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RE: Supplementary document for WCAG 2.1

From: White, Jason J <jjwhite@ets.org>
Date: Fri, 26 May 2017 14:50:22 +0000
To: Gregg C Vanderheiden <greggvan@umd.edu>, "Milliken, Neil" <neil.milliken@atos.net>
CC: David MacDonald <david100@sympatico.ca>, Alastair Campbell <acampbell@nomensa.com>, public-cognitive-a11y-tf <public-cognitive-a11y-tf@w3.org>, "w3c-waI-gl@w3. org" <w3c-wai-gl@w3.org>
Message-ID: <BN6PR07MB34576C1482DD11BB7E8CEACFABFC0@BN6PR07MB3457.namprd07.prod.outlook.com>
I agree with Gregg’s description of the problem, recalling the long, detailed and extensive discussions that took place when we were attempting to improve support for the needs of people with learning, language and cognitive disabilities in WCAG 2.0.

Writing good success criteria is genuinely difficult, and not everything which it is important and useful to do is also amenable to becoming a WCAG requirement.

From: Gregg C Vanderheiden [mailto:greggvan@umd.edu]
Sent: Friday, May 26, 2017 10:29 AM
To: Milliken, Neil <neil.milliken@atos.net>
Cc: David MacDonald <david100@sympatico.ca>; Alastair Campbell <acampbell@nomensa.com>; public-cognitive-a11y-tf <public-cognitive-a11y-tf@w3.org>; w3c-waI-gl@w3. org <w3c-wai-gl@w3.org>
Subject: Re: Supplementary document for WCAG 2.1

Neil we all know that it would be better if everything worked for everyone out of the box.  but it simply is not possible to do.   and for may disabilities what is good for one is not good for another.  even within cognitive, language, and learning disabilities  this is true.    and making something that is infinitely flexible makes it infinitely complicated to configure.

we are working on making auto-personalization easy to lessen this last effect but it is still not solved.

Using AT can be something that is automatic to the user.   Once it is there it is just part of the user agent you are using to view things.    So it is always there and the normal way to do them.

Like wearing glasses instead of having everything in larger print.   Even though wearing glasses is a pain.

the problem we have is that we have precious little good AT for cognitive.  Or to say it more accurately, we have good AT for precious little types and degrees of cognitive, language, and learning disabilities.

But if we made all pages directly accessible by people who are blind -  it would not work well.   And screen readers by the way are a real pain.   and many people who are blind find them very hard or impossible to use.

So David was not saying ‘don’t put access for cognitive, language, and learning disabilities in WCAG  (he has long been a proponent — as have I by the way).   It is just that it is REALLY hard to find things what can qualify  - as people now find — and that there is SO MUCH more that needs to be done than can be handled by saying “every page must do this”

This is true for all disabilities by the way — but even more so for cognitive, language, and learning disabilities than any other.

There is LOT of provisions for cognitive, language, and learning disabilities  in WCAG 2.0.     That is not the problem.   the problem is that what is there only addresses part of the problem for some of the users.   there is SO MUCH MORE NEEDED.

unfortunately there is and always will be MUCH MORE NEEDED than EVER CAN BE REDUCED TO TESTABLE REQUIREMENTS  that would BE GENERALLY APPLICABLE  to all websites.

And unless both of those (and the other SC requirements are met  we cannot REQUIRE that they be done ON ALL WEBSITES.

  *   we CAN create a document with SC that are NOT TESTABLE — but then it can NEVER BE REQUIRED
  *   we CAN create a document with SC that are NOT APPLICABLE EVERYWHERE   but then they cannot be “REQUIRED FOR ALL WEBSITES".

WE CAN WISH IT WEREN’T SO   — but we can’t make it not so…

I am as frustrated as anyone — except those that must deal with this reality every day.  for them the frustration is immensely greater.

but lets not have frustration at facts - blurr our vision.    or we will not see clearly that which we can do.  or we will poison the the things that can be there — with things that can’t - and they will not take any of it up and use it.  they won’t be able to.


Gregg C Vanderheiden

On May 26, 2017, at 2:19 AM, Milliken, Neil <neil.milliken@atos.net<mailto:neil.milliken@atos.net>> wrote:


Speaking as a person with a cognitive disability I don't agree. Assistive technologies like speech recognition and text to speech when I need it are very useful but a pain and many of the issues that I and millions of others face daily could be solved without the need to use AT.

If you add an AT extra layer into the mix you frequently add to the cognitive load certainly at the beginning - the learning curve is can appear cliff-like for some users with cognitive disabilities which is why it's so critically important to address the issues at source and not try and sticking plaster it with AT. Furthermore there is plenty of evidence of abandonment of AT.

Make better products, design clearer websites don't push people to adopt extra tools to deal with what is essentially poor design.

Kind regards,

Neil Milliken
Head of Accessibility & Digital Inclusion
M: 07812325386<tel:07812325386>
E: Neil.Milliken@atos.net<mailto:Neil.Milliken@atos.net>



On 26 May 2017, at 03:33, Gregg C Vanderheiden <greggvan@umd.edu<mailto:greggvan@umd.edu>> wrote:


Gregg C Vanderheiden

On May 25, 2017, at 9:02 AM, David MacDonald <david100@sympatico.ca<mailto:david100@sympatico.ca>> wrote:

To me the biggest gap in getting the needs met for people with Cognitive disabilities is a killer AT. Early in computing innovative people serving the blind rolled up their sleeves and did the hard work necessary to invent a technology that revolutionizes the lives of people with disabilities. Building on that partnership, WCAG 1.0 provided guidance to authors to optimize the use of screen readers on the web.

We can bring the plumbing to the door, as we tried to do in WCAG 2, http://davidmacd.com/blog/wcag-for-low-vision-cognitive-disabilites.html

but I think ultimately the break through for people with Cognitive disabilities will be software that analyses language, and UI's and delivers content in a way that is simplified or specialized, we can piggy back on that with requirements that optimize the use of this AT on the web. Unfortunately, this is speculation right now, and unlike 1998 when there was 10 years of screen reader history, we have no history of this theoretical AT.

Inventors, where are you? and where have you been for 25 years?

David MacDonald

CanAdapt Solutions Inc.
Tel:  613.235.4902

  Adapting the web to all users
            Including those with disabilities

If you are not the intended recipient, please review our privacy policy<http://www.davidmacd.com/disclaimer.html>

On Thu, May 25, 2017 at 7:29 AM, Alastair Campbell <acampbell@nomensa.com<mailto:acampbell@nomensa.com>> wrote:
Gregg wrote:
> if there are supplemental docs — I think that each should focus on ONE aspect -  and not be written anything like WCAG  (or else it will be very confusing and not very useful or used)
> the supplement should NOT be   WCAG without testability.   Because there is no use for that.

I disagree with that assumption, but perhaps we are talking along different lines. Let’s start with some agreements and see where we diverge:

1. Given how difficult it is to create testable criteria for things we know improve the experience for people with cognitive issues, do we agree that *something* beyond WCAG 2.1 is needed?

Lisa has been clear that she believes putting things at AAA means they might as well not be there. I somewhat disagree, but see where that comes from and it removes a possible approach.

2. If we agree we need something, does that something need to be before Silver? I think most people would agree it does.

3. If we need something in the WCAG 2.1 timeframe, what form does it take?

In my mind the motivation / aim is to create something for organisations which have a public service mandate (e.g. Governments, medium-large corporates etc.) so they can do more to make things accessible for more people.

These are organisations where “reasonable effort” could include usability testing, following a UCD process, and getting external WCAG compliance testing etc. Compared to small and/or niche organisations where such effort would be unreasonable (but they should still be able meet WCAG 2.1 by improving their content in accordance with the 2.1 SCs).

In the extended guidance we could include things which use terms like “When appropriate…”, e.g:

For example, something I include in training but isn’t covered by WCAG is making it apparent that you’ve performed an action when the reaction is spatially separated (e.g. you click “add to basket”, and the only thing that changes is a number in the top-right of the screen).

I hadn’t even considered putting that forward as an SC, partly because of testability concerns, and partly because it usually gets caught in (general) usability testing anyway.

However, with looser language it would be quite feasible to include that aspect, and things like Plain language (avoid jargon, double-negatives etc.) without having to worry about word lists.

I think it should avoid ‘conformance’ language, but it makes sense to use a structure that mirrors POUR, has guidelines, and the next level down would be something like heuristics instead of SCs.

If that is framed as something for organisations to follow when they have sufficient resource and a mandate to do so (e.g. for Government institutions), then it could be very useful.

Kind regards,


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Received on Friday, 26 May 2017 14:51:19 UTC

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