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RE: accessibility supported questions

From: Roger Hudson <rhudson@usability.com.au>
Date: Wed, 1 Apr 2009 06:20:35 +1100
To: <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Message-ID: <E1LojWr-0003KA-Eh@bart.w3.org>
The article I referred to outlines the versions of Acrobat, Reader, JAWS and
Window Eyes we used
(http://www.dingoaccess.com/accessibility/accessibility-supported/ ). But
more importantly it states that I was not primarily writing about the

Quote:  “At the outset, I would like to make it clear that although this
test involved PDF forms, my comments are not intended as a reflection on the
general use or accessibility of PDF and could equally apply to any other web
technology.” End quote.


I am sure that the forms could be “debugged” and made to work with the
screen readers we used, but I thought the inconsistencies in performance and
the narrow band of web technology versions that appeared to work reasonably
well at this stage raised some interesting issues and questions about what
do we mean by accessibility supported. I come at this not from the point of
view of a developer, but rather as a tester who is asked to see if something
complies with WCAG 2.


Thanks for the comments





Roger Hudson

Web Usability

Ph: 02 9568 1535

Mb: 0405 320 014

Email:  <mailto:rhudson@usability.com.au> rhudson@usability.com.au

Web:  <http://www.usability.com.au/> www.usability.com.au 

Blog: www.dingoaccess.com   


In times of greed when justice is hard to find, perhaps a little magic is
required: A story of redemptive justice for bleak sub-prime times.

Freezer:  <http://www.dingoaccess.com/freezer/>



From: w3c-wai-ig-request@w3.org [mailto:w3c-wai-ig-request@w3.org] On Behalf
Of Phill Jenkins
Sent: Wednesday, 1 April 2009 5:08 AM
To: Ramón Corominas
Cc: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
Subject: Re: accessibility supported questions


> . . . it doesn't matter for compliance if there is assistive 
> technology that is able to interpret that content. So the 
> content can comply, but nobody can access it? . . . 

Of course it matters if something works with assistive technology or not.
Most all of us want documents, web sites, and web applications to be usable
by all users.   

The original post in this thread was about testing a specific PDF form with
two specific screen readers using the "success criteria" in WCAG 2.0.  The
reported results was that sometimes it worked and sometimes it didn't.
Unless I'm mistaken, the PDF form itself wasn't changing, so if it worked
sometimes and not others, its seems to me to be a problem with either the
PDF renderer (not sure what they were using, was it Adobe Reader 8?), or the
screen reader (they didn't have the latest versions), or the user
configuration (not discussed), and/or the user operations (not discussed).
In other words, the testing was revealing that the author of the PDF Form
probably didn't need to change anything, it just that further debugging will
be needed (by the testers?? by someone to determine the root cause of the
inconsistency.  If the screen reader never worked we would be having a
different discussion. 

The above dialog is *not* about law, regulations, and other disability
rights stuff.  I'm talking about simple software engineering concepts here.
We can have a disability rights discussion, but let's try not to mix the two
- please, it makes my head hurt.  The PDF form was either tagged correctly
or not per the specification, or the spec is consistent.  It is a simple
technical conformance (or technical compliance - See Note 1) questions with
PDF.  There are in this case at least two assistive technologies, screen
readers, that have some level of support for PDF. 

Note 1 - Some people or cultures or languages seem to have a problem with
using conformance vs compliance.  Use whichever term fits you best, but I am
talking about software and web specifications here, not disability rights

> For me, "Accessibility Supported" should be understood as "there are 
> enough ... that have no additional cost . . . 

Thanks for sharing your opinion, but "enough" and "cost" is a policy
discussion in my pinion, not a technical software engineering discussion.
"Costs" and "enough" is only mentioned WCAG 2.0 (see Note 2) as one of 4
choices (2d), but I do agree it should be part of the policy discussion.
Policy to me relates to the laws and regulations like ADA in the U.S., DDA
in the U.K., or a enterprise policy for its employees.  The purchasing
policy in Section 508 of the U.S. Rehab Act for example, which has nothing
to do with the ADA, does NOT have any policy provisions for purchasing only
"free AT", or only purchasing ICT that works with "free AT".  The ADA
policy, administered by the Dept of Justice, does not mention Internet,
WCAG, or screen readers - so it is being left up to everyone's
interpretation.  So do you see how different each policy can be?  And how we
can still have a discussion (although somewhat technical) on whether the PDF
document itself is tagged correctly or not, independent of the policy?   

Note 2 -

Phill Jenkins, 
IBM Research - Human Ability & Accessibility Center
U.S. Access Board

Ramón Corominas <listas@ramoncorominas.com> 

03/31/2009 02:54 AM 


Phill Jenkins/Austin/IBM@IBMUS 




Re: accessibility supported questions




Hi, Phill.

If I understand your answer, it doesn't matter for compliance if there 
is assistive technology that is able to interpret that content. So the 
content can comply, but nobody can access it? If there is no screen 
reader capable to consistently render the content, it can not be 
considered compliant, I think.

For me, "Accessibility Supported" should be understood as "there are 
enough user agents (including assistive techonolgy) that can render the 
content, and there is enough variety of user agents of this kind that 
have no additional cost for a person with a disability, compared to a 
person without a disability". Of course, in this context, perhaps 
"enough" can be only one unique free user agent that works on a free 
operating system.

This has the following consequences:

- Adobe PDF, Adobe Flash and WAI-ARIA can not be considered as 
"accessibility supported" until they are supported by user agents and 
assistive technology.
- Any technology that is only supported in Windows can not be considered 
as "accessibility supported", because Windows is not free, so if users 
with a disability are forced to buy Windows, there is an additional cost 
for people with disability. The same could be aplicable to Mac platform, 
of course.
- Any technology that is only supported by JAWS and/or Window Eyes can 
not be considered as "accessibility supported", because these programs 
are really expensive, meaning that there is an additional cost for a 
disabled person.

Perhaps I am missunderstanding the concept of "accessibility 
supported"...? What do you think about it?

Ramón Corominas.

Phill Jenkins escribió:
> Seems like your are testing the screen reader's support of the form, 
> not the form itself.  Did you report your inconsistencies to the 
> developers of the screen reader?
Received on Tuesday, 31 March 2009 19:21:56 UTC

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