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More: Disability Type Analysis of WCAG 2.0 and Section 508

From: Kynn Bartlett <kynn@reef.com>
Date: Fri, 24 Aug 2001 05:39:49 -0700
Message-Id: <a05100304b7abf7198844@[10.0.1.2]>
To: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
Along the same lines as my previous message, this is an analysis of the
different disability types whose needs are served by each checkpoint.
(previous: http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/w3c-wai-ig/2001JulSep/0548.html)

Another thing to add is that certain disability types may have "simpler
needs" than others, or have needs which can be expressed in fewer check-
points.  Such as users with epilepsy, where the principle seems to be
"don't trigger episodes by using strobing."  But it may not be sufficient,
for web design purposes, to merely summarize access by visually impaired
users with "don't rely on visual content alone."

Here is a look at WCAG 2.0 (working group draft, 14 August 2001):

Total:

   Blind: 81%
   Color Blind: 19%
   Low Vision: 47.6%

   Deaf: 28.6%

   Low Dexterity: 57.1%

   Low Comprehension: 66.7%
   Low Reading Skills: 52.4%

   Epilepsy: 23.8%

   N/A: 0%

Let's compare those with WCAG 1.0:

   Blind: 70.8%
   Color Blind: 10.8%
   Low Vision: 23.1%

   Deaf: 9.2%

   Low Dexterity: 20%

   Low Comprehension: 24.6%
   Low Reading Skills: 21.5%

   Epilepsy: 7.7%

   N/A: 10.8%

This is rather encouraging -- it shows a move toward checkpoints which tend
to be more universally applicable and a promising increase in representation
for a number of disability types.  It also represents a simplification
trend, reducing the number of checkpoints considerably (which increases the
need to make each checkpoint broader).

So, WCAG 2.0 looks like a step forward for making accessibility guidelines
which "look like the web".  (Meaning:  Closer to a more inclusive
document than before.)

I'm not sure if the same can be said for the Section 508 requirements,
though.  Let's look at those:

   Blind: 81.25%
   Color Blind: 12.5%
   Low Vision: 43.75%

   Deaf: 12.5%

   Low Dexterity: 37.5%

   Low Comprehension: 6.25%
   Low Reading Skills: 6.25%

   Epilepsy: 6.25%

   N/A: 0%

Comparing this with WCAG 1.0 "priority one":

   Blind: 81.25%
   Color Blind: 18.75%
   Low Vision: 25%

   Deaf: 25%

   Low Dexterity: 12.5%

   Low Comprehension: 12.5%
   Low Reading Skills: 18.75%

   Epilepsy: 12.5%

   N/A: 0%

Section 508 seems to have mostly adopted the requirements for visual
disabilities from WCAG "single-A", but falls behind on cognitive
limtations.  This is mostly attributable to the fact that WCAG 1.0's
"use clearest and simplest language" checkpoint which does not have an
equivalent in 508.  Some progress seems to have been made for low dexterity
but that is a bit misleading since keyboard access is not explicitly
required in 508.

508 "looks like the web" less than WCAG 2.0.

It's also worth comparing 508 with all of WCAG 1.0, not just the priority
one checkpoints; WCAG 1.0 is quoted above (in comparison to WCAG 2.0) and
I think this illustrates the danger of policy makers merely assuming that
following most or all of the "priority one" checkpoints will allow you to
meet the needs of a broad audience.  *This is not true.*  To meet the
needs of a wide audience of people with disabilities, you -must- take
many of the actions which WCAG 1.0 rates as priority two or priority
three.

--Kynn

-- 
Kynn Bartlett <kynn@reef.com>
Technical Developer Liaison
Reef North America
Accessibility - W3C - Integrator Network
________________________________________
BUSINESS IS DYNAMIC. TAKE CONTROL.
________________________________________
http://www.reef.com
Received on Friday, 24 August 2001 08:46:46 GMT

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