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Gallery - Issues re Usability...

From: Alistair Garrison <alistair.garrison@accessinmind.com>
Date: Thu, 5 Sep 2002 15:45:09 +0100
Message-ID: <001301c254ea$d5fd1a50$b03386d9@your0xv8v0oeap>
To: <w3c-wai-eo@w3.org>

With collective reference to the following 3 fully expanded sentences taken from http://www.w3.org/WAI/EO/Drafts/Gallery#framework: 

'Gallery must be entered through a disclaimer statement which the user must acknowledge (accessibly!), and which includes: notice that the sites chosen are chosen to demonstrate implementation of WCAG 1.0, and inclusion in the Gallery is not an indication of their status with regard to other design criteria, such as usability, etc.' 

'Sites are only included in Gallery which meet the following criteria:  meet at least a WCAG 1.0 Level AA according to the "Evaluating Web Sites" conformance assessment method.'

'Sites are only included in Gallery which meet the following criteria:  have been initially reviewed by two teams, meeting WAI's description of review team, and whose names and/or organizations remain confidential.' 

The incorporation of the 'Usability testing of accessibility features' within the 'Evaluating Web Sites for Accessibility' document could lead to conflict with the above.

I believe that Conformance Evaluations should contain checks which have, as far as possible, black & white results - in the same way as an experiment is only valid if it can be reproduced exactly elsewhere.  

Usability Testing is not as an exact a science as testing for WCAG 1.0 checkpoint compliance. Remembering, that it is possible for two different people (or teams of people) to have a totally different perspective of what it is for something to be usable - especially if those people (or teams) have different collective experiences, through nationality, culture, disability, exposure to technology, etc... 

Which brings me to the point that unwittingly 'Usability' becomes an inherent factor in choosing web sites for the gallery through its inclusion in the 'Evaluating Web Sites for Accessibility' document (even though the disclaimer says it is not) - and, more importantly, that it becomes 'THE' deciding factor for those sites which conform to all checkpoints prescribed for 'AA' compliance but fair poorly in the 'Usability' test. 

Please let me know you thoughts...


Alistair Garrison - Accessinmind Limited
+44 (0) 207 252 2746
Received on Thursday, 5 September 2002 10:45:15 UTC

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