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:
- Persuading Others
- Evolving Technologies
The suggestions all need more design and development into working prototypes. The Silver project participants invite you to share ideas and prototypes with us.
Interested in helping contribute? Join the Silver Community Group and reach out to the Silver Task Force at firstname.lastname@example.org. The Silver Community Group is open to the public and only requires a free W3C account. If you have an account but have lost the password, you can recover your W3C password.