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Re: approval

From: Ramón Corominas <listas@ramoncorominas.com>
Date: Sat, 25 Feb 2012 16:18:26 +0100
Message-ID: <4F48FBC2.8000809@ramoncorominas.com>
To: 'WAI Group' <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
George wrote: "How about throwing the product out on rhe web and 
inviting criticism and providing easy feedback?"

I guess that, if users have difficulties using the site, they will 
simply go away without even trying to leave a comment.

Karl wrote: "gathering accessibility data with usability studies is 
inefficient and there are plenty of other methods that should be 
utilized first."

Please specify what "other methods" should be utilized first. And, even 
admiting that other methods *can* be used first, why should this mean 
that user tests must never be utilized?

This sounds to me as an old argument: "doing the right thing for 
minorities is expensive, we cannot afford that". I have heard it many 
times in many different flavours: "We do not perform usability tests 
with PwD because they are too heterogeneous that the results would be 
almost useless", "We do not perform usability tests with PwD because 
they are a minority and our company needs to earn money" (Nielsen in 2004).

And thus we have that there are almost no usability studies with PwD, 
whilst we have thousands of usability tests with "normal" people. It 
must be obvious that these "normal" tests are costless, and that 
"normal" people is so homogeneous that the results are applicable to 
everyone on the planet, isn't it?

But, hey! We have guidelines! Sorry, but I cannot understand why 
accessibility is always reduced to using a set of rules, while it is 
perfectly assumed that usability needs so many user tests. Of course, 
there are also standard usability rules, but no one doubts today that 
user tests are needed to improve usability and add information for 
creating better rules.

So, in the same way, we need more user tests with PwD to improve 
"usaccessibility", that is, "usability for PwD".

In my opinion, the benefits of conducting usability studies with PwD 
goes beyond the specific website you are assessing, since you can gather 
very valuable information to improve general "usaccesibility", but also 
to create a consistent set of usability rules that benefit PwD, in the 
same manner we have already well-established usability rules for 
"normal" people.

Morevoer, one of the biggest problems is that there are many people that 
are testing with WCAG have never seen real disabled persons using the 
Web. And, although the WCAG are a fundamental starting point, they make 
many assumptions that simply don't match real people using the Web (and 
of course they don't cover everybody). Thus, user tests with PwD would 
at least put context to the guidelines and help understanding the real 

Yes, I know that we cannot test with every type of disability every 
time, but maybe we can start thinking that the information will be not 
only for today, but also for tomorrow. And maybe we can start collecting 
information of one disability, and tomorrow of another one, and so on. 
And maybe in a couple of decades we will have not only "accessibility 
guidelines", but also some knowledge about "usable accessibility".

Received on Saturday, 25 February 2012 15:18:58 UTC

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