RE: Measurability in Silver

"We heard the complaint from several large innovative companies that they had  to remove features that improved accessibility from their applications because they didn't pass WCAG.  That's a problem."

I've often heard the phrase something like: "it complies, but is it usable?"

I think a key to Silver is that there is a level of flexibility built-in to avoid both of these situations.

Just my $0.02.

From: Jeanne Spellman []
Sent: Friday, November 9, 2018 8:58 AM
Subject: Re: Measurability in Silver

Charles raises a very important issue:  Can the qualitative result be accepted as a measurable “pass”?.  I am interested in what you think about it.  The example is link with no underline that fails 1.4.1 Color Alone (a common design pattern).   Should Silver accept the results of a test with users that found that a large percentage were able to identify that it was a link, even though it was only defined by the difference in color? Should that be a pass?

Should tests with users be able to change the pass/fail of the guidance?  I think that's an important question that I don't know the answer to yet.  It gives an opportunity to for companies with innovative responses to accessibility to prove that their approach is more accessible, even if it is a technical WCAG failure.  We heard the complaint from several large innovative companies that they had  to remove features that improved accessibility from their applications because they didn't pass WCAG.  That's a problem.  Testing with users with disabilities is a potential solution. I saw a presentation at A11yBOS where the presenter showed some visual designs that passed WCAG that were inaccessible.  Testing with users with disabilities could encourage companies to move away from technical conformance to WCAG that is still inaccessible and focus on what works for users.

On the other hand, testing with users with disabilities can be small datasets.  They can be skewed toward one disability  or levels of expertise.  Potentially, it might be easier to game the system by who was being selected to participate in the study.  I have seen testing with people with disabilities that provided very valuable accessibility information that goes well beyond WCAG requirements.  But do I want that to override other conformance measures?  I'm interested in some new ideas that could help safeguard people from abusing the system.

On 11/7/2018 9:45 PM, David MacDonald wrote:
I think most WCAG evaluators would not include  transient states that last a split second on inline links unless there was some added value.

On Tue, Nov 6, 2018 at 12:36 PM Hall, Charles (DET-MRM) <<>> wrote:
Following up on today’s conversation.

RE: Testing as Pass/Fail versus Measurability

All (or at least most) of the feedback, comments, and opposition to a “measurable” approach seem to suggest or imply that measurable means a scale – for example, a score of 1–5.

Some thoughts based on a specific example:

Success Criterion 1.4.1 Use of Color (Level A)
Color is not used as the only visual means of conveying information, indicating an action, prompting a response, or distinguishing a visual element.

Situation A: If the color of particular words, backgrounds, or other content is used to indicate information:
G205: Including a text cue for colored form control labels
For any content where color differences are used to convey information:
Check that the same information is available through text or character cues.

“…text or character cues” here is intended to describe the “visual means” as defined in the SC. So there is a simple pass / fail test that “the same information” [as color] is visible.

Hypothetical scenario
Element is a link. The information and indication of action is “this text is a link”. It is blue text within a line of black text that is not a link. It is not underlined. Links are stateful. There is only 1 of 5 states where there is no second explicit visual means. In the default state, there is color alone. In the focus, active, hover and visited states there are additional visual affordances as well as the user agent providing a pointer cursor where there is a pointing input device. There is even a selected state, and a pseudo after element that includes content of an icon that conveys the link is external.

So, “same information is available through text or character cues” is true in 4 states, but not true in 1. Does this fail? Under WCAG 1.4.1, it does. Under Silver, there may be other options. As a scale (as suggested at the beginning), this could earn a 4 of 5. However, that then requires an enumerated mark such as ‘3 or higher’ to qualify as passing. There is another option. What if the test question was “do people understand from any visual cues that this text is a link?” Then that question was answered by test participants that included 60 people with a wide spectrum of visual abilities and color deficiencies. If the result was 49 of 60 said “yes”, and 8 of 60 said “yes, if” or “yes, when” and 3 said “no”, there is clearly a new grey area or middle ground beyond simply scoring on a scale. The qualitative result is that it passed, while the quantitative result is that it scored high enough to pass if the enumerated mark or threshold was 51%. Can the qualitative result be accepted as a measurable “pass”?


Charles Hall // Senior UX Architect<>
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Received on Friday, 9 November 2018 17:36:14 UTC