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.
We are launching this Discovering Silver Forum as part of the Silver Community Group website. The Forum is a place to share perspectives about accessibility guidelines and their role in creating inclusive digital environments. We will regularly post topics and invite discussion as comments or via the firstname.lastname@example.org mailing list.
One of the primary goals for the Silver project is to use evidence and data to inform decisions about the next-generation accessibility guidelines. The Silver Design Plan begins at the beginning, with questions about what is needed, and where there are opportunities to push forward using guidelines to support accessibility in the digital environment. In the Discovery Phase, researchers and stakeholders worldwide are working together to find answers to key research questions. From supporting policy and design decisions, teaching and learning about accessibility needs, conducting research and creating standards, and other stakeholder roles and activities, a broad range of perspectives on how accessibility guidelines are used will clarify what is needed to ensure accessibility guidelines are an effective tool for advancing accessibility.
To support work in the Discovery Phase, the Silver Task Force will regularly post research questions as prompts and open the floor for discussion. We will include your comments and perspectives among the research data, which will form the basis for Phase 2 activities of interpreting and synthesizing the data into insights to guide decision-making, as we move from research to concepts.