Web accessibility is not about conformance with standards

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Slides for a talk on "Web accessibility is not (primarily) about conformance with web accessibility standards" given by Brian Kelly, Cetis at the IDRAC 2014 conference held in Second Life on 4-5 October 2014. See http://ukwebfocus.wordpress.com/events/web-accessibility-is-not-primarily-about-conformance-with-web-accessibility-standards/

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Web Accessibility is Not (Primarily) About Conformance with Web Accessibility Standards:

Web Accessibility is Not (Primarily) About Conformance with Web Accessibility Standards Brian Kelly Innovation Advocate Cetis University of Bolton Bolton, UK Contact Details Email: ukwebfocus@gmail.com Twitter : @ briankelly Cetis Web site : http://www.cetis.ac.uk/ Blog : http://ukwebfocus.wordpress.com/ 1 Slides and further information available at http://ukwebfocus.wordpress.com/events/web-accessibility-is-not-primarily-about-conformance-with-web-accessibility-standards/ A presentation for the IDRAC (International Disability Rights Affirmation Conference) 2014 conference to be held in Second Life on 3-4 October 2014

Contents:

Contents About Me Early Involvement with Web Accessibility About WAI and WCAG Realisation of the Limitations “Blended Accessibility for Blended Learning” Beyond Accessibility for Learning Accessibility 2.0: People, Policies and Processes (and Politics) A Standard – BS 8878 Conclusions 2

About Me:

About Me Brian Kelly Early adopter of Web technologies (Jan 1993) UK Web Focus at UKOLN: a national post, advising UK universities on best practices for use of the Web from 1996-2013 Now Innovation Advocate at Cetis, encouraging take-up of innovation technologies and practices by UK universities 3

Involvement with Web Accessibility:

Involvement with Web Accessibility Long-standing involvement with Web accessibility: Attended W3C WAI launch, Santa Clara, April 1997 Many peer-reviewed papers published since 2004, co-authored with accessibility researchers & practitioners from UK and Australia Awards: “ Implementing A Holistic Approach To E-Learning Accessibility ”: Best research paper at ALT-C 2005 “ Developing countries; developing experiences: approaches to accessibility for the Real World ”: John M Slatin Award for best communications paper at W4A 2010 Co-organiser of Accessibility Summit in 2004 and Accessibility Summit II in 2006 4

WAI Recap:

WAI Recap W3C WAI (Web Accessibility Initiative): Developed framework for providing “ universal accessibility ” Has had global impact Based on 3 components for: Content (WCAG) Authoring ( ATAG ) Browsers/User Agents ( UAAG ) WCAG 1.0: Specific to HTML; had flaws WCAG 2.0 Format independent POUR principle: requires accessible content to be Perceivable ; Operable ; Understandable and Robust 5

Realisation of the Limitations:

Realisation of the Limitations From 1997 - 2002: Encouraged universities to use WCAG guidelines to provide “ universal accessibility ” From 2002-2004: Realisation of the limitations, especially in e-learning context: “ How do I make this 3D molecule in Java accessible? ” “ If I provide Alt-text to the images in the quiz I’m giving the answer away ” 6 Conclusions : It’s wrong to think that universal accessibility can be achieved by simply conforming to a checklist. However WCAG guidelines do have value, but we need a better solution.

“Blended Accessibility for Blended Learning”:

“Blended Accessibility for Blended Learning” 7 In 2004 we realised: Differences between informational and learning web services 1 Importance of accessibility of learning objectives / learning experience rather than the learning resource 2 Importance of other IT and non-IT learning environments beyond the Web Note 1 We want immediate & simple access to information Understanding & learning is different. The “understanding” arises through pedagogical processes discussions, misunderstandings, “light bulb”, …. Note 2 Example: a field trip involves trip up a mountain. This is not accessible. Do we: Install wheelchair ramp up mountain? Cancel trip as it’s not universally accessible? Seek to make the various experiences accessible (e.g. team working)?

Beyond Accessibility for Learning:

Beyond Accessibility for Learning Different accessibility challenges for Information • Learning • Culture Communications • Games • … 8 We identified the importance of context and the intended purpose of the service for accessibility

Relevance of Second Life :

Relevance of Second Life Is Second Life Accessible ? Blog post published in Jan 2008: This video clip shows a user with cerebral palsy, Judith, using Second Life with a headwand . As Judith explains: ‘ I’ve got a wheelchair in Second Life also. You can choose whether you want to be in a chair or not. You can have crutches, you can have whatever disability you have in real life in Second Life ’ 9 Not universally accessible, but accessible (and valuable) to a user with disabilities. This example illustrates need to have a user-focussed approach to accessibility standards

Revisiting Limitations of WAI:

Revisiting Limitations of WAI In June 2008 UK government announced that all government web sites must conform to WCAG AA Implications: What if WCAG is flawed? What about the costs? What about the loss of services of use to some/many? 10 There is a need for a standard, but it must be realistic and address a wide range of use cases. A new approach much avoid: Unnecessary barriers to innovation Temptations to delete services which are accessible to many but not all ( cf Judith & SL)

People, Policies and Processes:

People, Policies and Processes In 2007 we argued: We need a new approach to accessibility We called this approach “ accessibility 2.0 ” Move on focus from digital resource to: People (the users and other stakeholders) The policies covering use of web services The processes which would ensure that policies were being implemented 11 Accessibility 2.0: People, Policies and Processes , Kelly et al , W4A 2007

And Politics! :

xx 12 And Politics! See blog post at http ://slewth.co.uk/blog/2014/09/17/

A Standard – BS 8878:

A Standard – BS 8878 In parallel BS 8878 was developed: A British Standard Code of Practice A framework that allows definition of the process undertaken by organisations to build or procure an optimally accessible web site 13 People Policies Processes

BS 878 In 88 Seconds :

BS 878 In 88 Seconds Summary by Jonathan Hassell: see blog post and transcript 14 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GJ4MRCyMTRQ BS 8878 See also blog posts by Jonathan Hassell , editor of BS 8878: http://www.hassellinclusion.com/bs8878/

Conclusions:

Conclusions “ Web accessibility is not an intrinsic characteristic of a digital resource but is determined by complex political, social and other contextual factors, as well as technical aspects which are the focus of WAI   standardisation activities. It can therefore be inappropriate to develop legislation or focus on metrics only associated with properties of the resource ” 15 A Challenge to Web Accessibility Metrics and Guidelines: Putting People and Processes First , Cooper et al, W4A 2012 A question for the audience: Could BS 8878 approach be used in a Second Life context?

Questions?:

Questions? Any questions, comments, …? 16

Licence and Additional Resources:

This presentation, “ Web accessibility is not (primarily) about conformance with web accessibility standards ”, by Brian Kelly, Cetis is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported Licence Note the licence covers most of the text in this presentation. Quotations may have other licence conditions. Images may have other licence conditions. Where possible links are provided to the source of images so that licence conditions can be found . 17 Slides and further information available at http://ukwebfocus.wordpress.com/events/web-accessibility-is-not-primarily-about-conformance-with-web-accessibility-standards/ Licence and Additional Resources

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