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Accessibility 2.0: People, Policies and Processes

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Slides for a paper by Brian Kelly, UKOLN presented at the W4A 2007 conference in Banff, Canada in May 2007. …

Slides for a paper by Brian Kelly, UKOLN presented at the W4A 2007 conference in Banff, Canada in May 2007.

See http://www.ukoln.ac.uk/web-focus/events/conferences/w4a-2007/

Published in: Education, Technology, Design

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  • 1. Accessibility 2.0: People, Policies and Processes Brian Kelly UKOLN University of Bath Bath, UK UKOLN is supported by: Co-Authors: David Sloan, Stephen Brown, Jane Seale, Helen Petrie, Patrick Lauke and Simon Ball http://www.ukoln.ac.uk/web-focus/events/conferences/w4a-2007/ This work is licensed under a Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 licence (but note caveat) Acceptable Use Policy Recording/broadcasting of this talk, taking photographs, discussing the content using email, instant messaging, blogs, SMS, etc. is permitted providing distractions to others is minimised. Resources bookmarked using ‘ w4a-2007 ' tag
  • 2. About This Paper
    • This paper:
      • Reviews limitations of WAI approach to Web applicability (described at W4A 2005)
      • Describes holistic approach for e-learning accessibility (described at W4A 2006)
      • Applies previous work to new ‘edge case’ of culture on the Web
      • Introduces a Stakeholder Model to help ensure sustainability of approaches to accessibility
      • Compares old and new approaches to Web accessibility
      • Proposes ‘Accessibility 2.0’ as term to describe approach which builds on WAI’s successes
  • 3. W4A 2005: Reprise
    • At W4A 2005 we presented “ Forcing Standardization or Accommodating Diversity… ”:
      • The practical difficulties of using a “standard” to encapsulate design requirements to accommodate a diverse set of needs under a diverse set of circumstances
      • The achievements and limitations of WCAG in supporting this
      • The resultant difficulties (and absurdities) from legislation and policy – that makes inappropriate reference to WCAG
      • Using the example of the e-learning sector we pointed the way to a more holistic view of Web accessibility
    • We received many positive comments on the ideas we presented
    WAI’s Limitations
  • 4. Limitations of the WAI Model
      • WAI model relies on conformant Web sites, conformant authoring tools, conformant user agents
      • … and conformant users!
      • A common complaint of “standardistas” – “ the user needs to take responsibility… ”
      • There is value in this argument – but there are practical shortcomings
      • And user technophobia/laziness/lethargy is only one obstacle
        • How many users know they are “disabled”?
    WAI’s Limitations Also note increasing importance of evidence-based research. Various UK accessibility studies seem to find that lack of evidence of accessibility of Web sites for PWDs and conformance with WCAG guidelines!
  • 5. The Importance of Context
      • We argue Web accessibility is about supporting users achieve real world goals
      • From Beyer & Holzblatt (1998) – the more you know about your target audience the more you can design to support them
      • So the goal of “universal accessibility” has changed to supporting a defined set of users in the best possible way…
      • How can we use WCAG to achieve this?
    WAI’s Limitations
  • 6. Holistic Approach
    • Kelly, Phipps & Swift developed a blended approach to e-learning accessibility
    • This approach:
      • Focusses on the needs of the learner
      • Requires accessible learning outcomes , not necessarily e-learning resources
    Follow-up work awarded prize for Best Research Paper at ALT-C 2005 E-learning conference Holistic Approach This approach reflects emphasis in UK on blended learning (rather than e-learning)
  • 7. Application To Culture
    • Accessibility for information / factual resources is easy
    • Accessibility for edge cases (learning, culture):
      • More challenging
      • Needed to allow providers of Web-based cultural services to enhance accessibility
      • Generic model will provide broader framework for variety of Web uses
  • 8. Universal Accessibility? Normal Cancer Man against snow, Austrian Tirol 1974, reproduced with permission of the photographer: Professor Paul Hill The Great Masturbator by Salvador Dali (1929) The Duck-Rabbit CRAFT BREWERY
  • 9. Articulating the Approach
    • The "Tangram Metaphor" developed to avoid checklist / automated approach:
      • W3C model has limitations
      • Jigsaw model implies single solution
      • Tangram model seeks to avoid such problems
    • This approach:
      • Encourages developers to think about a diversity of solutions
      • Focus on 'pleasure' it provides to user
    Our Work
  • 10. Tangram Model & Testability
    • "WCAG 2.0 success criteria are written as testable statements …" (nb. automated & human testing  )
    • Issues:
      • What about WCAG principles that don't have defined success criteria (e.g. "content must be understandable")?
      • What about 'baselines' – context only known locally
      • What about differing models or / definitions of 'accessibility'?
    • Note vendors of accessibility testing services will market WCAG tools e.g. see posting on BSI PAS 78
    • Tangram model can be used within WCAG
      • Distinguish between testable (ALT tags) and subjective (content understandable)
      • Supports baselines
    Baseline 1 Testable Our Work
  • 11. Tangram Model
    • Model allows us to:
      • Focuses on end solution rather than individual components
      • Provided solutions tailored for end user
      • Doesn't limit scope (can you do better than WAI AAA?)
      • Make use of automated checking – but ensures emphasis is on user satisfaction
    • Guidelines/standards for/from:
      • WAI
      • Usability
      • Organisational
      • Dyslexic
      • Learning difficulties
      • Legal
      • Management (resources, …)
      • Interoperability
      • Accessibility metadata
      • Mobile Web
  • 12. Stakeholder Model
    • Common approach:
      • Focus on Web author
      • Sometimes user involved
      • Sometimes led by policy-makers
    • This approach:
      • Often results in lack of sustainability
      • Web accessibility regarded as ‘techie’
      • Not integrated with wider accessibility issues
      • Not integrated with training, development, …
    • There’s a real need to integrate approaches to accessibility more closely with (diversity of) service providers
  • 13. Repositories – Case Study
    • Discussion on repositories list:
      • “ Why PDFs of research papers? What about accessibility?”
      • “ Important battle is open access. Let’s not add extra complexities.”
    • My response:
      • Open access is important (and PDF is easy) but let’s also:
        • Engage with various stakeholders (incl. publishers)
        • Develop (holistic) policies
        • Explore other options to enhance accessibility
      • And I found Scribd – a Web 2.0 services which creates MP3 from MS Word/PDF
  • 14. The Cathedral & The Bazaar 2.0 Blended learning E-learning Focus on the journey Clear destination (AAA) Accessibility as a process Accessibility as a thing Social model Medical model Accessibility as a bazaar Accessibility as a cathedral Context to testing Objective testing Blended solutions IT solution Testing in context Remote testing Rapid response Slow-moving Variety of solutions Single solution Devolved Centralised Proposed Approach WAI Approach
  • 15. Accessibility 2.0
    • Need to build on WAI’s successes, whilst articulating a more sophisticated approach. Accessibility 2.0:
      • User-focussed : It’s about satisfying user’s needs
      • Rich set of stakeholders : More than the author and the user
      • Always beta : Accessibility is hard, so we’re continually learning
      • Flexibility : There’s not a single solution for all use cases
      • Diversity : There’s also diversity in society’s views on accessibility (e.g. widening participation, not universal accessibility)
      • Blended solutions : Focus on ‘accessibility’ and not just ‘web accessibility’
  • 16. The Legal Framework
    • This approach is well-suited for the UK legal framework:
    • SENDA/DDA legislation requires " organisations to take reasonable measures to ensure people with disabilities are not discriminated against unfairly "
    • Note that the legislation is:
      • Technologically neutral
      • Backwards and forwards compatible
      • Avoids version control complexities
      • The legislation also covers usability, as well as accessibility
    Other country’s legislation also talks about ‘reasonable measures’
  • 17. Our Next Steps
    • Accessibility Summit II:
      • Held at JISC TechDis in Nov 2006
      • 19 invited accessibility researchers, practitioners & policy makers in HE, public sector & disability support organisations
      • Agreement on various concerns of WAI’s approach
      • Recommendation to develop roadmap for next steps
    • Museums and Web 2007 Professional Forum:
      • 50+ participants at international conference in April
      • Further agreement on need to build richer approaches to accessibility for cultural heritage orgs
      • Accessibility 2.0 term added to Museums Wiki
  • 18. Issues For W3C & WAI
    • Our approaches:
      • Developed by various accessibility researchers & practitioners and described in peer-reviewed papers
      • Can coexist with W3C approaches e.g. PICS & P3P (W3C doesn’t mandate social directions but provides technical framework which can be used in diversity of political & social cultures)
    • W3C is (used to) facing criticisms:
      • Semantic Web vs semantic Web
      • Web Services vs REST
      • XHTML 2.0 vs HTML 5.0
    Isn’t it time WAI engages with concerns and moves on from its initial model? Has WAI developed a risk strategy in case of failure of WCAG to be adopted?
  • 19. Conclusions
    • To conclude:
      • WAI has provided a valuable starting point
      • Need to develop a richer underlying model
      • Need for Web accessibility to be placed in wider content
      • There's a need to an evidence-based approach and less ideology
      • Contextual approach & tangram metaphor aim to help inform such developments
      • Accessibility 2.0 term can articulate a renewed approach
  • 20. Questions
    • Questions are welcome