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RE: Testing web page accessibility by phone

From: John Foliot - bytown internet <foliot@bytowninternet.com>
Date: Wed, 29 May 2002 08:39:24 -0400
To: "phoenixl" <phoenixl@sonic.net>, <poehlman1@comcast.net>, <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Message-ID: <GKEFJJEKDDIMBHJOGLENCEGDCHAA.foliot@bytowninternet.com>

> However, a
> question to ask is if a sighted person can understand the purpose of a
> web page in let's say 15 seconds and it often takes a blind person 2
> minutes to understand the same web page, is that web page accessible?

Interesting question, but one which *may* miss a point.  What about those
with cognative disabilities?  Dsylexia, illiteracy, poor grasp of English
(may not be the users mother tongue), etc.  It may take these users more
than 5 minutes to either read or digest content on a page, but if they
successfully can access the content, then yes, it is accessible (IMHO).

All too often when the discussion of web page accessibility is looked at,
the discussion always seems to be about making pages accessible to blind
people; a point which frustrates me to no end as it is about *way more* than
just that!

Those that know me know I apply a strict interpretation to "accessibility",
and I leave the user agents out of the mix.  Accessible is accessible to
all - period.

Scott's methodology appears relevant, but if I may, expand your user group.
Can those with mobility impairments access the content, or are there a whole
raft of teeny tiny little hyperlinks which are hard to "click" on impedeing
the progress?  Is the message clearly articulated, or have the copy editors
loaded it with so much hyperbole and ambiguity that even a university grad
would be left scratching their head (ever read an IT companies mission
statement?)  Can the users successfully navigate from one area to the next,
and answer questions posed to them by the tester based on information within
the web site?  Can your testers access the content using a non-standard user
agent (wireless handheld for example, or a text only browser)?

If this sounds like usability testing, it is; but expanded with the
knowledge that usabilty must also incorporate accessibility... they are in
fact two sides of the same coin.

Good discussion thread...

Received on Wednesday, 29 May 2002 08:40:12 UTC

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