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Re: the techniques document is hard to follow

From: Lisa Seeman <lisa@ubaccess.com>
Date: Sun, 21 May 2006 19:58:54 +0200
To: 'WCAG-WG' <w3c-wai-gl@w3.org>
Message-id: <05b001c67d00$46014c40$6400a8c0@IBM4CD7E5EACA1>
Cynthia asked if this was usability or accessibility question. It may well be a usability question too, but my main concern was accessibility . Specifically I was thinking that to use the document you require a good visual or auditory short term memory which many disabled people do not have. If people can not use the document because of a disability, that is an accessibility issue.

Why is a visual memory required for using the document? 
For example (just to make this personal) someone without a visual memory and a naming disability (such as is typical of many, but not all,  dyslexics) will not be able to associate a checkpoint number with the meaning of the checking. For example they will not be able to remember that 1.2.2 is the checkpoint on  ..?....

Let us assume all numbers where linked to the checkpoint. That is good, but not great. You are still required to recognize (visual memory again) what you were reading when you clicked on the link. If you do not remember that you are lost again. If you open links in a new tab or window each time, you are also likely to get lost among the 20 open windows that will be formed within a short read. 

So what can we do about it?
To solve this we need an interface option that does not rely on the visual memory of the user

A simple solution is to use links with the title tag. In other words each success criteria number would be a link, but the title tag would also be filled in with the success criteria text. That is better, but it is not hugely clear, and the orientation of what guideline you are under is lost, and you can also get lost going to the "understanding this document" .

A  highly successful layout for this type of content for  learning disabilities  is a frame type view. This is a  page split into different regions
For example: 
  a.. One region would be a tree view for guidelines and success criteria. 
  b.. "Understanding success criteria... "  would be a second region and would correspond to the success criteria selected in region 1.
  c.. Another region would be for techniques for the same success criteria

Color and font sizing  would clarify the relative importance of different content (Regions can also be collapse and resized by the user.)

That way all the information you need will be visible at the same time so a  visual memory is no longer required. Hence, it would be  accessible to people without a visual memory.

(Other highly successful layout view tailored for  visual memory disabilities include mind maps and topic maps. )


All the best 

Lisa




> 
> 
> This is an the acid test on whether following  the
> guidelines actually  mean that someone with a learning disability can access
> content. They don't.  Understand,  I review a lot of specifications  for the
> W3C as they get to last call (sometimes for ISO, Dublin core etc). Normally
> the concepts in the content are  much much harder, and just incase this
> could be any stronger, so far I was already familiar with every technique I
> have reviewed (which is why I can follow it at all).  But, because I have a
> disability, our  techniques document is the hardest to follow of any W3C
> specification I have reviewed. 
> 
> 
> 
> (The key problem is I do not have a reliable visual or
> auditory short term memory, so I can not track of what the success criteria
> numbers refer to. It is the same problem as acronyms and I am forever having
> to scroll or click to the guideline, miss my place, have trouble remembering
> where I was etc...)
> 
> 
> 
> The key point I am making:  We have followed our own
> guidelines including level three success criteria. But the result was not
> that the content was accessible to someone with a learning disability.
> 
> 
> 
> My 2 cents, is we need to lose the clame that we have
> written guildines that will make content accessibility to people with a
> learning and cognitive disabilities and then we need to start working on an
> extension checkpoint that does address the different needs of Learning
> styles. We need to do it like any difficult technical problem. We need to
> analyze the problems in depth, understand the issues, make a gap analysis,
> then innovate and come out with a solution, then we need to test it, and
> then write the guideline.
> 
> 
> 
> All the best
> 
> Lisa
> 
> 
>
Received on Sunday, 21 May 2006 16:59:47 GMT

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