EOWG 16 Oct 2009 Minutes



Shawn, Doyle, Andrew, Yeliz, Alan, William, Jennifer, Sylvie
Sharron, Liam, Shadi, Jack


Relationship Between Web Accessibility and Usability

Shawn: I'm so close to the topic, it's hard for me to see other perspectives. I'm interested in to learn -- from the questions that mostly came from Shadi. I've been discussion this topic for many years.

William: it's sort of difficult to refer to outside work. And yet you are one of the few voices dealing with this stuff.

Shawn: the W3C site has gone live. Our page we worked on went live.
... We have one topic ("Relationship Between Web Accessibility and Usability") on the agenda. This is one of the documents of the WAI age project. At the face to face meeting we'll be mostly working on WAI-AGE documents. We'd have a good rough draft for the face to face. We want to make sure we talk through each of the documents on the teleconference before the face to face. The working title is "the relationship Web Accessibility and Usability"".

<shawn> http://www.w3.org/WAI/EO/changelogs/cl-accessibility-n-usability

Shawn: I want to get a good idea of the purpose goals and objectives. I'm close to this topic. When we first talked about this I didn't understand how WAI could write. I can now see what Andrew and Shadi wanted to write. Any additions and comments on this topic? What we might want to do? For now: OK to suggest something even out of scope, think broadly, and brainstorm.

William: I would like to have this document more faithful to it's name and purpose. The last three or four items belong to another document like in a change log analysis.

Shawn: I originally had them in another document. This is a holding space that might go into another document.

William: I understand. Having that other stuff detracts a little.

Shawn: I'll move them.
... Let's walk through this. Purpose Goals and Objectives - what's missing?

Yeliz: is this document aims to talk about usability with respect to older users, or does it aim to talk about the relationship between usability and accessibility in general?

Shawn: we will talk about regardless but scope down to more specifically between accessibility and usability in regard to web standards.

Andrew: what is the relationship between WCAG and usability. The intersections thereof. WCAG 2 has introduced a much bigger overlap. I see as a VENN diagram when looking at.

William: These are grey areas. We must not put our heads in the sand. These are very closely related. Accessibility for older users. Other groups are being left off. Except being new to the Web. I'm saying it is important for those groups as well.

Andrew: like literacy, Language?

William: because we speak English, we think someone will take care of that. You can have a laundry list like the web is a second interest, outsider groups having a tough time with the web. It's clear how old people are affected, but not other people. The wrong people are making the definitions.

Shawn: I've added that to the beginning. Asked about do we want to differentiate between Accessibility and usability in the guidelines.
... what else?

Alan: As I read the title it felt difficult to write. I thought about what I'd write and it was a challenge. Can we have some examples there? Rather than the definitions. People often do ask is something like such and such is Accessibility, or Usability. Nested tables are not necessarily limited by the guidelines. They can be a problem for accessibility.

William: the disparity of those who want to be in a forest of links and those who don't.

Shawn: we can list examples that beg the question. That aren't clearly one or the other.

William: question of defining. Examples don't define this doesn't meet the criterion.

Shawn: I think the line is so grey you might not find a good example.

Alan: a series of examples might lead people to the idea.

Andrew: Narrowing the grey area might help to pull people across to accessibility.

Alan: It's hard to define. Perhaps trying to define is going nowhere.

William: in a dictionary there might examples but if they aren't exemplified they are pretty much useless as definitions.

Yeliz: I think the title was difficult to write, I think this will be a really useful resource though. It has to be carefully written. People might say I want to satisy accessibility not usability. Why not completely make the site accessible?

shawn: can you see why or what people would use it for?

Yeliz: they might say there are overlaps.

William: I have an example where people leaped on my back 'we don't want to support usability'.

Yeliz: Some designers might say these are related to usability, and these are not, giving a reason for not following them.

Shawn: other thoughts?
... looking at the list of questions: other questions or myths we want to address?

Alan: open the document by stating that people can argue about the differences 'until the cows come home' and the solution is not clear until people know the lie of the land. Not definitive.

Shawn: a good point. What I say in most cases it doesn't matter because you are trying to do both. If you just design a web site it doesn't matter.

William: this isn't really the audience you don't include the people who make the standards. This addresses a whole lot. Those who design standards are a whole different audience.

Andrew: yes a whole different audience.

Shawn: probably who develop guidelines for accessibility or older users.

William: we have to address what we have done wrong that makes those people so clueless?

Shawn: what else?
... what other questions do you hear people saying? Like this I can't use AJAX widget because it is not accessible? What else to put in here?

William: Charles Chen has a solution called the AxsJAX Framework for ARIA. He thought about the problem and worked on it.

Shawn: Other thoughts what this might cover? Who would you like to point this to?
... you hear them say X and point them to something that addresses X? What's X?

William: used by and addressed by the HTML 5 working group. They can't avoid this. They design the language for the HTML of 2020.

Shawn: let's look at the audience section. What these people are trying to get. Where might they be to look at this document?

William: it's important for governmental designers, their audience includes everybody. They can't say they didn't write for deaf people.

Andrew: all these things are good for usability and we are half way there we can include the rest of accessibility too.

<yeliz> To designers and developers: give them the message that if you make a page accessible it will also be usable to all. "Buy one and get one free message!"

William: for policy people might be concerned with due diligence about accessibility they need for usability and there is no requirement for usability. I run the policy of this thing, You have to 508 compatible. And by the way everybody use easily.

shawn: what would we want the policy people get out of this?

William: usability is as important as compliance.

shawn: What else do I need to do to keep in usability?

Andrew: If the users are not involved you can't have usability.

Alan: you can't define usability though.

Shawn: there are some policy has tried to define that. UK is trying to do that (with PAS78). I think we want to capture?

Jennifer: if you are a procurement person and work on a RFP, in terms of statements of work what they would say? I don't know how they use usability in a general sense. I don't know how the U.S. government uses usability.

Shawn: I will look up 255. How will an entity will know whether it is accessible and usable. Products and services PWD must be able to follow and use and companies must make functional equivalents accessibility. I can't remember what they said about usability. The ISO documents are fairly old and not well used.

Andrew: building progress.

Yeliz: have you read Helen Petrie's paper about usability and accessibility? She investigates the relationship between usability and accessibility. Similar to what Andrew says, she proposes that usability and accessibility relates in different ways, overlap (venn diagram idea), disjoint or subset. I have a copy and can send it to you.

<yeliz> http://doi.acm.org/10.1145/1240624.1240688

Shawn: that would be useful.

Yeliz: they also did a user study but I don't remember the details of that study.

Andrew: she says usability is properly defined but there are several definitions of accessibility.

Shawn: what year?

<yeliz> 2007

<yeliz> The relationship between accessibility and usability of websites, Proceedings of the SIGCHI conference on Human factors in computing systems (CHI 2007), 2007.

Shawn: she has published some other stuff that was problematic. They did a study through the UK disability rights commission. They concluded of the problems for disability only a small percentage were covered by WCAG. But, some problems should have been covered by the browsers. In UAAG instead of WCAG. Statement on the report from WAI.
... I added both of those to our resources list.

<shawn> http://www.w3.org/2004/04/wai-drc-statement.html

Jennifer: let's not loose these references. They are in one place and trace these through a number of years. It's really useful to have a lot of that. A lot of perspectives reflected in that.

William: A history of this is important. Has been with us for practically ever.

Shawn: put in the document itself? or in the document, point to the resources in this requirements/analysis page?

Jennifer: in the doc itself. The references are really important. List them, shows the history of the issues.

[general agreement, some strong]

<yeliz> +1

Yeliz: I agree with that.

Shawn: As Yeliz points there might be some missing references here. Something else to add?

William: some value in Joe Clarks points.

Shawn: Which are relevant to this issue?
... I haven't done an extensive research. We can do more. More strongly clarified. list them and shows the history of the controversy and makes this more creditable.
... still pretty sketchy. Anything else we want to note in the audience. For procurement and purchase people that they understand they ought to include more than just meeting accessibility standards?

William: any standards, the ISO is working on this?

Shawn: what about PWD advocates would get out of this?

William: Because you have given us more ambition.

Yeliz: Important message to give "buy one get one free!". They overlap and they benefit for all.

Shawn: if you make your site usable, including cognitive, you will make is more accessible for all. Anything else?

William: older user without age related impairments?

Shawn: yes we need to say 'all' older users. Usability might not be covered in Accessibility Standards?

William: yes

Andrew: if we could put some examples a couple would be useful.

Shawn: for example. You found some in your studies Andrew, and shows in some the table with what you found in the literature, too specific or were usability and didn't quite fit in there.

William: in the literature if you don't have accessibility it can't be used, but that alone doesn't make it usable.

Shawn: I am interested in which word is easier to translate: distinguish and differentiation.

Sylive: I thought they mean the same.

Shawn: yes, pretty close.

<shawn> "distinguish" / "differentiate"

Sylive: we have the same words in French.

Shawn: in the context we can use interchangeably. They mean the same thing in the context we use them.

Yeliz: easier to translate differentiate than distinguish.

<Andrew> subtle difference - To distinguish is to recognise the characteristic features belonging to a thing / To differentiate is to point out exactly and in detail the differences between (usually) two things

Shawn: let's look at the draft document itself. This is the first pass for this. Throwing some stuff from the page. Go ahead and comment but don't worry about word smiting. We've talked about putting in examples at the beginning. Alan?

Alan: I thought that accessibility is more about removing barriers than usability. When you talk about specific users on the web you don't know who the users might be. Distinguishing for guidelines, there are two bullet points that clarify things than is what in the introduction at the moment. Perhaps accessibility lays the foundation for usability.

shawn: accessibility lays the foundation for usability you said. A precursor or requirement to be usability. Can't be used if not accessible. good input. Others?
... what works not work, main point. A document like this or a FAQ format? Looking at the questions. Looking at the draft document.
... the title will definitely change.

Jennifer: should it be in the format now, or FAQ. Think back to audiences what they use for. A quick skim or academics or teachers and want something more formal. The questions I would ask. FAQ are easier to skim.

William: first time I've seen answered instead of asked. Because where you give talks or promoting a book the same questions over and over.

Andrew: if we did a FAQ well we might loose some material. That what we talk about wouldn't come to a FAQ.

Shawn: I will continue to play with it. Some of this foundational, and then let's look at some specific questions. Some I'd want to address directly. Some I would like to answer directly. I feel like it might be here is the foundation we are talking about here are some specifics.

Jennifer: I wonder if you can mix the twos. Have some subheading that were the questions.

<Yeliz> I agree with that

<Yeliz> I think a combination would be good

William: is there a typo about the ISO supposed to be efficiently the next word?

Jennifer: I like mixing them together to make them in the order they would think of them.

<Andrew> +1 to mixing

Shawn: let me make a note of them.

<Zakim> Andrew, you wanted to mention teachers/professors/trainers as audience

Shawn: So the plan for this is to have another draft before the face to face. Announce on the list. Late next week, or early the week before the face to face. One last chance, before we close...

Andrew: catching the audience, teachers or academics would be.

Jennifer: Who I was specifically thinking of, people who study usability at colleges and universities. To earn degrees in this field.

William: curriculum designers. Online education. Very focused on these issues.

Jennifer: I might mean those people but...

Shawn: like human factors.

Jennifer: yes human factors.

Andrew: here is an outline to help introduce accessibility from usability.
... I know lecturers who would jump at using this.

Shawn: people who study human factors here is how it is related to accessibility.
Next: word on the street you are hearing? Discussion on Education and Outreach?

Jennifer: can we have a quick overview we will talk about the face to face.

Shawn: it will be updated at http://www.w3.org/WAI/EO/2009/11f2f#read

... We will discuss each new document in the EOWG teleconferences first, to: 1. give everyone a chance to contribute early even if won't be at f2f, 2. get a good start on them so the f2f discussion will be more effective.

... I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend!

[End of minutes]

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