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RE: International Web Access Guidelines “Ineffective”, PhD thesis Claims

From: Steve Green <steve.green@testpartners.co.uk>
Date: Sat, 1 Jun 2013 18:52:47 +0000
To: "w3c-wai-ig@w3.org" <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Message-ID: <6BDDA23E03987E4C90F4F8B4127D3B7A149F1DD8@THHSLE14MBX1.hslive.net>
It’s good that this sort of research is being done, but I seriously question the findings. I have skim-read the 300-page thesis and a couple of things jump out.


1.       Several of the common problems that the participants encountered are usability issues that affect everyone, so they will not (and should not) be covered by the WCAG. Two such examples are information architecture and incomplete site search indexing.


2.       The author claims there was “no significant relationship between user-based measures of accessibility and most measures based on technical guidelines”, yet after eliminating the usability issues virtually every accessibility issue described in the report is covered by a WCAG requirement. This raises a question about the quality of the technical testing and the author’s level of understanding of the WCAG success criteria.

I disagree with the recommendation of “moving away from the technical conformance approach of web accessibility”. Technical conformance is a prerequisite for good accessibility, albeit I agree it is not sufficient. I have always advocated user testing but it is pointless unless the website is already close to conformance with WCAG level AA (12 of the 16 websites in the study did not even meet level A).

The 100+ hours of video recordings would be a wonderful resource if it was publicly available. I wish I had time to reassess them and re-do the technical testing because I suspect I would come to a rather different conclusion.

Steve Green
Managing Director
Test Partners Ltd

From: Jorge Fernandes [mailto:jorge.f@netcabo.pt]
Sent: 01 June 2013 18:11
To: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
Subject: International Web Access Guidelines “Ineffective”, PhD thesis Claims

A recent published PhD thesis of York University [1] wrote the follow statement in the abstract:

"Comparisons between user problems and WCAG 1.0 and WCAG 2.0 did not show any significant relationship between user-based measures of accessibility and most measures based on technical guidelines."

I have difficulty mostly to understand what this kind of statements means.

- it's means that there aren't significative relationship between WCAG and user problems? or;
- it's means that there aren't significative relationship between WCAG and the way we are trying to measure the WCAG?

[1]
Freire, André Pimenta. (2012). Disabled people and the Web: User-based measurement of accessibility. PhD thesis, University of York.
http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/3873/


Jorge Fernandes

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 universalaccess.blogspot.com<http://universalaccess.blogspot.com>

Received on Saturday, 1 June 2013 18:54:00 UTC

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