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More on 508 Refresh

From: Wayne Dick <waynedick@knowbility.org>
Date: Wed, 18 Feb 2015 19:19:19 -0800
Message-ID: <CAC9gL76jm7nMCV_pD_nyz_e++qmDGMvyfCdsT4S_9b34sDE2xQ@mail.gmail.com>
To: WAI Interest Group <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
here are a few key point to not in my article:

First there is a double standard regarding word wrapping. Neilson, Normal
and almost everyone who study human factors agree that horizontal practice
is a worst practice in web authoring. When people need word wrapping to
support large print, then it is a luxury, Level AAA.  Lainey Feingold told
me that she will not take a case if the vendor passes WCAG Level AA. She
just cannot win.  So word wrapping at Level AAA is just useless, as I think
it was intended.

There have been extensive studies and their results are consistent.  Users
find a need to horizontal scroll one of the most disruptive activities
possible.  Of curse we are speaking of left to right languages. Legge and
many other reading experts have studied horizontal scrolling and its effect
on reading.  People read slower and they cannot find items well.  I will
not give my references here.  When I testify in San Diego I will give a
complete bibliography.  My graduate students will be working to help me
compile this material.  There is no evidence that shows horizontal
scrolling improves reading speed or comprehension.

Now let us be precise.  Most people with low vision read in a range of
20-48 point font.  A point is measured using the Adobe standard 1/72". One
of the problems with 1.4.4 and 1.4.8 is that they do not specify 200% of
what size. That is just too sloppy to be therapeutic.   Many people who
read visually use up to 60 point, that is 5/6".  Now these sizes are not
useful on cell phones or small tablets.  Although, I use 24 point on my
Dell Venue 8, and I can read holding it up close.  However, it is a serious
struggle. My laptop is the real device I carry on the bus. Remember, most
of us spend lots of time on the bus so it is really important to have a
portable reading device.  A rule of thumb is that, a laptop is our tablet
and a desktop is like a laptop. I use a 13" tablet and a dual screen
desktop with a 23" and 27" monitor.

People who need enlargement usually choose 13" screens and up.  Now, most
screens these days are really close to 30/60/90 triangles if you look at
the triangle subtended by the diagonal.  So to compute point size is easy.
If the diagonal is 13" and the resolution is 1600/900, the number of pixels
per point is p=(900/((1/2)*13))/72.  So 48 pt = p*48px. In our case that is
48pt = 92px.  Since our page is 900 pixels high, we can fit about six lines
on a page with 1.5 spacing.  Width is a little narrower than height in
general, but lets just say it is 92px again.  The width is 1600 px.  So we
can fit in about 17 characters or 3 words.  That means we can get 6*3=18
words on a page.  That is a good chunk and well worth arranging that way.
With 60 point that number goes down, but the arrangement is still
significantly better than a zoomed image. At 36 point we get more like 8
lines and 4 words per line.  A 32 word page is very readable.

Now the real show stopper in the 508 Refresh is the loss of 1194.22(d):
Documents shall be organized so they are readable without requiring an
associated style sheet.  WCAG 2.0 killed this and provided no replacement.
Early in the process I thought 1.3.1 was the replacement, but WCAG WG is
very clear that flexible data does not include visual flexibility.

This paragraph protected us.  We could always restyle a page.  Word
wrapping was never a problem with a site that met 1194.22(d).  Just strip
the style and restyle or just enlarge.  Either way word wrapping was not a
problem.  Without this protection, the 508 Refresh is empty for low vision.

Screen magnification is 1970s technology. It never worked well.  I've
probably read as many books with horizontal scrolling as anyone in the
world.  You don't get promoted to professor without reading, and in science
there is no other choice but to use magnification.

If 508 rally omits the ability to strip author style and provide reasonable
restructuring, then I will do everything I can to slow it down.  508 cannot
erase the gains low vision made in reading as a result of the current 508.
Right now I am gathering support of some important lobbies.

Sincerely Wayne Dick

I have used all of these sizes depending on my task at hand and my level of
fatigue.  Oh, did I mention, horizontal scrolling is really fatiguing. It
requires a greater cognitive load that continuous reading with word
wrapping.  Once again there is a mountain of data available on this finding.
Received on Thursday, 19 February 2015 03:19:47 UTC

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