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RE: WCAG usability Re: Multiple versions of a web page

From: Kynn Bartlett <kynn-edapta@idyllmtn.com>
Date: Wed, 26 Dec 2001 22:10:31 -0800
Message-Id: <a0510100fb8506a478ef6@[]>
To: "Harry Woodrow" <harrry@email.com>, "Charles McCathieNevile" <charles@w3.org>
Cc: "Scott Luebking" <phoenixl@sonic.net>, <poehlman1@home.com>, "WAI IG" <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
At 2:14 PM +0800 12/27/01, Harry Woodrow wrote:
>My feeling is that measures such as:
>  " Of the sites, 7 had already
>        complied with WCAG 1.0 Single-A, and these averaged an increase
>        of 64% more accessible, as measured by usability tests over a
>        range of 8 disability groups.  "
>is exactly what we do NOT want.  What is important is that all users can use
>a site if it is at all possible for them to do so not that developers can
>say "Hey look arent we great we have catered for 85%".

Who is "we" in this case?  I think it's important to measure what
effect changes have, and not just blindly rely on such quaint super-
stitions such as "by following WCAG (1.0, 2.0, whatever) you can be
sure all users can use a site!"

It's simply not true, for starters.  There have to be solid metrics
that gauge the effectiveness of WCAG or any other accessibility
plan, or else it's all just lip service and we might as well call it
WAG instead (Wild-Assed Guess) if we don't want to apply rigorous
testing methods.

There's two ways you can approach this.  There's the cross-your-fingers-
and-pretend-it's-all-good approach, or there's the scientific method
of gathering data and analyzing it.  So far, WCAG has mostly been WAG;
no one can definitively say what effect following ANY specified
accessibility techniques have on access, because we never test for
that.  We just "hope" that we do the right thing, because we "know"
that it makes things better to do <x> or <y>.  Do we have proof?  Heck
no, but our hearts are in the right place!

By the way, you grossly misunderstood the text you quoted if you think
it says "we have catered for 85%" -- I certainly wasn't proposing a
measurement of how many people were served by WCAG or anything else,
and if you got _that_ from what I wrote, I suggest you go back and
re-read the examples given, and read them carefully this time.

What I was in fact proposing was a way of measuring the effectiveness
of any given techniques, both before and after, as a composite number
based on standardized user testing.  This is very valuable information
to have regardless of whether you've got pipe dreams about claims that
"all users can use a site if it's at all possible to do so" which are
untested and unverifiable.


Kynn Bartlett <kynn@idyllmtn.com>                 http://kynn.com
Chief Technologist, Idyll Mountain            http://idyllmtn.com
Web Accessibility Expert-for-hire          http://kynn.com/resume
January Web Accessibility eCourse           http://kynn.com/+d201
Received on Thursday, 27 December 2001 01:24:02 UTC

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