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RE: [White paper] A11Y Wars: The Accessibility Interpretation Problem

From: Urban, Mark (CDC/OCOO/OCIO/ITSO) <fka2@cdc.gov>
Date: Tue, 15 May 2018 12:47:39 +0000
To: Wilco <wilcofiers@gmail.com>, "w3c-wai-ig@w3.org" <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
CC: Glenda Sims <glsims99@gmail.com>
Message-ID: <6c637a6cb07e43ddb9f78ada1e1af479@cdc.gov>
Good morning!

I had to comment on this work.  This is, I hope, a start to a very important discussion in the community: that there are more than just levels of conformance, there are levels of strictness that are driven by the competing interests of those of us that use WCAG.

I find myself, as a Chief Accessibility Officer, often in the midst of these wars.  Developers often speak of buglists, advocates speak of equal access, lawyers speak of liability, and researchers speak of best practice.  And they come to my door to have me decide “what’s the line?”.  No matter what I answer, the result is  “A good compromise leaves everyone mad”*.

We need to stop being mad about the fact that life is imperfect, and that there are tradeoffs.  The key is to identify the principle of accessibility, hold to that, and recognize that success means different things to different people and different organizations, and that’s OK.  Advocates SHOULD push for functional accessibility, developers SHOULD question the implementation, project managers SHOULD talk about level of effort, lawyers SHOULD put concerns about liability on the table.  We all have something to add, to help this thing called accessibility improve every day.

Again, well done, to start the conversation.  Cheers for helping mark out the common ground.

Mark D. Urban
CDC/ATSDR Section 508 Coordinator
Office of the Chief Information Officer (OCIO)
Office of the Chief Operating Officer (OCOO)
Murban@CDC.gov<mailto:Murban@CDC.gov> | 919-541-0562 office

From: Wilco <wilcofiers@gmail.com>
Sent: Monday, May 14, 2018 4:51 PM
To: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
Cc: Glenda Sims <glsims99@gmail.com>
Subject: [White paper] A11Y Wars: The Accessibility Interpretation Problem

Hi everyone,

Below the summary of the white paper we have created. We hope you find it interesting and helpful in your work:

Without a shared testing perspective, achieving accurate test results for compliance with WCAG 2.0 can be challenging and expensive. A common cause for inconsistent accessibility results between experts is accessibility testers doing their work with different goals in mind. Natural tension exists between the goals of users, designers, developers, testers, trainers, project managers, and executives. An unstated goal for testing can be a major source of inconsistent results between tests.

It is time to stop the accessibility interpretation wars. There is no "one best way" of interpreting accessibility standards. There are different interpretations, each valid and useful in their own right. The Accessibility Peace Model identifies the following key perspectives used for accessibility testing.

·         Minimum - based on the normative text of the technical requirement. This perspective often seeks low cost and quick solution to meet legal requirements.

·         Optimized - based on the spirit and the intent of the normative technical requirement, rather than just minimum compliance. This is a pragmatic approach to sustainable universal design that balances equal access, civil rights, and actual outcomes for users with disabilities with what is technically possible with other requirements, (business) goals for the product, and what is reasonable to achieve today. This perspective is the most effective use of resources in the long run.

·         Ideal - based on a human factors approach that extends beyond legal compliance and pragmatic best practices. Focuses on quality of user experience for people with disabilities and innovative breakthroughs that eliminate barriers once considered impossible to solve. During initial phases, this perspective may be expensive.

By clearly defining the perspective your organization is using for accessibility testing, your organization can save time and lower costs.

Read the White Paper "A11Y Wars: The Accessibility Interpretation Problem (http://bit.ly/a11ypeace)<http://bit.ly/a11ypeace>"

Let's make a11y peace!

WIlco Fiers & Glenda Sims

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Received on Tuesday, 15 May 2018 12:48:12 UTC

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