RE: The two models of accessibility

If it is just waffle then we are both in trouble as I agree with most (if not 
all) of what you are saying. <grin>

I came across this article  yesterday 
from Shawn Lawton Henry, referenced from here (please 
note the comments at the end about the pdf thing).

It seems to be talking about the same issue(s) again from a slightly different 

I got the link to the BBCi accessibility study from the newsletter from the 
RNIB that I find really good.


On Thursday, April 03, 2003 10:00 PM, Isofarro 
[] wrote:
> Graham,
> (Firstly, thanks for the links to the BBCi accessibility study - they will
> come in handy for me trying to write a web development guide)
> > If I can try to restate to gain clarification you are saying that
> accessibility
> > is basically a 2 step process.
> There are two "actions" involved, but I'm not sure whether there is a worthy
> checkpoint at the end of the first "step" (the automated check). Is a
> website accessible if it passes a AccessValet/Bobby/CynthiaSays test? I
> don't think we can meaningfully separate the two actions and provide a
> halfway point. I would rather suggest doing both steps simultaneously, since
> there's nothing to be gained by separating them out.
> Lets take an often seen example (HTML 4):
> <img src="image15.gif" height="100" width="75" alt="image15.gif">
> This would pass an automated check since there is an alt attribute and it
> contains alternative text. Is it accessible though? I would say no, purely
> because the alt text does not provide an alternative textual representation
> of the image (unless the graphic that displays the words image15.gif).
> > 1. Check with the automated tools.
> > 2. Check (by an accessibility expert) those things that can't be checked
> with
> > the automated tools.
> May I make a suggestion (sorry to nit-pick) - that we replace the term
> "accessibility expert" (in this context) with the term "human being" or "web
> author" or "web designer". I'm no accessibility expert, although there are
> many people on this mailing list that can claim this, yet following a WCAG
> checklist and understanding the guidelines does not require an accessibility
> expert.
> This does not mean that there is no place for an accessibility expert, since
> they provide a very useful and important role - they build on the WCAG both
> by pointing out its deficiencies, and offering alternative solutions. I see
> the WCAG as an understanding of accessibility issues and best practice so
> far. I fully expect it to be a living document that grows along with our
> understanding of accessibility issues. As new ideas are generated,
> challenged and proven, they are added to the WCAG. That's the vital role for
> accessibility experts - to see beyond the WCAG, address its weaknesses.
> > then usability is built upon that base.
> Usability can be built on any base - accessible or inaccessible. I'd like to
> believe that accessibility makes usability changes easier.
> > I guess that we are back to definitions again.
> >
> > I would class 1 and 2 together to mean 'Technically Accessible' although I
> > understand that I would probably be in a minority here. Most people would
> > probably class those as 'Accessible'
> I would classify the above as being "Generally Accessible according to
> WCAG", with the relevant A, AA, or AAA conformance. It may not be fully
> accessible, this is where an accessibility expert certainly helps - when you
> need accessibility above and beyond WCAG.
> You have a valuable point that is important to make, and needs to be made as
> often and as loudly as possible. Passing an automated accessibility checker
> does not guarantee that a website is accessible. The automation is there to
> reduce the human effort required to check accessibility issues against WCAG.
> Its a complements human effort, but does not fully replace.
> Usability builds onto a website, whether it is accessible or not (as Lois
> Wakeman's analogy neatly captures).
> I guess the quirk we face is the "embrace and extend" of usability experts
> in leveraging accessibility for their intended purposes - this is beneficial
> for visitors with disabilities, since they are looking at devices in use by
> people with disabilities (for example Nielsen's "Beyond ALT Text"). I fully
> believe in catering for all audiences with accessible content, but not just
> the disabled. I'd like to think that "structure- and semantic-aware client
> tools" are part of the group benefitting from accessibility - that can
> automate many of the dull repetitive web tasks we seem to manually labour
> through each and every day (catch up on daily reads such as news/blogs,
> check a web-based mail service, evaluate the results of a search).
> With usability, then, we need to make sure that it doesn't come at the cost
> of accessibility, but as a complement of accessibility. I'm not sure that
> there's a consistent logical progression from accessibility to usability. At
> some stage we'll probably hit a trade-off decision - usability or
> accessibility. Which factor takes preference is probably largely dependant
> on the situation.
> (I'm in two minds in sending this, if it is just waffle like one part of my
> brain tells me, my apologies).
> Mike

Received on Thursday, 3 April 2003 16:40:00 UTC