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Re: Seeking thoughts on real world application of SC 1.4.2 Audio Control on iOS

From: Gregg Vanderheiden <gv@trace.wisc.edu>
Date: Thu, 23 May 2013 00:59:29 -0400
Cc: "public-wcag2ict-tf@w3.org Force" <public-wcag2ict-tf@w3.org>
Message-Id: <BC7D6661-0A16-43D4-A426-B6F2C0B17527@trace.wisc.edu>
To: Peter Korn <peter.korn@oracle.com>

Gregg Vanderheiden Ph.D.

On May 22, 2013, at 8:16 PM, Peter Korn <peter.korn@oracle.com> wrote:

> Hi gang,
> For a (growing?) number of our success criteria, the underlying environment/platform provides support such that it is (no longer) necessary for the application to do anything special.  For example, it is no longer necessary for an application to be self-enlarging to meet SC 1.4.4 Resize Text, since virtually every current version of every browser will do this.  It is only necessary to not be incompatible with that browser feature.

GV2: Actually, this is not a recent development.   This was true before WCAG even went to last call the first time  (two years before it was adopted) -- and in fact was a condition for accepting that SC at level AA.   So this isn't a recent thing that changed since WCAG was released. 
> Thinking now about SC 1.4.2 Audio Control, specifically on iOS, I wonder if we may be in a similar situation.  When I am listening to audio on my iPhone (e.g. listening to a podcast or music), and I use VoiceOver to interact with the phone, while VoiceOver is speaking, it lowers the volume of whatever is playing so that VoiceOver's speech is clearly intelligible.  I haven't measured, but the volume difference may be as great as the 20 dB difference specified by the AAA SC 1.4.7 Low or No Background Audio.

GV2:  Correct.   And back when WCAG was done this was true of a few applications.  But then and now, the success criterion was needed because it is not always true.   And it is important that, when it is not true, there is another away to achieve this.   At some point in the future when all popular platforms allow this  then it will be something that authors will no longer need to do.   The success criteria were carefully worded so that this would happen.

Now the question arises as to why the SC 1.4.4 (Large Text) was included in WCAG 2.0 back in 2006 if ZOOM would satisfy this success criterion.     The answer is twofold.
1) because it would prevent someone from doing something (intentional or unintentional) to defeat the ZOOM.
2) but most importantly - because it would bring to peoples attention (at level AA) that this was an important issue --- and to provide a place to attach advisory techniques that went much further than the success criterion in providing guidance on this important topic. 
> So it seems VoiceOver/iOS is addressing the user need behind this SC; though perhaps not addressing it fully...?  I note that, at least in iOS v6.1.4 there doesn't seem to be an option to set the volume level that the "background" audio is lowered to, so the platform doesn't expose the full capability described in Understanding SC 1.4.2.  
> Anyway, I'm curious about the TF's thoughts on this.  Specifically:
> Are we at least close to an analogous situation to SC 1.4.4, where an (iOS) app can rely on the underlying OS to handle the SC?  (of course you would test to ensure compatibility with the feature)

GV2:  we are getting close (but not there) -- for that one platform.  But since web pages are not written to only be viewed on that platform -- and since it isn't on other platforms  -- I don't see that it has any effect on our guidelines. 

Also note that when it was true across platforms for 1.4.4 with zoom -- the group still thought it important to include it.
> Whatever the specific requirements of the SC, have we fundamentally met the user need?  Or does anyone know of specific users for whom the built-in volume-lowering         functionality of VoiceOver on iOS is insufficient
GV2:  since the guidelines are about content across platforms -- what one platform does is not relevant.   We had that issue too back then when Opera had many access features built in but it was only on that platform. 



(we should find a way to capture some of these -- perhaps in a Q&A  or FAQ page on WCAG.   Or put it in Understanding somehow?   

What do people think? 

> Regards,
> Peter
> -- 
> <oracle_sig_logo.gif>
> Peter Korn | Accessibility Principal
> Phone: +1 650 5069522 
> 500 Oracle Parkway | Redwood City, CA 94064 
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Received on Thursday, 23 May 2013 05:00:09 UTC

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