# Re: What if Silver didn't have levels?

From: John Foliot <john.foliot@deque.com>
Date: Sun, 20 Oct 2019 09:58:28 -0500
Message-ID: <CAKdCpxzzUJdFeVKrk0nE7eaL7wv5pjV6CY1dK422sHK3uT-6rw@mail.gmail.com>

Cc: Shawn Lauriat <lauriat@google.com>, Detlev Fischer <detlev.fischer@testkreis.de>, "Abma, J.D. (Jake)" <Jake.Abma@ing.com>, "public-silver@w3.org" <public-silver@w3.org>
```(In case it is not clear or well-known, Léonie and I are good friends, and
this is written with due respect to my colleague and sister from a
different mother)

Léonie writes:

> As a disabled person I don't want "awesome", I just want "usable",

...and...

> which is exactly why I'm championing the idea of getting rid of levels,
and having a sliding 0% to 100% scale instead.

Respectfully then, if "awesome" = 100%, what does "usable" equal on that
sliding scale? 60%, 70%, 80%, 99%...

This is the challenge, and for regulators, if 99% is too high, and (we
suspect) 45% is too low, how do we measure and score usable? Because the
moment you peg that as a percentile, you've set the minimum bar for those
orgs that are doing accessibility, not for the right reasons, but simply to
avoid being sued. I hate that in 2019 that is still a reality (and one I've
fought against for decades now), but that is where we are today.

I do not see a tonne of daylight between your (undeclared) definition of
"usable" and Minimum Viable Product in this scenario my friend - it's
somewhere between perfect and useless, measured as a percentile. Knowing
that if perfect = 100%, usable for you will be less than 100% - so how much
less? And is that percentile number different based on disability or
disabilities?

Part of the problem is that, in reality, the "acceptable" percentile of
accessible will vary based on the individual - because people with
disabilities are individuals and not monolithic "user-groups". Yet
regulators need a baseline, because for them, the law is (and always will
be) a black or white call, whereas in reality, digital accessibility is the

JF

On Sun, Oct 20, 2019 at 6:54 AM Léonie Watson <lwatson@tetralogical.com>
wrote:

> Comments inline (edited for brevity)...
>
> On 18/10/2019 20:52, John Foliot wrote:
> JF wrote:
> > But, you still haven't solved the real problem, which (if I may) is
> > essentially, "if we cannot achieve perfect, how good is good enough?"
>
> I think it's time we stopped talking about accessibility like it's
> impossible. All we're doing is validating excuses for not doing it.
>
> Lots of things are difficult, security and privacy for example, but you
> don't hear specialists in those fields saying "it's ok if you don't
> manage it".
>
> JF wrote:
> >
> > In Leonie's example (and NOT discussing the specific issue), let's say
> > that the ONLY thing not in compliance is the missing, movable captions,
> > so OK, minus 2%. You now have a 98% score. (And why 1% or 2%? Why not 5%
> > or 10%? What is a "percentage point" worth? And why?)
>
> Working out the value of requirements is a thing we'll need to do, no
> matter which model we end up with, but let's take things one step at a
> time, and explore what those models might look like.
>
> JF wrote:
> > ... (I note that when speaking with
> > colleagues with disabilities about specific sites, they frequently use
> > language like "it's not bad" or "it's pretty good" or "it's really
> > painful to use with my AT", so the idea that good enough exists in the
> > wild is borne-out by those statements).
>
> It is, but not consistently. If you ask people whether a Level A
> website is "Good", "better", or "best", you will almost certainly get a
> different answer from someone with a cognitive disability as opposed to
> someone with a physical/mobility disability.
>
>   JF continued:
> > ...And while Shawn notes that "60%"
> > is today a strawman number (with others suggesting that number may be
> > too low), in the end whether it's additive or subtractive, the scoring
> > mechanism *also* needs enough flexibility to accommodate more
> > requirements as they emerge for new technologies (*), and/or allows for
> > the "subtraction" of percentile scoring requirements when they are not
> > applicable.
>
> It does need flexibility, which is why percentages instead of points
> make sense.
>
> JF wrote:
> >
> > We also have a requirement to ensure that we don't "stack" points in
> > favor of one user-group, at the expense of a different user-group.
>
> Agreed. This is why I'm not in favour of having levels - because it
> inevitably means that at some point we are acknowledging that any
> requirements that go beyond the minimum are effectively not worth
> bothering with (Level AAA all over again). It could be argued that that
> could be done in a way that puts all groups at the same disadvantage,
> but that doesn't feel right to me.
>
> [...]
>
> JF wrote:
> > Earlier, Léonie wrote:
> >      > The incentive thing still works, it's just that you strive to
> >     improve your score instead of to get from "good" to "best".
> >     In legal cases the determination can be made on the score
> >
> >  From a "legal" perspective, that might work as a reactive approach, but
> > most entities today are looking for proactive approaches to avoid any
> > legal complications. From that perspective, site owners *DO* need a Good
> > (enough), Better, Best, (and Awesome) set of targets to strive towards.
>
> I don't agree. As a disabled person I don't want "awesome", I just want
> "usable", and with a level based system there will always be things that
> are classed as "nice to have" or "awesome" that will stop me doing what
> I want to do.
>
> Time and time again, I've worked with development teams who've asked me
> (or the company I was working for) to prioritise the issues identified
> in an audit. If the levels system was really working, that should be
> apparent from the A, AA, AAA assignments, but it isn't, and that's
> another reason I think it's a broken model.
>
> JF wrote:
> > We cannot somehow be asking sites to boil the ocean right out of the
> > gate - they will need achievable milestones, of which Good, Better, Best
> > is as good, or benign, or bad as any other scheme.
>
> We don't need milestones to achieve this. A team can start with a target
> to get to 10% or 15%, then progress up the continuum from there. They
> will know that the closer they get to 100% the better their
> accessibility will be, the better protected against law suits they are
> likely to be, and so on.
>
> JF wrote:
> > I believe then that we need to start with the realistic assumption that
> > nobody will ever achieve "Perfect", and then define what a "MVP"
> > (Minimum Viable Product) of "accessibility success" would look like.
> > Failing to meet that MVP milestone (however it is scored) = Failure, and
> > meeting or exceeding that same MVP milestone = "some degree of" Success;
> > recognizing that it's still not "perfect", but that it isn't "horrible"
>
> The trouble is that this takes us straight back to the problem we have
> with WCAG. As soon as we say there is an acceptable minimum, we validate
> the idea that the rest is not important, and we put an easy life for
> developers and teams before the needs of disabled people. I think it's
> time we stopped doing this.
>
> >
> > Failing to provide some kind of "sliding scale for measurement" (aka the
> > "levels" in this thread) simply leaves us where we are today: the flawed
> > "Perfect or  Complete Failure" conformance model we have with WCAG
> > 2.x.  I think that it is also important to remember that "conformance"
> > levels are significantly more important to regulators than to end users,
> > and I've had enough time and experience to observe that even determining
> > "Good Enough" for end-users is individualistic in nature.
>
> Agreed, which is exactly why I'm championing the idea of getting rid of
> levels, and having a sliding 0% to 100% scale instead.
>
> >
> > JF (returning to lurk mode)
> >
>
> These discussions are good and worthwhile. It's how we make standards
> afterall.
>
>
> Léonie.
>
> >
> > (* as an additional question... what of emergent technologies where
> > *all* of WCAG as we know it today is not applicable, but some is, along
> > with some "new" requirements specific to that new technology? I'm
> > thinking now of AR / VR / XR (aka "Immersive" web) - how do we score
> > that when, for example, we may not have a technique to "declare the
> > language of the page", or provide a "mechanism to bypass blocks" in
> > Virtual Reality?)
> >
> > On Fri, Oct 18, 2019 at 11:24 AM Léonie Watson <lwatson@tetralogical.com
> > <mailto:lwatson@tetralogical.com>> wrote:
> >
> >     I don't think that setting a level somewhere on the scale is a good
> >     idea. As soon as we do that, we validate the question "what is the
> >     least
> >     I have to do here?", and as soon as that happens we've accepted that
> >     some people will be disadvantaged. In other words we create a class
> >     system.
> >
> >     If we instead set the "level" at 100%, we solve this problem. It also
> >     makes the definition of "accessible" a lot easier for people to
> >     understand - whether you're in court or implementing a new interface,
> >     people understand that 100% is the most you can achieve.
> >
> >     I think this single "level" becomes even more important if we think
> >
> >     A problem with bonuses is that if they're awarded for meeting
> >     requirements, it effectively reintroduces the levels problem. We know
> >     this from all the Level AAA requirements that are never met.
> >
> >     But if we offer bonuses for meeting requirements in ways that are
> known
> >     to be superior, or in ways that offer a better UX, I think we can
> >     protect against this risk too.
> >
> >     For example, there is a requirement to provide captions for
> multimedia
> >     content, and it's worth 1%. If you make it possible to adjust the
> >     location of the captions, that gets you a bonus 1%.
> >
> >     Please don't get into the weeds of discussing this example. It almost
> >     certainly won't stand up to the tiniest bit of scrutiny. It's just
> >     meant
> >     to be an example to illustrate the idea.
> >
> >     I'm also wary of the idea of "grandfathering" WCAG into the Silver
> >     model. As soon as we say that X point on the Silver scale is the
> >     same as
> >     Level AA, we implicitly reintroduce the class system I think is such
> a
> >     terrible idea. We transitioned from WCAG 1.0 to 2.0 without any real
> >     mapping between the two, and so I have no reason to think the same
> >     thing
> >     can't happen when we transition from WCAG2.x to Silver.
> >
> >     I think it's worth looking at the inversion model Alastair mentioned
> >     though. Instead of starting at 0% and working your way up, you start
> at
> >     100% and try not to work your way down.
> >
> >     To continue with my earlier example, this would change to the
> following:
> >
> >     There is a requirement to provide captions for multimedia content, if
> >     you don't you deduct 1%, if there is no ability to adjust the
> location
> >     of the captions, you deduct 2%.
> >
> >
> >     Léonie.
> >     On 18/10/2019 15:48, Shawn Lauriat wrote:
> >      > That 60% number came from Alastair writing "For sake of argument,
> >     that
> >      > level could be 60%…" so we definitely shouldn't take that as a
> solid
> >      > proposal that WCAG 2.x AA means 60% passing in Silver. Having a
> >     number
> >      > just made it so that we could work through the other aspects of
> this
> >      > conversation, which I've personally found really helpful!
> >      >
> >      > Detlev & Makoto, the examples you each gave for ways of adding to
> >     WCAG's
> >      > conformance in order to better express granularity of
> accessibility
> >      > beyond yes/no and A/AA/AAA seem particularly helpful to reference
> >     and
> >      >
> >      > Thanks,
> >      >
> >      > Shawn
> >      >
> >      > On Fri, Oct 18, 2019 at 8:08 AM Detlev Fischer
> >      > <detlev.fischer@testkreis.de <mailto:detlev.fischer@testkreis.de>
> >     <mailto:detlev.fischer@testkreis.de
> >     <mailto:detlev.fischer@testkreis.de>>> wrote:
> >      >
> >      >     Ok, I see what you mean!
> >      >
> >      >     Am 18.10.2019 um 14:00 schrieb Abma, J.D. (Jake):
> >      >>     Not sure if I understand you well, but 100% now will be 60%
> >     tomorrow.
> >      >>
> >      >>     So the 50 SC now will be extended to 80 in near future and
> when
> >      >>     60% of the 80 are passed (about 48/50/what ever we have) you
> >      >>     barely pass.
> >      >>
> >      >>     When more SC/methods are introduced you will need to catch up
> >      >>     because your 60% will drop a bit, encouraging to improve
> >      >>     constantly in future releases of the standard.
> >      >>
> >
>  ------------------------------------------------------------------------
> >      >>     *From:* Detlev Fischer <detlev.fischer@testkreis.de
> >     <mailto:detlev.fischer@testkreis.de>>
> >      >>     <mailto:detlev.fischer@testkreis.de
> >     <mailto:detlev.fischer@testkreis.de>>
> >      >>     *Sent:* Friday, October 18, 2019 1:53 PM
> >      >>     *To:* Abma, J.D. (Jake) <Jake.Abma@ing.com
> >     <mailto:Jake.Abma@ing.com>>
> >      >>     <mailto:Jake.Abma@ing.com <mailto:Jake.Abma@ing.com>>;
> >     public-silver@w3.org <mailto:public-silver@w3.org>
> >      >>     <mailto:public-silver@w3.org <mailto:public-silver@w3.org>>
> >     <public-silver@w3.org <mailto:public-silver@w3.org>>
> >      >>     <mailto:public-silver@w3.org <mailto:public-silver@w3.org>>
> >      >>     *Subject:* Re: What if Silver didn't have levels?
> >      >>     Up to now there was even talk of 'grandfathering'? WCAG 2.1
> >      >>     coformant results so sites conforming to current level AA
> would
> >      >>     meet the basic level, bronze (not sure if that is still the
> >      >>     favoured scheme though). That would be meeting a 100% old
> SCs (I
> >      >>     guess with minor tolerances) as a baseline requirement, if I
> >      >>     understand correctly. Lowering that to 60% (whatever the
> >      >>     rearrangements and additions coming with Silver) still feels
> >     like
> >      >>     a very significant lowering of requirements. Personally I
> would
> >      >>     not want to support that.
> >      >>
> >      >>     Am 18.10.2019 um 13:47 schrieb Abma, J.D. (Jake):
> >      >>>     (this makes the test and result a bit more complicated of
> >     course,
> >      >>>     but most people already understand a score like that)
> >      >>>
> >
>  ------------------------------------------------------------------------
> >      >>>     *From:* Abma, J.D. (Jake) <Jake.Abma@ing.com
> >     <mailto:Jake.Abma@ing.com>>
> >      >>>     <mailto:Jake.Abma@ing.com <mailto:Jake.Abma@ing.com>>
> >      >>>     *Sent:* Friday, October 18, 2019 1:45 PM
> >      >>>     *To:* Detlev Fischer <detlev.fischer@testkreis.de
> >     <mailto:detlev.fischer@testkreis.de>>
> >      >>>     <mailto:detlev.fischer@testkreis.de
> >     <mailto:detlev.fischer@testkreis.de>>; public-silver@w3.org
> >     <mailto:public-silver@w3.org>
> >      >>>     <mailto:public-silver@w3.org <mailto:public-silver@w3.org>>
> >     <public-silver@w3.org <mailto:public-silver@w3.org>>
> >      >>>     <mailto:public-silver@w3.org <mailto:public-silver@w3.org>>
> >      >>>     *Subject:* Re: What if Silver didn't have levels?
> >      >>>     Detlev,
> >      >>>
> >      >>>     True, but this may depend on where we set the 60% baseline.
> >      >>>     If double A (AA) is the baseline / 60% and some AAA are
> part of
> >      >>>     the default scoring system, than you can increase the score
> >     more
> >      >>>     easily.
> >      >>>
> >      >>>     Like touch targets and heading structure NOT AAA like but
> >     part of
> >      >>>     the defaults (and more to come...)
> >      >>>     To see how this works it might be good to have concrete
> >     practical
> >      >>>     examples to talk about.
> >      >>>
> >      >>>     The friction of focussing to much on 1 disability can only
> be
> >      >>>     solved by breaking the SC/guidelines/methods apart and
> >     judge the
> >      >>>     group to then demand a baseline score 'per group'.
> >      >>>     (just like we have in our schools, you must have a 60%
> average
> >      >>>     for math, language, history, physics etc in order to
> >      >>>
> >      >>>     Cheers!
> >      >>>
> >      >>>
> >
>  ------------------------------------------------------------------------
> >      >>>     *From:* Detlev Fischer <detlev.fischer@testkreis.de
> >     <mailto:detlev.fischer@testkreis.de>>
> >      >>>     <mailto:detlev.fischer@testkreis.de
> >     <mailto:detlev.fischer@testkreis.de>>
> >      >>>     *Sent:* Friday, October 18, 2019 1:35 PM
> >      >>>     *To:* Abma, J.D. (Jake) <Jake.Abma@ing.com
> >     <mailto:Jake.Abma@ing.com>>
> >      >>>     <mailto:Jake.Abma@ing.com <mailto:Jake.Abma@ing.com>>;
> >     public-silver@w3.org <mailto:public-silver@w3.org>
> >      >>>     <mailto:public-silver@w3.org <mailto:public-silver@w3.org>>
> >     <public-silver@w3.org <mailto:public-silver@w3.org>>
> >      >>>     <mailto:public-silver@w3.org <mailto:public-silver@w3.org>>
> >      >>>     *Subject:* Re: What if Silver didn't have levels?
> >      >>>     Jake,
> >      >>>     I agree withj sepatrate layers, "basic" and "extra on top"
> and
> >      >>>     critical issues
> >      >>>
> >      >>>     However (and I may be repeating myself) a result of 60%, in
> our
> >      >>>     old scoring scheme, would describe REALLY bad sites. This is
> >      >>>     because a good number of SCs rarely see fails (think of
> 1.3.3.
> >      >>>     Sensory Characteristics, 1.3.4 Orientation, 1.4.5 Images of
> >     Text,
> >      >>>     2.3.1 Three flashes, 2.4.5 Multiple ways, 2.5.4 Motion
> >      >>>     Activation, 3.1.1 Language of Page, 3.2.1 On Focus, 3.2.2 On
> >      >>>     Input). So if bottom line of 60% means that a whooping 40%
> >     of SCs
> >      >>>     can have defects (the queston question is of cause, *how*
> >      >>>     that baseline would allow for pretty dismal stuff. So I
> >     fear this
> >      >>>     would act as a disincentive for those who are happy to just
> >      >>>     scrape through with minimal conformance, and really lower
> >     the bar
> >      >>>     established in WCAG 2.X.
> >      >>>
> >      >>>     I realise the structure of Silver will be different but the
> >      >>>     testable issues will be largely similar, in whatever
> >     arrangement
> >      >>>     nameing or granularity.
> >      >>>
> >      >>>     Am 18.10.2019 um 13:09 schrieb Abma, J.D. (Jake):
> >      >>>>
> >      >>>>     Think we need some leeway here and there, but keep it very
> >      >>>>     simple, like:
> >      >>>>
> >      >>>>     BASICS:
> >      >>>>
> >      >>>>       * Seems like a simple / plain, 100 point with 60%
> baseline
> >      >>>>         system, might do the trick to keep it clean.
> >      >>>>
> >      >>>>     EXTRA ON TOP:
> >      >>>>
> >      >>>>       * For the AAA like-ish (best practices) you could add
> bonus
> >      >>>>         points to it (clear but limited set!)
> >      >>>>       * And have a sort of severe/ critical issues /
> >      >>>>         Non-Interference musts (subtract points?! clear but
> >     limited
> >      >>>>         set!)
> >      >>>>
> >      >>>>     Result like:
> >      >>>>
> >      >>>>       * Basic score: 73%
> >      >>>>       * Bonus points: 20/100 (namely the following methods:
> >     ... and ...)
> >      >>>>       * Critical issues: NONE
> >      >>>>
> >      >>>>     Cheers!
> >      >>>>     Jake
> >      >>>>
> >
>  ------------------------------------------------------------------------
> >      >>>>     *From:* Detlev Fischer <detlev.fischer@testkreis.de
> >     <mailto:detlev.fischer@testkreis.de>>
> >      >>>>     <mailto:detlev.fischer@testkreis.de
> >     <mailto:detlev.fischer@testkreis.de>>
> >      >>>>     *Sent:* Wednesday, October 16, 2019 1:54 PM
> >      >>>>     *To:* public-silver@w3.org <mailto:public-silver@w3.org>
> >     <mailto:public-silver@w3.org <mailto:public-silver@w3.org>>
> >      >>>>     <public-silver@w3.org <mailto:public-silver@w3.org>>
> >     <mailto:public-silver@w3.org <mailto:public-silver@w3.org>>
> >      >>>>     *Subject:* Re: What if Silver didn't have levels?
> >      >>>>     One problem I see is that 60% (even 75%) sounds like there
> >     would
> >      >>>>     be MANY possibly grave accessibility issues -- when you
> >      >>>>     criteria
> >      >>>>     and best practices to such a site, these won't go away. I
> >     would
> >      >>>>     imagine
> >      >>>>     some sort of minimum conformance baseline should be set
> >      >>>>     independent of
> >      >>>>     extra things - aspects now at AAA - and I find it dubious
> that
> >      >>>>     you would
> >      >>>>     be able to improve one overallscore by these (possibly
> >      >>>>     non-essential)
> >      >>>>
> >      >>>>     Am 16.10.2019 um 13:10 schrieb Alastair Campbell:
> >      >>>>     > If the methods that are currently at WCAG 2.1 AA got you
> to
> >      >>>>     60% (for
> >      >>>>     > example), you’d need to do things at the AAA level & best
> >      >>>>     practices to
> >      >>>>     > score higher.
> >      >>>>
> >      >>>>     --
> >      >>>>     Detlev Fischer
> >      >>>>     Testkreis
> >      >>>>     Werderstr. 34, 20144 Hamburg
> >      >>>>
> >      >>>>     Mobil +49 (0)157 57 57 57 45
> >      >>>>
> >      >>>> http://www.testkreis.de
> >      >>>>     Beratung, Tests und Schulungen für barrierefreie Websites
> >      >>>>
> >      >>>>
> >      >>>>
> >       -----------------------------------------------------------------
> >      >>>>     ATTENTION:
> >      >>>>     The information in this e-mail is confidential and only
> >     meant for the intended recipient. If you are not the intended
> >     recipient, don't use or disclose it in any way. Please let the
> >     sender know and delete the message immediately.
> >      >>>>
> >       -----------------------------------------------------------------
> >      >>>
> >      >>>     --
> >      >>>     Detlev Fischer
> >      >>>     Testkreis
> >      >>>     Werderstr. 34, 20144 Hamburg
> >      >>>
> >      >>>     Mobil +49 (0)157 57 57 57 45
> >      >>>
> >      >>> http://www.testkreis.de
> >      >>>     Beratung, Tests und Schulungen für barrierefreie Websites
> >      >>>
> >       -----------------------------------------------------------------
> >      >>>     ATTENTION:
> >      >>>     The information in this e-mail is confidential and only
> >     meant for the intended recipient. If you are not the intended
> >     recipient, don't use or disclose it in any way. Please let the
> >     sender know and delete the message immediately.
> >      >>>
> >       -----------------------------------------------------------------
> >      >>
> >      >>     --
> >      >>     Detlev Fischer
> >      >>     Testkreis
> >      >>     Werderstr. 34, 20144 Hamburg
> >      >>
> >      >>     Mobil +49 (0)157 57 57 57 45
> >      >>
> >      >> http://www.testkreis.de
> >      >>     Beratung, Tests und Schulungen für barrierefreie Websites
> >      >>
> >       -----------------------------------------------------------------
> >      >>     ATTENTION:
> >      >>     The information in this e-mail is confidential and only
> >     meant for the intended recipient. If you are not the intended
> >     recipient, don't use or disclose it in any way. Please let the
> >     sender know and delete the message immediately.
> >      >>
> >       -----------------------------------------------------------------
> >      >
> >      >     --
> >      >     Detlev Fischer
> >      >     Testkreis
> >      >     Werderstr. 34, 20144 Hamburg
> >      >
> >      >     Mobil +49 (0)157 57 57 57 45
> >      >
> >      > http://www.testkreis.de
> >      >     Beratung, Tests und Schulungen für barrierefreie Websites
> >      >
> >
> >     --
> >     Director @TetraLogical
> >
> >
> >
> > --
> > *​John Foliot* | Principal Accessibility Strategist | W3C AC
> Representative
> > Deque Systems - Accessibility for Good
> > deque.com <http://deque.com/>
> >
>
> --
> Director @TetraLogical
>

--
*​John Foliot* | Principal Accessibility Strategist | W3C AC Representative
Deque Systems - Accessibility for Good
deque.com
```
Received on Sunday, 20 October 2019 14:59:11 UTC

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