Do you have ideas of how to improve W3C accessibility standards?
The Silver Task Force and the W3C Silver Community Group and their research partners did more than a year of research about the successor to the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2. The Silver Design Sprint in March 2018 started finding solutions for the problem statements and opportunities identified by this research. These statements focus on the structure of Silver and not (yet) on the content. We have a lot of great ideas to get started. The Design Sprint Report is comprehensive and rather long. We also wrote a shortened Suggestions of the Silver Design Sprint in a blog post.
We want and need the creative input from our expert accessibility community. We have a lot of ideas that came out of the Design Sprint, and now we start experimenting, testing, and refining how these ideas could work in the real world. Things like:
Writing Silver in plain/simple language. We need editors who can help us translate much of the existing WCAG 2.1 advice to simple language. It’s a big job. Many hands make light work.
“Databasing all the things” so that we can filter and customize information to give users the information they need without a wall of text. We need help designing this, including the basic task of identifying the tag names that are needed. Some of you have thought about this, have information architecture experience, or have already created lists of tag names. Please help us out. We need some expert advice. Send us an email if you can help at email@example.com.
Linking to more helpful information that is hard to find, like tutorials, videos of PwD using a feature, etc. How do we do that without creating too much clutter for beginners? There are designers with usability expertise that know how to do this. Forward this email to them.
Creating a homepage that will direct beginners where to start, and as well as helping experts quickly find the code sample or tutorial link they want to include in a client report.
Developing a method for accessibility experts to contribute new content, such as design patterns, codes and tests, where you experts comment and vote material up and down. Many people recommend that we take lessons learned from open source communities. This would help keep Silver current while digital innovation keeps speeding up. How do we do that while ensuring that Silver provides top quality information? What would the interface look like? What features would you want? Draw it up for us, please. We have a Github repo you can contribute to.
Changing how we define conformance so that more needs of people with disabilities can be included than can tested in true/false success criteria statements. This is difficult. Many of you have experience creating testing tools and measurements beyond WCAG. We need your expertise. Here is a rough draft of a way Silver conformance could work. Please comment on it and file Github issues. Add your own ideas.
Improving the specification development tools so that more people with disabilities can participate. Initially, at a minimum, we need a simplified interface to Github that will allow screen reader users and people with cognitive disabilities to be able to submit an issue, read other comments, and add to the issue discussion. Contact Jeanne on Twitter @jspellman or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Helping us organize the usability testing of these ideas! We want Silver to be evidence-based, and we want data of what you like and don’t like about the ideas being proposed.
These ideas are innovative and controversial in their own way. We want to develop working prototypes that we can show and user test both to refine and improve the ideas, but also to demonstrate that it can work and build support from key stakeholders before we start working on what new guidance will go into Silver.
If you haven’t seen an idea that appeals to your creativity, there are many more ideas in the Suggestions of the Design Sprint and the full Design Sprint Report. It also isn’t too late to create new ideas and priorities for Silver, this is just where we are putting a stake in the ground and saying, “let’s start here”.
One of the barriers identified during our research is the difficulty and time-consuming nature of standards work. We are using the W3C Silver Community group as a way for people to work on what interests them, and contribute only the time they want. Joining the Silver Community Group is free, and requires agreeing to a limited IPR requirement so that W3C can use your work while keeping the finished guidelines free from royalties or fees for use. It puts you on the mailing list, allows you to attend meetings (if you want), and to publish on the wiki. People who wish to contribute to the Github repo for prototypes should contact us for access. (Permissions are still manual).
Read the Suggestions blog post, take a few minutes to join the Silver Community Group, and start jot down some ideas. To join the Silver Community Group:
The Silver Task Force and the W3C Silver Community Group are performing the preliminary work for the successor to the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG). The Silver Design Sprint of March 19 & 20 held at San Diego State University addresses problem statements identified by the year of research completed by the Silver Task Force, the Silver Community Group, and their research partners. This research was used to develop 11 problem statements that needed to be solved for Silver. The detailed problem statements include the specific problem, the result of the problem, the situation and priority, and the opportunity presented by the problem. The problem statement were organized into three main areas: Usability, Conformance, Maintenance.
Suggestions from Silver Task Force and Community Group
These recommendations come from the members of the Silver Task Force and Community Group after discussing the results of the Design Sprint. The full report of the Design Sprint is publicly available. The context of the recommendations is specific to the Design Sprint and will intersect with other needs of the project. Therefore, not all recommendations will necessarily be implemented as suggested, but provide an important base of input to future planning.
Take existing WCAG 2.1 guidance and rewrite it in plain language using editors with simple language or plain language experience. The existing success criteria may need to be updated, but most of WCAG 2.1 guidance is still valid. It needs more clarity, ease of reading and ease of translation.
Organize the data in small snippets that can be coded and categorized so they can be assembled dynamically to meet the needs of the person looking for information.
Create a comprehensive view for W3C Technical Report purposes, and for those who need to view the total document.
Create a solution that addresses the needs of people to find information by role, problem, by disability, and by platform. How can people discover what they need to know?
Design a homepage that is oriented toward helping beginners that is separate from the W3C Technical Report. Include shortcuts for expert users who know what they want (e.g a code sample for an accessible tab panel)
Design a conformance structure and style guides that shift emphasis from “testability” to “measureability” so that guidance can be included that is not conducive to a pass/fail test. Pass/ fail tests can be included, but they are not the only way to measure conformance.
Develop scorecard or rubric measures for testing task accomplishment, instead of technical page conformance.
Develop a point and ranking system that will allow more nuanced measurement of the content or product: e.g. a bronze, silver, gold, platinum rating where the bronze rating represents the minimal conformance (roughly equivalent to meeting WCAG 2 AA), and increasing ranks include inclusive design principles, task-based assessment, and usability testing.
Include a definition and concept for “substantially meets” so people are not excessively penalized for bugs that may not have a large impact on the experience of people with disabilities.
Remove “accessibility supported” as an author responsibility and provide guidance to authoring tools, browsers and assistive technology developers of the expected behaviors of their products.
Develop a more flexible method of claiming conformance that is better suited to accommodate dynamic or more regularly updated content.
Develop a core of rarely-changing requirements (normative) with modules of platform oriented advice, examples, tests, and support materials that can be updated as technology changes.
Develop a method for accessibility experts to contribute new content, such as design patterns, codes and tests, where the experts vote material up and down without waiting for working group approval.
Change the working group process to include Community Group participation.
Improve access to specification development tools (e.g. Github) so that people with disabilities can more easily participate in spec development, whether through new or modified tooling. There are existing efforts that can be incorporated and improved on.
Develop specification content a small amount of guidance at a time, and fully develop the content before including it in the spec. Keep a public schedule when issues will be worked on, so the public can contribute in a timely manner.
Keep a changelog of all changes to the spec so it is easy for reviewers to find the changes.
All the problem statements (and other ideas) need prototypes for the group to evaluate. The following problem statements need more detailed ideas and prototypes, as they were not directly addressed in the Design Sprint prototypes:
The suggestions all need more design and development into working prototypes. The Silver project participants invite you to share ideas and prototypes with us.
As part of our work on reimagining accessibility guidelines, the Silver Task Force is running a number of surveys on different topics.
In this survey, we want to hear from people familiar with W3C’s Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 on the usability of WCAG’s Level A and AA success criteria. Your feedback will help make future accessibility guidelines as usable as possible.
As the Silver Task Force group is working on survey and interview questions regarding WCAG conformance, here are a few articles to start with. Some of articles may not be accessible if they are copyrighted.
Brajnik, Giorgio, Yeliz Yesilada, and Simon Harper. 2010. “Testability and Validity of WCAG 2.0: The Expertise Effect.” In Proceedings of the 12th International ACM SIGACCESS Conference on Computers and Accessibility, 43–50. ASSETS ’10. New York, NY, USA: ACM. doi:10.1145/1878803.1878813.
Brajnik, Giorgio, Yeliz Yesilada, and Simon Harper. 2012. “Is Accessibility Conformance an Elusive Property? A Study of Validity and Reliability of WCAG 2.0.” ACM Trans. Access. Comput. 4 (2): 8:1–8:28. doi:10.1145/2141943.2141946.
Please suggest articles in regards to WCAG conformance research via posting comments or send an email to JaEun Jemma Ku, email@example.com to join Zotero W3C Silver Group library.
As part of the Silver Task Force’s activity, we’ll be conducting surveys with:
a range of different stakeholder groups who use W3C accessibility guidelines as part of their work. This might include people who work in user experience, design, development, product management, policymaking, legal, education and other relevant areas.
people with disabilities who use the Web and who benefit from quality accessibility guidelines
We’ve been working on defining a core set of questions we’ll ask all stakeholder groups. We’re also developing additional questions to ask specific groups.
We would very much like to ensure that the surveys reach as many people as possible around the world. This means we want to have versions of the surveys in as many different languages as possible. To do this, we need help with:
translation of survey text,
distribution of surveys, and
analysis of survey data collected in different languages.
If you can help, please contact the Silver Task Force with details of the language you’re able to help us with, and how you can help. You can do that by adding a comment to this blog post or sending an email to the Silver Community Group mailing list.
To create more effective accessibility guidelines, W3C Silver Project Taskforce designed both user research and background research. As part of background research, literature/article review and analysis will provide systematic examination about the technical, cultural, and practical aspects of current state of WCAG. Please visit W3C Silver literature review page to see proposed research questions.
What is the Objective?
Offer an overview of significant literature published on Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG)
Share what knowledge and ideas have been established on WCAG
Find what their strengths and weaknesses of existing researches on WCAG
Identify research gap as well as literature outside of accessibility professionals/researchers
The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 were made a W3C recommendation on 11 December 2008. Since that time, individuals and organizations have adapted WCAG in different ways. We believe we can gain insights into what’s needed for the next-generation accessibility guidelines by studying those adaptations—the thinking behind them, the changes made, the effectiveness of the adaptations.
We are particularly interested in:
What led up to the decision to create a WCAG adaptation?
In the adaptation, what is dropped? What is added?
Are there changes to the structure of the guidelines?
What content is changed, or reworded, and why?
We welcome input and insights on any aspect of WCAG adaptations that might help us gain deeper understanding into what is needed moving forward. Please share your thoughts in the comments section or via the firstname.lastname@example.org mailing list.
We are aware there is ongoing research and exploration of WCAG adaptions. If you know of research activities or have been involved in activities yourself, please email JaEun Jemma Ku at email@example.com. Also, please consider contributing to our Literature Review Project.