The Accessible Web


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

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The Accessible Web

  1. 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. 2. Contents <ul><ul><li>Reflections on today’s themes </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Web accessibility & innovation </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Revisiting Web accessibility: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Contextualising Web accessibility: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>What Next? </li></ul></ul>
  3. 3. Today’s Talks <ul><li>What have we heard about today: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Museums 2.0: just do it </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>How tagging can help </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Potential of Second Life </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Maybe Semantic Web has a role </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The challenges of the personalised Web and the ethical Web </li></ul></ul><ul><li>What do you think: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Toys for the boys? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Or not? </li></ul></ul>
  4. 4. Accessibility and Innovation <ul><li>“ I’m looking at Web 2.0 / Museum Mashups / Facebook / Second Life /…. What do people think about these technologies? ” </li></ul><ul><li>Common responses: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>We are committed to complying with accessibility guidelines; we won’t be driven by new technologies </li></ul></ul><ul><li>But might this actually mean: </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>We can’t be bothered </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>We’re threatened </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>We’re scared </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>… </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>What if new technologies actually enhance accessibility? </li></ul><ul><li>What if the accessibility guidelines are out-of-date? </li></ul>
  5. 5. Where Does Accessibility Fit In? <ul><li>What is your view? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Web innovations typically add to the accessibility barriers people with disabilities face: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Need for caution and delaying innovation until accessibility features are developed </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Can’t decide; it’s too complicated </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Web innovations often enhance accessibility: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Opportunity to exploit innovations and gain experiences </li></ul></ul></ul>
  6. 6. My Views <ul><li>My thoughts on this: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>We’ve interpreted accessibility incorrectly </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>It’s not about: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Control  Rules </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Universal solutions  An IT Problem </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>A worry  Avoiding being sued </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>It is not about: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Empowering people  Widening participation </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Contextual solutions  Blended solutions </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>A great opportunity  Being appreciated </li></ul></ul></ul>
  7. 7. Background: W3C WAI & WCAG <ul><li>W3C (World Wide Web Consortium): </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Body responsible for coordinating development of Web standards </li></ul></ul><ul><li>WAI (Web Accessibility Initiative): </li></ul><ul><ul><li>W3C group responsible for developing guidelines which will ensure Web resources are widely accessible </li></ul></ul><ul><li>WCAG (Web Content Accessibility Guidelines): </li></ul><ul><ul><li>One of three sets of WAI guidelines. WCAG provides advice of accessibility on Web content (e.g. HTML pages) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Other two WAI guidelines cover accessible user agents (UAAG) and accessible authoring tools (ATAG) </li></ul></ul>Review: WAI Approach
  8. 8. The WAI Model <ul><li>The WAI model for Web accessibility is based on three components: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Content </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Authoring Tools </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Browsers </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Assumption: do three right  universal accessibility </li></ul><ul><li>But: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>We have no control over browsers & authoring tools </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The browsers and authoring tools aren't great </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The content guidelines are flawed </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>What if users are happy with their existing browser? </li></ul></ul>Review: WAI Approach
  9. 9. Interpretation of WAI WCAG <ul><li>How do you interpret WAI WCAG (must use ALT tags for images; HTML must be valid; must use style sheets for presentation; …): </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Mandatory, with following characteristics: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Clearly defined rules  Objective </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Checking mostly objective </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Penalties for non-compliance </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Similar to checking that HTML complies with the standard </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Advisory, with following characteristics: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Useful guidelines, to be interpreted in context </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>It's about providing useful, usable resources </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>It's contextual </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Checking mostly subjective </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>It's similar to checking that a Web site is well-designed </li></ul></ul></ul>BK Review: WAI Approach Which reflects your organisations’ view most closely?
  10. 10. Limitations of the WAI Model <ul><li>WAI approach has shortcomings: </li></ul><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>WCAG guidelines have flaws (&quot;must use W3C formats; must use latest versions; …&quot;) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Has a Web-only view of the world: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>What about other IT solutions? </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>What about blended (real world) solutions? </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Has a belief in a single universal solution: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>But isn't accessibility a very complex issue </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Is it reasonable to expect an ideal solution to be developed at the first attempt? </li></ul></ul></ul>Limitations
  11. 11. What do we mean by Web accessibility? <ul><li>Can we provide accessible Web services without a clear understanding of what we mean by this? </li></ul><ul><li>Small group exercise: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>What do we mean by Web accessibility? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Where does usability fit in? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Where does interoperability fit in? </li></ul></ul>E
  12. 12. Usability & Interoperability <ul><li>What about: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Usability </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Interoperability </li></ul></ul> <ul><li>Example: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Long, application-specific URLs can cause accessibility/usability and interoperability problems </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Addition Problems: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>We’ve got WCAG AA (and checked with users) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>We don’t need to do anymore (it’s costly) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>We don’t need to address usability </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>The focus on priority levels can limit what’s done </li></ul>
  13. 13. Diversity – Content <ul><li>WAI guidelines focus on informational Web sites: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Here’s the train timetable – I want the information and I want it now </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>This is reasonable and desirable </li></ul></ul><ul><li>But is this approach always relevant to learning and cultural contexts: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Here’s something – you must interpret it (and being wrong can be part of the learning process) </li></ul></ul>Context
  14. 14. Universal Accessibility?
  15. 15. Holistic Approach <ul><li>Q How do you make highly interactive e-learning services universally accessibility (e.g. 3D model of molecules)? </li></ul><ul><li>A If this would be unreasonable, make the learning outcomes (rather than e-learning resources) accessible. </li></ul>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. 16. Articulating the Approach <ul><li>The &quot;Tangram Metaphor&quot; 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>Our Work
  17. 17. Tangram Model & Testability <ul><li>&quot;WCAG 2.0 success criteria are written as testable statements …&quot; (nb. automated & human testing  ) </li></ul><ul><li>Issues: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>What about WCAG principles that don't have defined success criteria (e.g. &quot;content must be understandable&quot;)? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>What about 'baselines' – context only known locally </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>What about differing models or / definitions of 'accessibility'? </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Note vendors of accessibility testing services will market WCAG tools e.g. see posting on BSI PAS 78 </li></ul><ul><li>Tangram model can be used within WCAG </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Distinguish between testable (ALT tags) and subjective (content understandable) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Supports baselines </li></ul></ul>Baseline 1 Testable Our Work
  18. 18. Accessibility 2.0 Paper <ul><li>Paper presented at W4A 2007 conference: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“ I don’t disagree – but WAI focusses on accessibility of Web resources” </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Our misunderstanding of WAI’s role: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Decide on the services you wish to provide, then look at accessibility </li></ul></ul><ul><li>not: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Look at accessibility guidelines to see what is allowed </li></ul></ul>Note this ties in with Seb Chan’s talk on the processes for selecting technologies
  19. 19. WCAG 2.0 <ul><li>Latest WCAG 2.0 draft is much improved </li></ul><ul><li>Focus on four key principles (POUR): </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Perceivable : Information and user interface components must be perceivable by users </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Operable : User interface components must be operable by users </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Understandable : Information and operation of user interface must be understandable by users </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Robust : Content must be robust enough that it can be interpreted reliably by a wide variety of user agents, including assistive technologies </li></ul></ul>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. 20. WCAG & Holistic Context <ul><li>Proposal for a museum’s accessibility policy: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Museum services will seek to engage its audiences, attract new & diverse audiences, ... </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Museum will take reasonable measures to maximise access to its services. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Interpretations: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Second Life, Web 2.0, … to attract new audiences (e.g. young people) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Reasonable measures to ensure Web 2.0 is widely accessible (e.g. WCAG if possible) </li></ul></ul>
  21. 21. On Reasonableness <ul><li>How do we know what is reasonable? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Every page must be WCAG AA compliant (including HTML-compliance, even if 99% of Web pages fail this test) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>No Podcasting, as can’t be heard by deaf users (to hell with blind users) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>No Flash – even if people say they like it </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>No surrealism – people won’t understand it </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Or: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Staff training so they’re informed of best practices </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Sharing our approaches – and learning from others </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Engaging with our user communities </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Doing what museums are expected to do </li></ul></ul>
  22. 22. Not In Isolation <ul><li>How do we: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Develop staff? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Enhance the effectiveness of our approaches? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Develop an understand on what is reasonable? </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Answers: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Documenting policies </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Sharing our experiences </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Sharing our resources </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Discussing and debating </li></ul></ul>
  23. 23. An Emerging Roadmap <ul><li>Accessibility Summit II held in Nov 2006 agreed: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Need for a manifesto: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Building on WAI’s foundations </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Developing a user-centric approach </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Developing a contextual model </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Developing an evidence-based approach </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>A roadmap for future work: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Engagement with disability communities </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Engagement with WAI </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Identifying areas of research </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Gathering case studies of best practices </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>… </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Follow-up workshop took place at MW 2007 </li></ul>
  24. 24. Application to Second Life <ul><li>How do I make SL accessible? </li></ul><ul><li>Wrong question – ask: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“ How do I maximise the accessibility of my museum?” </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Solutions: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Wheelchair ramps </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Web sites </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Accessible Web sites </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Web experiences </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Immersive environments </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>… </li></ul></ul><ul><li>A portfolio of solutions aimed at widening participation </li></ul>Compare with the BBC. Is the radio universally accessible to the deaf – or do the BBC have a portfolio of channels?
  25. 25. Next Steps for Museums <ul><li>At MW 2007: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Museums wiki service described </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Accessibility 2.0 added to wiki </li></ul></ul><ul><li>An opportunity for you: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Use this to briefly summarise your approaches to accessibility 2.0 </li></ul></ul><ul><li>(And keep copy for use elsewhere) </li></ul> wiki/Accessibility_2.0
  26. 26. Just Do It!! <ul><li>What not to do: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Seek 2 year funding in order to explore implications, set up case study database, QA processes, … </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Instead: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Write case study on the train home! </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>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) </li></ul></ul>
  27. 27. What Next? <ul><li>What should the next steps be in development of approaches for Web accessibility in a museum context? </li></ul>