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RE: Testing web page accessibility by phone

From: phoenixl <phoenixl@sonic.net>
Date: Mon, 3 Jun 2002 09:03:22 -0700
Message-Id: <200206031603.g53G3M1d023613@newbolt.sonic.net>
To: smccaffr@MAIL.NYSED.GOV, w3c-wai-ig@w3.org

Hi, Steve

The thread basically started with my looking for additional testing
information to be used in writing down a methodology we've been using to
have blind people test the usability/accessibility of web pages by
phone.  I believe David's point was that the accessibility of web pages
should be tested primarily by running web pages through syntax checkers
like HiSoftware.  My concern is that syntax checkers can't actually
analyze things like how easy was it for the blind users to understand
the web pages, how long did it take them to use the web pages, what
mistakes did they make using the web pages, etc.  I think David's point
was that accessibility only means understanding and being able to use a
web page and the the time issue is not relevant.

If a blind person using assistive technology takes five times as long as
a sighted person to use a web page, does that make him/her a "second
class" citizen?  If the web page could be written so that it only takes
a blind person 1.5 times as long as sighted person to use the web page,
is that an advantage?

As to "universal design", I think that universal design would need to
consider if the web page designs are addressing the issues of
understanding and speed for blind people use web pages.  Is it universal
design when one segment of the population takes fives times longer to
use web pages than other segments of the population?

Perhaps, what is needed is more research.  For example, design some web
pages following the "universal design" as represented in the guidelines
design and also design them such that the design reflects that the
presentation will be non-visual.  Now have various blind people use both
types of  web pages.  If the blind people can use either type of web
page with equal accuracy of understanding and time, then the first set
of web pages could probably be seen as accomplishing the goal of
"universal design".  However, if the blind people have more accuracy of
information and require less time using the second set of web pages as
compared to the first set, then it might be reasonable to question how
universally designed are the first set of web pages when blind people
are put at a disadvantage.

Are the questions resolved by philosophizing or by actual testing?


> Hello all:
>      I've watched this thread for some time but am a bit confused.
> David and Scott, are you disagreeing and if so what is the disagreement?
> Certainly people should know how to use there technology and also the web =
> developer should use correct markup.
> Also, certainly, blind poeple differ due to many things, only one of which =
> might be technology or knowledge of=20
> their technology. =20
> The conclusions based on the facts are?
> Implications for usability testing?
> Should web designers use universal/accessible design?  Yes. =20
> Should they not bother until a blind person has taken some course in using =
> their tools (e.g. screen reader/browser)=20
> No, they should continually work on it just as they would work on =
> improving their web site for everyone.
> Puzzled,
> Steve
Received on Monday, 3 June 2002 12:04:32 UTC

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