Re: [Conformance] Third Party Draft Updated

>  Things are accessible or they are not. There's no middle ground.

Am I the only one who is becoming increasingly concerned that we're
straying into absolutist territory here?

Sure, "Things are accessible or they are not..." will be true for
individual users, with specific types of needs and requirements on a
by-person basis, but the expression "*Don't let perfect become the enemy of
good*" keeps rattling around in my head.

In over 20 years of working in this space, the one thing I know for certain
is that you cannot make content 100% accessible for everyone - it's simply
impossible to achieve at scale. There are even instances where
accommodating one disability type actually creates barriers and additional
hardships for other users. (We need only look at how the Silver Community
Group made extensive use of Google Docs, in an effort to support users with
cognitive disabilities, but at the expense of daily screen reader users who
struggle with Google Docs. Should the W3C have been "forbidden" to use
Google Docs because they aren't 100% accessible to all users? In Silver,
the question was do we support Coga users or Blind users - there was no
solution that was fully accessible to both user-groups. I believe the final
decision was based on the fact that the workaround for non-sighted users
was less onerous than the workaround for users with cognitive disabilities
- but the important point was that we had to make a choice, and in doing so
elevated one user group over the other and ended up using a 3rd-party tool
that was not fully 'conformant'.)

> Both for reasons of scale, as well as the nature of the some inaccessible
services, and in some cases controlling law, providing an accessible
alternative may not be possible.

Indeed, and in fact the issue of scale is often at the heart of this topic.
As Peter noted, a website like YouTube has over 500 videos uploaded *EVEY
MINUTE*, and to suggest that YouTube MUST enforce captions and audio
descriptions for each of those uploads is simply unworkable - it isn't
going to happen, no matter how much we wish it otherwise. At best, all we
can expect from a site like YouTube is that their platform *supports* the
provisioning (uploading) of captions AND audio descriptions by the
contributor, and a player that supports the delivery of that accomodation
material for the end users.

YouTube is also another interesting case, in that Google, who by-and-large
*DO* try and take accessibility seriously, have been providing AI
(automatically) generated captions for some time now. The quality of those
captions varies all over the place however, from "pretty good" to
"absolutely outrageous" (and everywhere in between). But by attempting to
provide some form of captions (far from perfect but better than nothing)
for non-hearing users, the 'mangled' captions generated may actually create
more of a barrier for users with learning and language barriers. So, do we
also insist that captions MUST be provided, and that they MUST also be 100%
accurate? (or do we insist only that *WHEN* captions are provided, they
must always be accurate, or that no matter what, all videos MUST have
captions - never mind the accuracy? If you cannot have both, which is more

I'm not trying to pick on Google here (as I recognize both of my examples
are using Google products), but they are also both examples of the scale
problem that is seemingly being overlooked here (I could also point to the
auto-generated text alternatives in Facebook, which also often has
less-than-useful texts).

> I am concerned about an approach to conformance for third-party content
that allows WCAG conformance for inaccessible/not fully accessible content
and services. This is counter to the user-first aims of WCAG 3.

Finally, while there does seem to be consensus around moving towards a
Good, Better, Best model (Gold, Silver, Bronze) I find it curious that
there is intrangency when we start to look at why a site may only be "Good"
(perhaps because the 3rd-party content is dragging down the score?) If we
accept that a "site" can be "Bronze", then are we not explicitly accepting
that the site is less than perfect, whether through "1st party
contributions" or "3rd party contributions"?


On Tue, Jun 22, 2021 at 7:07 AM Patrick H. Lauke <>

> On 22/06/2021 08:47, Laura Carlson wrote:
> > Photo sharing sites should, in fact, require that meaningful alt text
> > accompany images that are uploaded. The Authoring Tool Accessibility
> > Guidelines 2.0 require that such sites prompt users for that content.
> > If they prompted for and stored that content from the user, they'd be
> > able to insert meaningful alt text where it is required.
> >
> How do you force users to enter appropriate alternative text? Even if
> you make a field like that mandatory, how do you enforce that they don't
> just put a single character, or something generic like "image", or the
> filename ("DSC11042.jpg") in there just to get past the requirement and
> being able to submit their photo? Particularly, you can't then blame the
> platform provider if these users don't do it right. That would be
> untenable, and the result would more likely be that sites will just stop
> taking in user-generated content if it means *they* as a platform
> provider are made liable.
> > When user generated content is a barrier to accessibility, it is a
> > barrier period. Putting that fact in an accessibility statement won't
> > make it conforming. It could inform people with disabilities to avoid
> > that content IF the admission of the non-conformance is made prior
> > to/along with them ever encountering the inaccessible content. But it
> > won't make it conforming.
> P
> --
> Patrick H. Lauke
> |
> |
> twitter: @patrick_h_lauke | skype: patrick_h_lauke

*John Foliot* | Senior Industry Specialist, Digital Accessibility

"I made this so long because I did not have time to make it shorter." -
Pascal "links go places, buttons do things"

Received on Tuesday, 22 June 2021 13:26:28 UTC