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The Accessible Web


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Talk on "The Accessible Web" given at the Museums and the Web 2007 conference. …

Talk on "The Accessible Web" given at the Museums and the Web 2007 conference.

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  • 1. The Accessible Web Accessibility 2.0: A Holistic And User-Centred Approach To Web Accessibility Brian Kelly UKOLN University of Bath Bath Email [email_address] UKOLN is supported by: This work is licensed under a Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 licence (but note caveat) Resources bookmarked using ‘ ukmw07 ' tag 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.
  • 2. Contents
      • Reflections on today’s themes
      • Web accessibility & innovation
      • Revisiting Web accessibility:
      • Contextualising Web accessibility:
      • What Next?
  • 3. Today’s Talks
    • What have we heard about today:
      • Museums 2.0: just do it
      • How tagging can help
      • Potential of Second Life
      • Maybe Semantic Web has a role
      • The challenges of the personalised Web and the ethical Web
    • What do you think:
      • Toys for the boys?
      • Or not?
  • 4. Accessibility and Innovation
    • “ I’m looking at Web 2.0 / Museum Mashups / Facebook / Second Life /…. What do people think about these technologies? ”
    • Common responses:
      • We are committed to complying with accessibility guidelines; we won’t be driven by new technologies
    • But might this actually mean:
        • We can’t be bothered
        • We’re threatened
        • We’re scared
    • What if new technologies actually enhance accessibility?
    • What if the accessibility guidelines are out-of-date?
  • 5. Where Does Accessibility Fit In?
    • What is your view?
      • Web innovations typically add to the accessibility barriers people with disabilities face:
        • Need for caution and delaying innovation until accessibility features are developed
      • Can’t decide; it’s too complicated
      • Web innovations often enhance accessibility:
        • Opportunity to exploit innovations and gain experiences
  • 6. My Views
    • My thoughts on this:
      • We’ve interpreted accessibility incorrectly
      • It’s not about:
        • Control  Rules
        • Universal solutions  An IT Problem
        • A worry  Avoiding being sued
      • It is not about:
        • Empowering people  Widening participation
        • Contextual solutions  Blended solutions
        • A great opportunity  Being appreciated
  • 7. Background: W3C WAI & WCAG
    • W3C (World Wide Web Consortium):
      • Body responsible for coordinating development of Web standards
    • WAI (Web Accessibility Initiative):
      • W3C group responsible for developing guidelines which will ensure Web resources are widely accessible
    • WCAG (Web Content Accessibility Guidelines):
      • One of three sets of WAI guidelines. WCAG provides advice of accessibility on Web content (e.g. HTML pages)
      • Other two WAI guidelines cover accessible user agents (UAAG) and accessible authoring tools (ATAG)
    Review: WAI Approach
  • 8. The WAI Model
    • The WAI model for Web accessibility is based on three components:
      • Content
      • Authoring Tools
      • Browsers
    • Assumption: do three right  universal accessibility
    • But:
      • We have no control over browsers & authoring tools
      • The browsers and authoring tools aren't great
      • The content guidelines are flawed
      • What if users are happy with their existing browser?
    Review: WAI Approach
  • 9. Interpretation of WAI WCAG
    • How do you interpret WAI WCAG (must use ALT tags for images; HTML must be valid; must use style sheets for presentation; …):
      • Mandatory, with following characteristics:
        • Clearly defined rules  Objective
        • Checking mostly objective
        • Penalties for non-compliance
        • Similar to checking that HTML complies with the standard
      • Advisory, with following characteristics:
        • Useful guidelines, to be interpreted in context
        • It's about providing useful, usable resources
        • It's contextual
        • Checking mostly subjective
        • It's similar to checking that a Web site is well-designed
    BK Review: WAI Approach Which reflects your organisations’ view most closely?
  • 10. Limitations of the WAI Model
    • WAI approach has shortcomings:
      • WAI model relies on conformant Web sites, conformant authoring tools, conformant user agents
      • … and conformant users!
      • WCAG guidelines have flaws ("must use W3C formats; must use latest versions; …")
      • Has a Web-only view of the world:
        • What about other IT solutions?
        • What about blended (real world) solutions?
      • Has a belief in a single universal solution:
        • But isn't accessibility a very complex issue
        • Is it reasonable to expect an ideal solution to be developed at the first attempt?
  • 11. What do we mean by Web accessibility?
    • Can we provide accessible Web services without a clear understanding of what we mean by this?
    • Small group exercise:
      • What do we mean by Web accessibility?
      • Where does usability fit in?
      • Where does interoperability fit in?
  • 12. Usability & Interoperability
    • What about:
      • Usability
      • Interoperability
    • Example:
      • Long, application-specific URLs can cause accessibility/usability and interoperability problems
    • Addition Problems:
      • We’ve got WCAG AA (and checked with users)
        • We don’t need to do anymore (it’s costly)
        • We don’t need to address usability
    • The focus on priority levels can limit what’s done
  • 13. Diversity – Content
    • WAI guidelines focus on informational Web sites:
      • Here’s the train timetable – I want the information and I want it now
      • This is reasonable and desirable
    • But is this approach always relevant to learning and cultural contexts:
      • Here’s something – you must interpret it (and being wrong can be part of the learning process)
  • 14. Universal Accessibility?
  • 15. Holistic Approach
    • Q How do you make highly interactive e-learning services universally accessibility (e.g. 3D model of molecules)?
    • A If this would be unreasonable, make the learning outcomes (rather than e-learning resources) accessible.
    Our Work Can we apply this approach to cultural resources, with an emphasis on providing a diversity of cultural experiences? See Developing A Holistic Approach For E-Learning Accessibility by Kelly, Phipps & Swift
  • 16. 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
  • 17. 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
  • 18. Accessibility 2.0 Paper
    • Paper presented at W4A 2007 conference:
      • “ I don’t disagree – but WAI focusses on accessibility of Web resources”
    • Our misunderstanding of WAI’s role:
      • Decide on the services you wish to provide, then look at accessibility
    • not:
      • Look at accessibility guidelines to see what is allowed
    Note this ties in with Seb Chan’s talk on the processes for selecting technologies
  • 19. WCAG 2.0
    • Latest WCAG 2.0 draft is much improved
    • Focus on four key principles (POUR):
      • Perceivable : Information and user interface components must be perceivable by users
      • Operable : User interface components must be operable by users
      • Understandable : Information and operation of user interface must be understandable by users
      • Robust : Content must be robust enough that it can be interpreted reliably by a wide variety of user agents, including assistive technologies
    Note WCAG 2.0 draft removes some of the flawed guidelines – and HTML compliance is toned down. This may result in many Web sites will enhance their WCAG rating overnight!
  • 20. WCAG & Holistic Context
    • Proposal for a museum’s accessibility policy:
      • Museum services will seek to engage its audiences, attract new & diverse audiences, ...
      • Museum will take reasonable measures to maximise access to its services.
    • Interpretations:
      • Second Life, Web 2.0, … to attract new audiences (e.g. young people)
      • Reasonable measures to ensure Web 2.0 is widely accessible (e.g. WCAG if possible)
  • 21. On Reasonableness
    • How do we know what is reasonable?
      • Every page must be WCAG AA compliant (including HTML-compliance, even if 99% of Web pages fail this test)
      • No Podcasting, as can’t be heard by deaf users (to hell with blind users)
      • No Flash – even if people say they like it
      • No surrealism – people won’t understand it
    • Or:
      • Staff training so they’re informed of best practices
      • Sharing our approaches – and learning from others
      • Engaging with our user communities
      • Doing what museums are expected to do
  • 22. Not In Isolation
    • How do we:
      • Develop staff?
      • Enhance the effectiveness of our approaches?
      • Develop an understand on what is reasonable?
    • Answers:
      • Documenting policies
      • Sharing our experiences
      • Sharing our resources
      • Discussing and debating
  • 23. An Emerging Roadmap
    • Accessibility Summit II held in Nov 2006 agreed:
      • Need for a manifesto:
        • Building on WAI’s foundations
        • Developing a user-centric approach
        • Developing a contextual model
        • Developing an evidence-based approach
      • A roadmap for future work:
        • Engagement with disability communities
        • Engagement with WAI
        • Identifying areas of research
        • Gathering case studies of best practices
    • Follow-up workshop took place at MW 2007
  • 24. Application to Second Life
    • How do I make SL accessible?
    • Wrong question – ask:
      • “ How do I maximise the accessibility of my museum?”
    • Solutions:
      • Wheelchair ramps
      • Web sites
      • Accessible Web sites
      • Web experiences
      • Immersive environments
    • A portfolio of solutions aimed at widening participation
    Compare with the BBC. Is the radio universally accessible to the deaf – or do the BBC have a portfolio of channels?
  • 25. Next Steps for Museums
    • At MW 2007:
      • Museums wiki service described
      • Accessibility 2.0 added to wiki
    • An opportunity for you:
      • Use this to briefly summarise your approaches to accessibility 2.0
    • (And keep copy for use elsewhere) wiki/Accessibility_2.0
  • 26. Just Do It!!
    • What not to do:
      • Seek 2 year funding in order to explore implications, set up case study database, QA processes, …
    • Instead:
      • Write case study on the train home!
      • Document what you’ve done - you’ve probably adopted a user-focussed approach anyway! (cf. Tate’s i-Map work described by Caro Howell 2 years ago)
  • 27. What Next?
    • What should the next steps be in development of approaches for Web accessibility in a museum context?