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Re: Low Vision and COGA should Drop Support for WCAG 2.1 if the AG WG is not willing make real change.

From: Michael Pluke <Mike.Pluke@castle-consult.com>
Date: Thu, 6 Apr 2017 16:11:09 +0000
To: GLWAI Guidelines WG org <w3c-wai-gl@w3.org>, Wayne Dick <wayneedick@gmail.com>
Message-ID: <64A5CC9BDCD67BA7.617D6BB4-857E-4026-AF02-0040770EA070@mail.outlook.com>
If this debate continues, which I wish it would not, then we must keep a sense of perspective. We shouldn't be making statements like "State explicitly that Low vision and Cognitive disabilities are not included" in WCAG 2.0 (or 2.1).

When we created the European EN 301 549 standard we had a "Functional Performance Statement" (FPS) titled "Usage with limited cognition" which expressed the general need to meet the needs of persons with cognitive disabilities. To help people interpret this we created a table that mapped WCAG 2.0 SCs to these FPSs. Therefore, long before this controversy exploded we identified 17 SCs that directly supported the needs of people with cognitive disabilities and a further 15 that provided some secondary benefits. Although this mapping was not a mandatory part of the standard, and therefore it may have received less scrutiny, nobody challenged this mapping during the extensive reviewing of the standard. The identification of which SCs were beneficial was largely done by looking at "Understanding WCAG" statements that explained how an SC was beneficial.

On this basis, saying that cognitive disabilities are not included in WCAG 2.0 is very badly misleading.

I'm sure that there is universal acceptance that there will be significant accessibility barriers that people with Low Vision and Cognitive Disabilities will still encounter, after WCAG 2.1 is completed. Knowing this is one thing, being able to draft SCs that solve these issues is a much more challenging task. However abandoning 2.1, which should enhance overall accessibility for a wide range of users, would benefit precisely nobody.

Currently very many countries around the world incorporate WCAG 2.0 into their laws in order to ensure that public sector websites meet the minimum level of accessibility that WCAG 2.0 should guarantee. At least in Europe, there is a desire to incorporate WCAG 2.1 into the law related to public sector websites and mobile applications. If WCAG 2.1 included SCs that fail to adhere to the agreed (and well understood and accepted) criteria that the text of an SC must meet, I am certain that this would lead to a rejection of WCAG 2.1 and a reversion to WCAG 2.0. Again, as I said in my earlier email, who is going to benefit from that - precisely nobody.

If we are totally unable to create enough LV and COGA SCs that meet the necessary criteria, then we may need to see how the good guidance that we have already identified can be packaged in a form that may be able to influence the design of content that is more LV and COGA friendly. But this would be in addition to WCAG 2.1, not instead of. In Europe we have already created a guidelines document related to COGA and ISO are also heading towards their own guidance standard for COGA.


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From: Wayne Dick <wayneedick@gmail.com<mailto:wayneedick@gmail.com>>
Sent: Wednesday, April 5, 2017 11:51 pm
Subject: Low Vision and COGA should Drop Support for WCAG 2.1 if the AG WG is not willing make real change.
To: GLWAI Guidelines WG org <w3c-wai-gl@w3.org<mailto:w3c-wai-gl@w3.org>>

The assumptions of WCAG 2.0 cannot support low vision or cognitive disabilities in ways essential to access.  A page can pass WCAG 2.0 at level AAA and fail to be usable by people with low vision and cognitive disabilities.

WCAG 2.0 did worse than nothing for low vision and cognitive disabilities. It created the illusion that we were helped when we were being left out. This may be hard to accept if you worked hard on WCAG 2.0. However, it is time to accept this fact and start solving the problem.

There is no point of 2.1 continuing the false illusion that it provides meaningful help, when it does not.

Low vision needs a few fundamental things. Personalization of text: font-family, spacing, color. The precise limits are these: any font family the user chooses, spacing that has been proven to be useful, and 16M colors. We need ability to enlarge significantly at least  400% with word wrapping. We need single column access. That is what is needed. If the WCAG 2.0 assumptions cannot support this need then we need to change the assumptions.

I am sure there are similar bedrock issues for Cognitive Disabilities.

The basic idea of accessibility for a disability is that a person with the disability can use the resource. Right now WCAG does not support access for the majority of people with visual disabilities and most people with cognitive disabilities. That is just a fact. COGA and LVTF have documented this decisively.

‚ÄčIf the AG cannot change some WCAG 2.0 assumptions then would the W3C just stop claiming they make guidelines that provide access to people with disabilities when it fails to do so. Just say the WAI gives guidance on how to help some disabilities‚Äč. State explicitly that Low vision and Cognitive disabilities are not included.

With that admission, people with these disabilities could then proceed to devise guidelines that would help us without the interference of WAI.

Right now WAI is harming these disabilities because developers and legislators believe that if they follow the WCAG guidelines than most disabilities are covered. This is false. Low Vision and Cognitive Disabilities are not covered.

The WAI just failed these disabilities. Live with it. WAI can do something about it, live in denial, or leave the field to people who know how to help.

Received on Thursday, 6 April 2017 16:11:46 UTC

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