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WCAG Priorities does not help the low vision

From: Peter Verhoeven <pav@oce.nl>
Date: Wed, 24 Apr 2002 13:41:14 +0200
Message-Id: <5.1.0.14.1.20020424131457.00a5d130@pophost.oce.nl>
To: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
Hi,

I see a growing tendency making Web Sites level A Conformance.
These Web Sites claim they are accessible. All WCAG 1 guidelines that can 
improve accessibility for people with some vision loss, including a growing 
group of elderly people are priority 2 guidelines (contrast between 
background and text colors, relative table measures instead of fixed).
Why is filling the ALT attribute on images more important than relative 
measurement?
I use a screen magnifier and set font size in Internet Explorer to medium. 
A lot of people with vision loss set it to Largest and always use their own 
font.
The result is, that on a lot of pages text and links hide under other 
frames or table columns.
The only way this can be solved is by using the author's settings, but that 
makes it impossible to read.

In the Netherlands we have a project Drempels Weg, that let Web Sites claim 
accessible on Level A Conformance.
Also the European Union pollicy is Level A Comformance. They speak about 37 
million people having problems with accessing the Internet. But solving 
only priority 1 problems does not solve the problems of those 37 million 
people in the EU.
Most priority 1 problems are blind and screen reader related and only helps 
10% of those 37 million.
By defining priorities companies and organizations are no willing to make 
their web site accessible after they are Level A Conformance.

In the WCAG 2 Draft I didn't find any low vision related issues, while all 
statistics tell me that from the 10% of people having problems accessing 
the Internet 50% less or more vision loss!
Some of you would answer me, that this should be solved in the UAAG 1.
My opinion is, that web sites are made much more faster accessible by 
solving this in user agent, but how long low vision people have to wait 
before a UAAG 1 priority 2 conformance browser is on the market?

The UAAG 1 concept include, that users must be able to set their own font 
size and type as priority 1. Users can now set very large fonts in Netscape 
and Opera. The largest font in Internet Explorer is not large enough for a 
lot of people.
Netscape 6 and higher is incompatible with all screen readers and screen 
magnifiers. Opera does not support MSAA and that is the reason that it is 
hard to use screen readers with this program.

But the problem with all these major browsers is, that setting an own large 
font causes trackbars and information that hide under tables and frames.

In my opinion the UAAG should specify that:
1. Users can set their own font size and family, that always override the 
font settings of the author. If this causes information to hide or causes 
trackbars the user agent must reformat the output.
2. Users must be able to load a frame or column into a new page.

The WCAG 2 should specify:
1. Use relative instead of fixed measuers for frames and tables.
Note : this hsould hae priority until a UAAG conformance browser is available.
2. Use a good contrast between background and text colors and a good 
readable font.

Regards Peter Verhoeven
Internet : http://www.magnifiers.org (The Screen Magnifiers Homepage)
  
Received on Wednesday, 24 April 2002 07:42:35 GMT

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