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Re: approval

From: David Woolley <forums@david-woolley.me.uk>
Date: Tue, 21 Feb 2012 08:19:04 +0000
Message-ID: <4F435378.1050805@david-woolley.me.uk>
To: WAI Group <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
CC: Meliha Yenilmez <melihayenilmez@yahoo.com>
Karl Groves wrote:
> On Mon, Feb 20, 2012 at 5:02 PM, David Woolley
> <forums@david-woolley.me.uk> wrote:
> 
>> To find out if it is actually accessible, you need to find people with lots
>> of different disabilities and perform a usability survey on them, allowing
>> them to use their own browsers and any assistive technology that they use.
> 
> Do you do this?  Really?
> 
> With all due respect, this is exactly the type of attitude that
> perpetuates the impression that accessibility is nebulous, expensive,
> and difficult.
> 
The OP seemed to be looking for a no effort solution which gave a 
definitive yes/no answer.  Of course it is impractible to truly measure 
accessibility in most real world cases, but it is also important to 
realise that the checklist is not measuring accessibility but is just 
providing rules that, if applied with intelligence, rather than just 
mechanically, are likely to produce something accessible to a relatively 
large number of people.

You get something similar with fire risk assessments.  If you go to a 
cheap consultant, you will get a series of photographs of risks and 
boiler plate text about them, which will have produced by mechanical 
operation of a check list.  If you pay a bit more, you will get a more 
narrative report, that considers your individual circumstances, and 
makes compromises by considering mitigating factors and the impact of 
different approaches.  The second report may actually be cheaper, 
because it may exclude improvement work that has little real benefit, 
and it provides a solution that can actually be made to work with the 
people involved.

At least in the UK, in building regulations and fire risk areas, the law 
does not impose any checklists, but the government produces 
supplementary documents that describe some ways of achieving compliance, 
but allows any solution that actually complies.  Compliance with these 
documents is normally a good defence against a charge of breaching the 
law, but they come with a warning that the law, not the document, is the 
definitive test.

The UK operates similar rules on Accessibility.  Where there is a legal 
requirement for a web site to be accessible, compliance with WCAG, with 
subjective parts checked by a recognized expert, is likely to be a good 
defence, but is not a guaranteed defence.

If the OP had asked how to go about producing a site that is likely to 
have a high degree of accessibility, using the checklists would be one 
of the best approaches.  However he asked how to determine whether an 
existing site was actually accessible.

-- 
David Woolley
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Received on Tuesday, 21 February 2012 08:19:46 GMT

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