Re: Does anyone else agree with my perspective - was Re: "we should not allow user testing in exceptions" (was Re: clarifing the debate)

I just want to explain the difference between requiring user testing for conformance (as resolved) and allowing user testing for exceptions

Requiring user testing for conformance: User testing is probably the gold standard (The best thing to do) - especially for people with cognitive disabilities. However, requiring it puts a huge burden on people making small web sites and we want everyone to be able to conform - even web sites made by a student in their spare time. Requiring user testing would prevent that. So we make a bunch of clear instructions (SCs) for them to follow, and they can make their content usable by people with disabilities.

Allowing user testing for exceptions is something different. Here people have thought of something somewhat better then our general instructions. They tested it and it works. Allowing them to  go with their wording makes sense. They can add some information about their user testing in their accessibility statement, and they should hold on to their records incase there is ever a complaint. It adds some flexibility to our guidelines and I think we all agree successful user testing is often the best path to a good user experience.

Allowing user testing for exception in no way prevents the small web developer form achieving conformance or burdens them with the added expense of user testing, which i think was the main reason we voted against it. It just gives more flexibility and better accessibility.

All the best

Lisa Seeman

LinkedIn, Twitter

---- On Thu, 16 Feb 2017 15:18:34 +0200 Andrew Kirkpatrick<> wrote ---- 

 To your last point, there was strong support on the WG to emphasize the importance of user studies in WCAG 2.1, so we will definitely want to do that and will appreciate any help you and others on the group can provide with the wording.
 Andrew Kirkpatrick
 Group Product Manager, Standards and Accessibility
   From: "McSorley, Jan" <>
 Date: Thursday, February 16, 2017 at 06:47
 To: "" <>
 Cc: Joshue O Connor <>, John Foliot <>, WCAG <>
 Subject: Re: Does anyone else agree with my perspective - was Re: "we should not allow user testing in exceptions" (was Re: clarifing the debate)
 Resent-From: WCAG <>
 Resent-Date: Thursday, February 16, 2017 at 06:48
    Hi Lisa,
 I share your concerns and have seen in practice that user studies are often not used to find barriers that cannot be found in other ways.  As an example, I have been told that user studies are not needed because "we're using Twitter Bootstrap and millions of people use Twitter so it must be accessible."  In short, there are a lot of assumptions made about accessibility and usability by people who are not familiar with disabilities. Just because we don't have an "easy" way of testing something doesn't mean that it doesn't need to be tested.
 Paragraph 61 of the special report of 17th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council states that "...even where Internet connection is available, disadvantaged groups, such as persons with disabilities and persons belonging to minority groups, often face barriers to accessing the Internet in a way that is meaningful, relevant and useful to them in their daily lives.“  While I understand that there are limits to what the W3C can do, I also believe that the ultimate goal is to help people with disabilities have meaningful, relevant and useful access to information and I think we need to take the time to make sure we carefully word the importance of user studies, even if it doesn't make it in as a requirement.
      Jan McSorley
  VP, Accessibility
 Psychometrics and Testing Services
   400 Center Ridge Drive, Suite E
 Austin, TX  78753
   M - (512) 673-9569
   Twitter: @Jan_McSorley
 Skype:  jan.mcsorley  
  Learn more at  
 We put a man on the moon in the 1960's ... surely we can make information technology fully accessible to people with disabilities.  It can be done ... it must be done ... it will be done!
 On Wed, Feb 15, 2017 at 1:20 PM, lisa.seeman  <> wrote:
    Hi folks At the risk of shooting my self in the foot but ... to enable us to move on
 Does anyone else see this as an issue. If I am the only one with a problem with it, then I will conseed to consensus, rewrite the exceptions that depend on it,  and we can move on.
 All the best
 Lisa Seeman
 LinkedIn, Twitter
 ---- On Wed, 15 Feb 2017 18:24:07 +0200 Joshue O Connor<> wrote ---- 
   Hi John,
 Fair point or not, I don't at this point feel the need to go thru another CFC that allows or does not allow user testing in situation x, or to limit it under exception y. I'm not fully clear on the implication of doing such a thing, nor am I clear on the reason why we might. You seem to be, which is cool :-)
 My main concern at the moment, is that we cannot make user testing a requirement in 2.1. End of story. However, I don't want to wrangle our spec to stop people from testing or imply that that cannot do it under situation A or B. People can test all they like, in any situation, if they wish to as far as I'm concerned.
 As I stated - at the moment, I feel I just don't fully grok some of the points being made here but even with that aside - the original CFC was clear IMO.
    John Foliot
  15 February 2017 at 15:58
 Lisa has a fair point. 
 Can I request that a second CfC go out that explicitly states that "we should not allow user testing in exceptions" - for the same reasons that user-testing for conformance was rejected? 
 This way we can be sure that the consensus has been recorded properly and accurately, and everyone understands what they are registering their position on.
                 John Foliot
 Principal Accessibility Strategist
 Deque Systems Inc.
 Advancing the mission of digital accessibility and inclusion
 Joshue O Connor
 Director | 

Received on Thursday, 16 February 2017 15:28:58 UTC