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Comments on Perspectives on usability and accessibility draft

From: DavidSloan <DSloan@computing.dundee.ac.uk>
Date: Tue, 23 Nov 2010 23:46:44 -0000
Message-ID: <367E3D6D231B1E4AA26E8486025B475109F55617@mailex.computing.dundee.ac.uk>
To: <wai-eo-editors@w3.org>
Hi Shawn, Shadi,

Thanks for the opportunity to comment on the draft document "Web
Accessibility and Usability Working Together."

My thoughts are below. Please feel free to get in touch if you need any
clarification on my comments.

Best wishes,

Overall, it's a very useful addition to the WAI suite of documents, and
should help to clarify the relationship of usability and UCD to

Here are a few specific comments - apologies for the pedantic nature of
most of the suggested corrections! I've ordered them by section for ease
of reference.


I'm not sure about the sentence:

"In most situations there is no need to differentiate between usability
and accessibility, because their goals are complimentary."

At a minimum, should be 'complementary'? But, semantically speaking, if
the roles are complementary (i.e. two distinct parts that together make
a whole), then there *would* be a need to distinguish between them so as
not to leave any gaps?

Perhaps a rewrite could be:

"In most situations there is no need to differentiate between usability
and accessibility, because their goals are ultimately the same - to
ensure that as many as possible of a web site's target audience can use
the site for its intended purpose."

# Understanding Accessibility

The first paragraph starts with a very firm, definitive statement:
"Accessibility is about ensuring an equivalent user experience for
people with disabilities."

But the second paragraph says " Some accessibility guidelines primarily
meet the needs of people with disabilities." Which would beg a reader to
ask - "ok, so what do the remaining accessibility guidelines do?" 

For me, the two sentences above don't scan well. Perhaps what should be
meant in the first section is that "Accessibility is about firstly
ensuring an equivalent user experience for people with disabilities -
and secondly for those disabled by their browsing environment."
('firstly' and 'secondly' could be replaced by 'primarily' and
'secondarily' if there needs to be a hierarchy)

This rewrite would mean the second paragraph makes more sense as is, and
also introduces the 'other beneficiaries' argument expanded in the third

# Understanding Usability and User-Centered Design (UCD)

In this section, could there be a direct link to a page on the ISO 9241
standard (or maybe reference UserFocus' Bluffer's Guide to 9241)?

# Real People

This is the most important, and powerful section of the whole page, and
is very well put across. Maybe you could emphasise "People with
disabilities effectively interacting with and contributing to the Web is
the end goal" using appropriate markup or making it a standalone

# Working Together with Accessibility

Minor grammatical issue in the first paragraph - the content in
parentheses beginning (Whereas...) is not a sentence - so I would either
replace the parentheses with a comma, extending the previous sentence,
or replace "Whereas" with "By contrast, " and remove the parentheses.

The first of the three issues - perhaps there could be a more explicit
invitation for people to contribute research data that
supports/questions/potentially extends WCAG? If the goal is to avoid
fragmentation of effort and multiple sets of design guidelines, one
action should be to direct research activity that generates valid
evidence towards improving WCAG rather that presenting
independent/conflicting guidelines. 

The second of the three issues - I'm not sure this sufficiently
emphasises the point being made, which I think is that independent
efforts to create web design guidelines might perpetuate placing
inappropriate or unnecessary demands or restrictions on content authors
when the issue to be resolved is at the user agent level?

The University of Dundee is a Scottish Registered Charity, No. SC015096.
Received on Tuesday, 23 November 2010 23:48:15 UTC

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