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Re: 508 Refresh and Reasonable Accommodation for Low Vision

From: Jim Allan <jimallan@tsbvi.edu>
Date: Thu, 19 Feb 2015 12:59:55 -0600
Message-ID: <CA+=z1Wmz+SLjn5KYh1o6AFQDodsRpv++iE=bL9Yp9dDsnTLGeA@mail.gmail.com>
To: info@denisboudreau.org
Cc: Phill Jenkins <pjenkins@us.ibm.com>, WAI Interest Group <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Reading with interest.
Here is the text for
SC 1.4.4 Resize Text: Except for captions and images of text, text can be
resized without assistive technology up to 200 percent without loss of
content or functionality. (Level AA)

to me, causing a user to scroll horizontally is a loss of functionality

On Thu, Feb 19, 2015 at 10:51 AM, <info@denisboudreau.org> wrote:

> Hey list,
> I understand that a lot of good people have spent a lot of their time and
> energy over the past few years trying to push the 508 Refresh to the
> finish line. I also understand that a lot of good people are also
> tirelessly dedicating a lot of their time and energy trying to make WCAG
> 2.0 the best standard they can. So, as respectfully as I can put it…
> On Feb 18, 2015, at 1:04 PM, Phill Jenkins <pjenkins@us.ibm.com> wrote:
> > But, and this is a big but,
> > now is not the time to slow down the 508 Refreesh.  The accessibility
> > community has been complaining that it has taken too long already, we
> > can't talk out of both sides of our mouths and make demands to slow it
> > down again if we don't have even recommend techniques to offer, survey
> > data, and economic benefits - all required to make a specification (or
> > accessibility standard) a regulation.
> Yes, the 508 refresh has been a long time coming. Yes, we’re all sick &
> tired of waiting for it to finally happen. Yes, it’s easy to complain
> about how long it takes for it to get adopted. Yes, the adoption has
> become some kind of a running joke. But (here’s MY big but)…
> If there are any doubts that the Refresh has really dropped the ball on a
> user group as clearly and widely represented as the low vision users group
> – and I believe it has, then it is our responsibility, as that inclusive,
> caring accessibility community, to do everything we can to either slow the
> process down, so we do come up with proposals/techniques/ideas to fill the
> gaps or minimally, make sure the shortcomings for the low vision community
> are somehow addressed. It’s not a question of talking out of both sides of
> our mouths, it’s simply a matter of being coherent and doing all we can to
> cater to the needs of as many people as we can, because we happen to claim
> that we care about everyone.
> I should not have to remind anyone that there are almost 10 times as many
> people who have low vision than there are people who are blind. Issues
> like the one Wayne is raising about word wrapping and the ability to read
> comfortably are not new. The shortcomings of SC 1.4.4 are many: word
> wrapping and lack of set font sizes are just a few of the things that come
> to mind… proximity of inter-related objects in a page is another. Wayne
> and many others have been fighting for this way before WCAG 2.0 as we know
> it became a recommendation. December of 2015 will mark the 7th anniversary
> of WCAG 2.0. And what has changed since then to improve the way the needs
> of low vision users are handled on the Web?
> Ironically enough, the best solution for the issues experienced by low
> vision users on the Web in the last 7 years has come from the most
> unexpected of places… responsive web design. Low vision users needs are
> very poorly supported by accessibility standards and nothing is ever going
> to change if we don’t do something about it. I’m sure people back in 2008
> thought that WCAG 2.0 was “good enough”, and that it was “a good starting
> point”… And while it is for many, it’s still very much flawed for others.
> Anyone who’s ever thought of cognitive disabilities knows that most
> requirements are on the AAA level, and are quickly dismissed by most
> organizations. The same holds true for low vision users.
> Asking not to slow down the adoption process for the 508 refresh sums up
> to asking the very people who had to put their own needs aside 7 years ago
> to do it again for the greater good of the Refresh. We just have to look
> at how long current 508 has been around to know that whatever will be
> adopted as the Refresh will also be around – and most likely set in stone
> – for a very, very long time. If we don’t get anything in there to help
> low vision users more concretely, then history will just repeat itself and
> my guess is that we’re going to be stuck with those shortcomings for a
> very, very long time too.
> I’d much rather we wait a little more and fix those shortcomings, than
> settle for something we know is already falling short for a lot of people
> before it even gets started.
> I urge us to learn from the lessons of WCAG 2.0 and not repeat the same
> mistakes with the 508 Refresh. We see how difficult it is to even try to
> open discussions about moving Success Criteria from level AAA to level AA
> – I can’t even begin to imagine how complicated it would be to do this in
> the Refresh with the Access Board, seeing how long it’s been just to get
> to this point. If this accessibility community is really as inclusive as
> we pretend it is, then let’s work at providing solutions to fix the gaps
> left for low vision users, so they’re at least addressed and ideally,
> fixed before the 508 Refresh hits us with its awesome goodness.
> Just a thought. And just so we’re clear…
> I think Phil did bring excellent points and a very reasonable approach to
> addressing the problem and I want to thank him for the insights about
> getting new techniques in to address the shortcomings of SC 1.4.4, or even
> new ideas to improve areas that do need improving. I totally agree with
> him that documentation, example techniques and general data need to be
> gathered to build the case for word wrapping so low vision users’ need
> might be better addressed in the future… as long as there are people who
> can afford to spend the time pursuing that objective. I have a feeling
> however, that some of the things Phil is asking to build the case for low
> vision users can be found on Shawn Henry’s website, with links such as
> http://www.tader.info/scrolling.html and
> http://www.tader.info/baddisplay.html. Is is “good enough”? It’s at least
> “a good starting point” I would say.
> That being said, the point of this post was simply to remind us that
> temporary solutions often end up being permanent. So let’s not rush into
> anything, if it means we’ll still be leaving a lot of us behind.
> Also published here (slightly different version):
> http://www.denisboudreau.org/blog/2015/02/the-508-refresh-low-vision-time-bomb/
> .
> --
> Denis Boudreau
> Web Accessibility - Universal Design - User Experience
> » info@denisboudreau.org
> » 514-730-9168

[image: http://www.tsbvi.edu] <http://www.tsbvi.edu>Jim Allan,
Accessibility Coordinator & Webmaster
Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired
1100 W. 45th St., Austin, Texas 78756
voice 512.206.9315    fax: 512.206.9264  http://www.tsbvi.edu/
"We shape our tools and thereafter our tools shape us." McLuhan, 1964
Received on Thursday, 19 February 2015 19:00:19 UTC

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