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Web Accessibility 3.0: Learning From The Past, Planning For The Future

Slides for a talk on "Web Accessibility 3.0: Learning From The Past, Planning For The Future" given at the ADDW08 conference.
See http://www.ukoln.ac.uk/web-focus/events/conferences/addw08/

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Web Accessibility 3.0: Learning From The Past, Planning For The Future

  1. 1. Web Accessibility 3.0: Learning From The Past, Planning For The Future Brian Kelly UKOLN University of Bath Bath, UK Email: [email_address] Blog: http://ukwebfocus.wordpress.com/ UKOLN is supported by: http://www.ukoln.ac.uk/web-focus/events/conferences/addw08/ 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, etc. is permitted providing distractions to others is minimised. Resources bookmarked using ‘ addw08 ' tag Co-author : Liddy Nevile
  2. 2. Scenario Planning <ul><li>Let us critique the first two scenarios in order to explore their limitations (their benefits have been well documented) and see if a third scenario might address such limitations </li></ul>WAI Approach Scenario 1 Holistic Accessibility Scenario 2 Accessibility 3.0 Scenario 3
  3. 3. WAI Approach <ul><ul><li>WAI model relies on conformant Web sites, conformant authoring tools, conformant user agents </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>… and conformant users! </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>A common complaint of “standardistas” – “ the user needs to take responsibility… ” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>There is value in this argument – but there are practical shortcomings </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>And user technophobia/laziness/lethargy is only one obstacle </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>How many users know they are “disabled”? </li></ul></ul></ul>WAI’s Approach Also note 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!
  4. 4. WCAG In Context <ul><li>WCAG 2.0 states that Web resources must be: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Perceivable • Operable </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Understandable • Robust </li></ul></ul><ul><li>But this should apply after we’ve decided what our purposes our, rather than constraining what we can or can’t do: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“ Super Cally Go Ballistic, Celtic Are Atrocious ”: Not universally understandable, now universally accessible, culturally-specific … but witty </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Adobe Flash, MS Word, … Are these formats essential to your corporate infrastructure and workflow? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Web 2.0, Ajax, Blog, Wikis, UGC, … Do these provide useful services to your users? </li></ul></ul>Legislation: “take reasonable measure ..” Is bankrupting your company reasonable? Is failing to satisfy your user community reasonable? Is dumbing down the English language reasonable? WAI’s Scenario
  5. 5. Holistic Approach <ul><li>Kelly, Phipps & Swift developed a blended approach to e-learning accessibility </li></ul><ul><li>This approach: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Focusses on the needs of the learner </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Requires accessible learning outcomes , not necessarily e-learning resources </li></ul></ul>Follow-up work awarded prize for Best Research Paper at ALT-C 2005 E-learning conference Holistic Scenario This approach reflects emphasis in UK on blended learning (rather than e-learning)
  6. 6. 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 Holistic Scenario
  7. 7. Articulating the Approach <ul><li>The &quot;Tangram Metaphor“ (Sloan et al , W4A 2006) developed to avoid checklist / automated approach: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>W3C model has limitations </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Jigsaw model implies single solution </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Tangram model seeks to avoid such problems </li></ul></ul><ul><li>This approach: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Encourages developers to think about a diversity of solutions </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Focus on 'pleasure' it provides to user </li></ul></ul>Holistic Scenario
  8. 8. Accessibility 2.0 <ul><li>Need to build on WAI’s successes, whilst articulating a more sophisticated approach. Accessibility 2.0: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>User-focussed : It’s about satisfying user’s needs </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Rich set of stakeholders : More than the author and the user </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Always beta : Accessibility is hard, so we’re continually learning </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Flexibility : There’s not a single solution </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Diversity : There’s also diversity in society’s views on accessibility (e.g. widening participation, not universal accessibility) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Blended solutions : Focus on ‘accessibility’ and not just ‘Web accessibility’ </li></ul></ul>Holistic Scenario But do scenarios 1 and 2 scale to the size, complexity and diversity of today’s Web?
  9. 10. The Web is Agreement
  10. 11. Where Are We In This View? Web WCAG Web IT <ul><li>WCAG+ATAG+UAAG=universal accessibility </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Motherhood and apple pie? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Demonstrably flawed after 10 years e.g. Lilley: “ 99.99999% of the Web was invalid HTML. W3C pretended that didn’t exist. ” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>So 99.9999% of Web isn’t WACG AA conformant! </li></ul></ul><ul><li>WCAG+other guidelines+user focus+blended accessibility = widening participation </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Not yet proven wrong, but ignores scale of Web </li></ul></ul>The Pixel of Perfection The Holistic Hamlet WAI
  11. 12. <ul><li>Kevin Kelly </li></ul>
  12. 13. Accessibility 1.0, 2.0 and 3.0 <ul><li>Accessibility 1.0: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Handcrafted resources made accessible </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Accessibility 2.0: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Institutional approaches to accessibility </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Accessibility 3.0: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Global approaches to accessibility </li></ul></ul>Accessibility 3.0 Scenario
  13. 14. A Fresh Look At Accessibility <ul><li>We acknowledge that: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Not everything on the Web will ever be accessible </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Accessibility may not cross cultural, linguistic, national and discipline boundaries </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>An individual does not need a universally accessible resource; rather s/he wants a resource which is accessible to them </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Different communities may have different needs </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Same person may have different needs at different times and places </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Let’s not talk about the accessibility of a resource </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>We find the term ‘ inclusive ’ more useful than ‘ accessible to people with disabilities ’ </li></ul></ul>Accessibility 3.0 Scenario
  14. 15. Getting There <ul><li>Web 1.0: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Focus on resources published by institutions </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Focus on management of resources (CMSs) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Web 2.0: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Focus on users and user-generated content </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Focus on reuse of resources (syndication, embedding, …) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Focus on user comments and discussions </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Trust and openness </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Accessibility 1.0: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Focus on accessibility of published resources </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Focus on software to support publication processes </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Accessibility 2.0: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Focus on accessibility of use of content rather than content </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Blended accessibility cf potential of social networks to facilitate discussions </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Trust and openness: orgs taking reasonable measures; involvement with users in design processes cf Kelly et al on design for people with learning disabilities </li></ul></ul>Accessibility 3.0 Scenario
  15. 16. Alternative Resources <ul><li>Public library example: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Presentation at national Public Library event </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>“ And here’s a Flash-based game we’ve developed. Easy to do, and the kids love it” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>“ What about accessibility?” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>“ Oh, er. We’ll remove it before the new legislation becomes into force” </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Blended approach: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“ What’s the purpose of the game?” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>“ To keep kids amused for 10 mins, while parents get books” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>“ How about building blocks or a bouncy castle as an alternative? This is an alternative approach to problem, which doesn’t focus on disabilities” </li></ul></ul>Accessibility 3.0 Scenario
  16. 17. Library Standards on Alternatives <ul><li>Use Case: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Catalogue records for books available in multiple formats </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Book, large print book, abridged book, cassette tape, Braille, CD, MP3, … </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Need for standards to facilitate retrieval of resource which satisfies end user’s needs </li></ul><ul><ul><li>MARC 21/RDA : Developments to established library standard </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>AccessForAll : ISO/IMS Standard aimed at describing alternative for learning resources </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>DCMI : Accessibility metadata work </li></ul></ul>Accessibility 3.0 Scenario Recognition of challenges of the multiple standardisation routes described in “ Personalization and Accessibility: Integration of Library and Web Approaches ”, Chapman, Nevile, Kelly and Heath
  17. 18. Web 3.0 <ul><li>Web 3.0: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Data working with data </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Direct intervention by people not always needed </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Software can make heuristic assumptions </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Can get better as more data made available </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The Semantic Web / Linked Data vision which exploits connections on the social graph </li></ul></ul>“ Its not the Social Network Sites that are interesting - it is the Social Network itself. The Social Graph. The way I am connected, not the way my Web pages are connected. ” Tim Berners-Lee Accessibility 3.0 Scenario
  18. 19. Semantic Approach <ul><li>From Kevin Kelly’s ‘One Machine’ perspective: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>It doesn’t matter where the content is </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>It doesn’t matter who owns the contents </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Challenge is to exploit the connections </li></ul>“ I express my network in a FOAF file, and that is a start of the revolution. … It is about getting excited about connections, rather than nervous. ” Tim Berners-Lee Accessibility 3.0 Scenario
  19. 20. Accessibility 3.0 <ul><li>We’re already seeing computer software giving us hints on resources which may be of interest to us </li></ul><ul><li>Note how improvements can be made: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>By system gathering more data </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>By user providing preferences and other hints clues </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>By others providing data </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>By author metadata </li></ul></ul>Accessibility 3.0 Scenario Challenge: Can such developments be applied to provide benefits to people with disabilities?
  20. 21. Initial Experiments <ul><li>Project work to explore ways of enhancing accessibility: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>FLUID project: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>A community, a product, and a collection of tools created by an international team </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>P rovides an infrastructure that enables rich customisations of an application's user interface appearance and behaviour based on the needs of both institutions and individual users. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Tools which can be integrated into popular education software (Uportal, Moodle, etc.) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Iterative design and agile development process </li></ul></ul></ul>
  21. 22. Semantic Web Principles <ul><li>Principles which may be required: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Persistent URIs for resources </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Metadata in RDF </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Accessibility metadata schema published on Web </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Accessibility terms published in public ontologies </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Applications to allow user tagging </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Applications to provide links to equivalent resources </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Openness of software, content and metadata </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Encouragement of vendors to support personalisation </li></ul></ul>
  22. 23. Learning From The Past <ul><li>We’re starting to explore an Accessibility 3.0 vision </li></ul><ul><li>But what lessons must we learn from Accessibility 1.0: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>We don’t want a theoretical solution </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The dangers of standardising too soon </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The dangers of legislating too soon </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The dangers of ignoring diversity </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The need to get market acceptance for tools </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The difficulties of getting market acceptance </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Standards-based solutions may not deliver </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>… </li></ul></ul>Accessibility 3.0 Scenario Note that the Accessibility 3.0 vision is based on W3C Semantic Web principles. A challenge for W3C and user community is reconciling WAI and SW visions and how they are interpreted.
  23. 24. Conclusions <ul><li>Accessibility 1.0 </li></ul><ul><ul><li>WAI model is flawed </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Evidence shows WAI approach is a political success, but not implemented significantly </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Accessibility 2.0 </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Holistic approach takes pragmatic view of WCAG’s successes & applies it in a user-focussed context based on institutional framework </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>But neither approaches scales to the World Wide Web </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Accessibility 3.0 </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Builds on Social Web and seeks to apply social graph to enhance accessibility of user services </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Very early days </li></ul></ul>But can this view be sold to organisations, governments and individuals who have bought a the view of WAI delivering “ the answer”? These conclusions are aimed at the accessibility researchers and practitioners to persuade them that a rethink is needed
  24. 25. Another Interpretation <ul><li>Accessibility 1.0 </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Based on encoding of HTML resources </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Accessibility 2.0 </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Based on mix of the HTML (and other) resources, the services, the context, … </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Accessibility 3.0 </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Based on mix of above plus 'intelligence' of the Web in its behind-the-scenes applications e.g. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Semantic Web applications </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Use and sharing of tags etc across applications </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>More atomic resource components so easier to mix-and-match </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Microformats and lots of tags </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>... </li></ul></ul></ul>
  25. 26. Conclusions <ul><li>There’s a need: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>For accessibility researchers to gather evidence on proposed solutions to accessibility </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>To explore ways in which changes in our understandings can be adopted and deployed </li></ul></ul><ul><li>This paper: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Explores limitations of current approaches </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Suggests alternative approaches </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Future work: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Need to critique the critique </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Need to develop better models for change control </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Need to learn from the past </li></ul></ul>
  26. 27. Questions <ul><li>Questions are welcome </li></ul>

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