Accessibility

From: Doyle-Work <dburnett@sesa.org>
Date: Tue, 11 May 2004 10:58:05 -0800
To: W3C Web Content <w3c-wai-gl@w3.org>
Message-ID: <BCC6623D.29F3%dburnett@sesa.org>

To The Group -

As a part of my action item, I have written a short note about where
usability meets accessibility and potentially crosses the lines for certain
individuals.  I know Gregg has written a little about this issue and posted
the same to the list.  Hopefully, this is part of what I thought I was
supposed to do.  Anyway, my first attempt.  Feedback welcome.

Proposed Note -

Members of the WCAG (Web Content Accessibility Guidelines) working group
realize that our mission is to develop guidelines and techniques that will
help web developers produce accessible content.  Typically, issues
pertaining to usability are separate and distinct from those challenges
related to accessibility.  However, there can be usability issues that make
it more difficult for certain individuals, especially individuals with
disabilities. Sometimes, these same issues make it more challenging for
individuals without disabilities.  Hence, if it is an equal burden on
everyone, even if it takes a person with a disability longer, there is not
likely an accessibility issue.

When a usability issue potentially becomes an accessibility barrier is when
the person with a disability (or anyone for that matter) has to take more
time and energy beyond what would have been their norm to complete a given

For example, if a person without a disability were able to navigate a
particular web resource, interact with content and complete the intended
goal in a given period of time, it might be expected that a person with a
disability could do the same task but it may take longer.  When the typical
take longer time period or energy level is unduly increased for the person
with a disability (beyond what would have been their typical) the issue now
becomes one of accessibility.


Doyle Burnett
Education and Training Specialist
Multiple Disabilities Program
Special Education Service Agency
Received on Tuesday, 11 May 2004 14:58:38 UTC

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