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IWMW 2004: Beyond Web Accessibility Providing A Holistic User Experience

Slides for plenary talk on "Beyond Web Accessibility Providing A Holistic User Experience" given at the IWMW 2004 event held at the University of Birmingham on 27-29 July 2004.

See http://www.ukoln.ac.uk/web-focus/events/workshops/webmaster-2004/talks/phipps-kelly/

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IWMW 2004: Beyond Web Accessibility Providing A Holistic User Experience

  1. 1. Beyond Web Accessibility: Providing A Holistic User Experience Brian Kelly UKOLN University of Bath Bath Lawrie Phipps JISC TechDis Service York
  2. 2. 2 Where Are We Now? Current status on Web accessibility: • Widespread awareness within institutional Web management community • Widespread support for implementation • Sharing of approaches, discussions, etc. But: • Implementation challenges • Lack of clarity of what exactly we should do • Still ambiguities (cf DRC report) • Have things changes since WAI WCAG 1.0 released?
  3. 3. 3 Accessibility Survey Survey of UK HEI home pages carried out in August 2002 and repeated in June 2004 Used Bobby – so only objective criteria measured Findings 2002 2004 WAI AA compliant 3 7 WAI A compliant 70 93 Reminder: this is probably an over-estimate of compliance. Problems which can only be spotted with manual detection can reduce these figures. Also note that this is just the home page – not the entire Web site! Reminder: this is probably an over-estimate of compliance. Problems which can only be spotted with manual detection can reduce these figures. Also note that this is just the home page – not the entire Web site! See <http://www.ukoln.ac.uk/web-focus/events/ workshops/webmaster-2004/talks/phipps-kelly/survey/>
  4. 4. 4 What Can We Conclude? What can we conclude from the lack of WAI WCAG AAA compliance and small percentage of AA compliance: • The community doesn't care about Web accessibility • WCAG AAA and AA compliance is difficult to achieve (even on a single, high profile page) • There are other issues to consider
  5. 5. 5 WAI WCAG AA and AAA In order to achieve WAI WCAG AA compliance: • Avoid deprecated features (e.g. FONT) • Use W3C technologies when available and appropriate (no Flash, MS Word or PowerPoint) • .. use the latest versions [of W3C formats] • Create documents that validate to published formal grammars (i.e. HTML must be valid) In order to achieve WAI WCAG AAA compliance: • Provide information so that users may receive documents according to their preferences (i.e. markup language) • Specify document collections with the LINK element and "rel" and "rev"
  6. 6. 6 Concerns Over WAI WCAG Guidelines Too Theoretical • Some WCAG guidelines appear theoretical • WCAG seeks to promote W3C standards (including new ones) in addition to addressing mainstream accessibility issues • Overall WAI approach is dependent on content, authoring tools and user agent guidelines – the latter two are outside the remit of Web authors Developments Outside Of W3C • WAI has succeeded in raising awareness of accessibility – and commercial sector has responded (cf. accessibility in OS, proprietary formats, …)
  7. 7. 7 Standards Or Guidelines Are WAI's Web Content Accessibility Guidelines: • Pragmatic and much needed guidelines which can help authors to make Web pages more accessible • To be interpreted and applied sensibly or: • Mandatory standards which must be implemented in order to (a) claim WAI compliance and (b) abide with legislation • No room for interpretation 11.1 Use W3C technologies when they are available and appropriate for a task and use the latest versions when supported. [Priority 2] 11.1 Use W3C technologies when they are available and appropriate for a task and use the latest versions when supported. [Priority 2] Use GIF images or FONT tags? Use HTML 4.0? HTML validation errors? WAI A is best you can achieve!
  8. 8. 8 WAI WCAG Flaws Logical Flaws • On 1 Aug 2002 when XHTML 1.0 released WAI AA pages became A (unless immediately upgraded) W3C Web Site • W3C Web site is not AA compliant BK LP Conclusions If treating WCAG as rigourous standard is flawed what should we do? Conclusions If treating WCAG as rigourous standard is flawed what should we do? DRC Web Site • DRC Web site is not AA compliant, despite AAA logo on home page and report still not HTML
  9. 9. 9 Why are we doing what we are doing now? • Why are we asking the question “what standard of accessibility do we design to?”  The original concept was for guidelines  This translated to standards (BBSI)  Many Web teams now talk of ‘compliance’ • Why? Who is driving the evolution from a guide to a requirement?
  10. 10. 10 The W3C Web User
  11. 11. 11 The Student Experience
  12. 12. 12 So what should that mean? • Pragmatism is the key • Education is a holistic experience (it not just about the web) • Develop a policy, meet the standards, but above all, consider all users!
  13. 13. 13 TechDis – UKOLN Approach • Recognising external pressures e.g. funders, QAA, … • Recognising local technical infrastructure • Recognising material objective • Recognising learning and teaching Remember legislation expects organisationsRemember legislation expects organisations to take "reasonable measures
  14. 14. 14 Conclusions • Select the guidelines / standards that mean something to the context of the material • Work with staff needing to deliver the material • Develop strategies that reflect flexibility in meeting user need • Test the system against guidelines – but prioritise users!
  15. 15. 15 Questions Any questions, comments, etc?

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