Re: I'm Worried...

Hi there Gregg,

and thanks for replying to this.

I've just replied to Greg on #1 and as you've probably seen agree to the 
most part. And I also agree with you regarding #2 and text being 
necessary, however, I also see that our guidelines are getting to a 
point, probably in just my opinion, whereby we will be suggesting 
manufacturers of user agents be turned into 'manufactures of user 
agent-assistive technology hybrids; as opposed to user agents with open 
access and control for use by other intermediary tools more suited to 
the user, and built by developers who understand their specific user group.'

I think the solution to this *may* be something towards your suggestion 
of 'user agents could allow external services to be applied that could 
covert things or provide supplemental presentations'. But I'd go further 
and suggest that this is what UAAG should be doing primarily. At a Level 
A standard we should be defining the correct control and access 
arrangements that a user agent should provide to enable intermediary 
technology to access its information and control its functionality. 
Otherwise, as I see it, a browser for blind users would not meet UAAG if 
it did not allow perception of its menuing controls by, say, hearing 
impaired users.

Now it maybe that this is how everyone thinks anyway, maybe what I'm 
saying seems self evident in this forum, but I think if that is the case 
the 'seems' but it critical, because from a reading of the guidelines 
this implication of intermediary technology is not very explicit, IMO.

I'm still worried, so please ease my mind by telling me how I'm wrong.



Simon Harper
University of Manchester (UK)

Human Centred Web Lab:

My Site:

My Diary (Web):
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On 11/02/2010 04:16, Gregg Vanderheiden wrote:
> Hi Simon
> I don't usually follow this list but "I'm worried" caught my eye
> 1)  A agree with Greg Lowney on #1
> 2)  With regard to your question #2 I think it is useful to look at 
> the parallel in WCAG.
>  If you look at WCAG guideline 1.1 you will see
> 1.1 Provide text alternatives for any non-text content so that it can 
> be changed into other forms people need, such as large print, braille, 
> speech, symbols or simpler language. 
> <>
> Providing everything as text is not not just for blind people.  Blind 
> people cannot read text either.  But if it is in text then it can be 
> coverted into Audio or symbols or sign language or simpler language.   
> In fact there are limits on what AT can do but having AT convert a 
> site is a whole lot better than site designers trying to write in 
> symbols for example.
> Now I don't think we want every user agent doing this -- but user 
> agents could allow external services to be applied that could covert 
> things or provide supplemental presentations.
> Just some thoughts
> /Gregg/
> -----------------------
> Gregg Vanderheiden Ph.D.
> Director Trace R&D Center
> Professor Industrial & Systems Engineering
> and Biomedical Engineering
> University of Wisconsin-Madison
> On Feb 10, 2010, at 9:31 PM, Greg Lowney wrote:
>> Hi Simon,
>> I really appreciate you raising these issues!
>> Re your question #1 of whether Principle 3 (Perceivable - The user 
>> interface and rendered content must be presented to users in ways 
>> they can perceive) required content to be translated into pictograms, 
>> I would say no. In my interpretation a sighted person can *perceive* 
>> visually-rendered text as long as the size, colors, and contrast are 
>> appropriate, regardless of whether they can *understand* it. 
>> Understandability is covered under Principle 5 (Ensure that the user 
>> interface is understandable). But that currently addresses only user 
>> interface, which brings us to...
>> Re your question #2 asks if we can address how textual content can 
>> reduce accessibility with regard to cognitive disability. I think 
>> that's an excellent suggestion. At first glance I can't find much 
>> about that in the current draft. Currently Principle 5 (Ensure that 
>> the user interfacce is understandable) only addresses the user 
>> interface, but we could add something, somewhere to recommend steps 
>> that the user agent can take to facilitate undertandability of content
>> For example a user agent could: (a) allow the user to easily look up 
>> simple definitions or illustrations for terms in the content; (b) 
>> provide translations of content into other languages or writing 
>> styles; and (c) attempt to generate summaries of content or highlight 
>> key phrases. (These are already available in Firefox using add-ins 
>> such as Dict, gTranslate, and the outdated GreatSummary.) Some 
>> features we already address, such as providing an outline view, could 
>> serve as aids to understandability in addition to navigation. Do 
>> people have additional suggestions?
>> If we do decide to add those, we could easily fit them under 
>> Principle 5 by changing its title to include both user interface and 
>> content, like Principle 3 already does. In fact, Principle 4 ("Ensure 
>> that the user interface is operable", actually includes things like 
>> text search and content flashing that go far beyond just user 
>> interface; if we keep those, perhaps it's title, too, should be 
>> broadened.
>> (As yet another aside, it seems like Guideline 4.5, "Configure and 
>> store preference settings", doesn't really fit under Principle 4, 
>> "Ensure the user interface is operable", more than it fits under 
>> Principle 3 about making UI and content perceivable.)
>> Finally, re your question #3 as to whether Principle 5 would require 
>> user agents to take steps to make UI and possibly content more easily 
>> understandable, such as translating things into pictograms, I would 
>> say that we can certainly include guidance to this effect, but we can 
>> decide whether to make them base-level requirements (Level A) or 
>> merely requirements for higher-level certification (Level AA and AAA, 
>> which ISO and ANSI call Recommendations). For example, yes, we could 
>> *recommend* (as Level AAA) an option to display icons for user 
>> interface items such as toolbar buttons, although I would not make it 
>> a Level A requirement because I wouldn't expect software to do it for 
>> all of its UI. Another way of putting that is that, while we want to 
>> encourage design that maximizes accessibility but we have to balance 
>> that against reasonable  expectations. Software could do many 
>> wonderful things, but if there are not already two user agents that 
>> do them, and do them consistently thr
>> oughout their UI, then we're not allowed to include them as success 
>> criteria.
>> I hope that's helpful.
>> Greg
>> -------- Original Message  --------
>> Subject: I'm Worried...
>> From: Simon Harper < 
>> <>>
>> To: UAWG list < <>>
>> Date: 2/5/2010 2:32 AM
>> Hi there guys,
>> Sorry for not being very talkative on the Telecon yesterday, and for 
>> confining myself to listening to the discussion. However, as the 
>> discussion unfolded, and this is not in relation to action item 263, 
>> I started to become a little worried about what we are actually 
>> expecting user agent manufacturers to do with regard to the 
>> accessibility of their technology. From a brief analysis of 
>> guidelines as they stand in draft at present we seem to be reasonably 
>> focused on specific key disability such as blindness and hearing 
>> loss. I became more concerned with regard to how these guidelines 
>> would be implemented with regard to cognitive disability and learning 
>> impairments as in some cases it seems to me that the guidelines have 
>> an implicit idea about, and address, a specific disability.
>> That said I may be completely wrong on this point, so to allay my 
>> fears I wonder if somebody from the group could answer me a couple of 
>> questions. I think if we can't answer these questions we need to 
>> think again about some of the guidelines and indeed our ideas about 
>> user agent accessibility.
>> 1) How does principle three 'PRINCIPLE 3: Perceivable - The user 
>> interface and rendered content must be presented to users in ways 
>> they can perceive.' and the guidelines that are within it relate to 
>> cognitive disability and learning impairments, 'content must be 
>> presented to users in ways they can perceive' suggests to me that the 
>> content must be translated into pictograms for this particular user 
>> group. Are we really expecting this to occur?
>> 2) In the case of guideline 4.9 'Guideline 4.9 Provide control of 
>> content that may reduce accessibility.' Content that may reduce 
>> accessibility is text with regard to cognitive disability learning 
>> impairment. How can this be addressed in such a case?
>> 3) Finally, 'Principle 5: Ensure that user interface is 
>> understandable', How will this understandability be ensured with 
>> regard to cognitive disability and learning impairment? Are we 
>> expecting user agent manufacturers to provide pictorial 
>> representations of the textual aspects.
>> Based on responses from the working group I have some additional 
>> questions, but I don't want to labour the point here, and indeed your 
>> answers may negate some of those questions I already have.
>> Cheers
>> Si.
>> =======================
>> Simon Harper
>> University of Manchester (UK)
>> Human Centred Web Lab:
>> My Site:
>> My Diary (Web): 
>> My Diary (Subscribe): 

Received on Thursday, 11 February 2010 17:42:31 UTC