Beyond web accessibility providing a holistic user experience
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Beyond Web Accessibility: Providing A Holistic User Experience. Brian Kelly UKOLN University of Bath Bath. Lawrie Phipps JISC TechDis Service York. Where Are We Now?. Current status on Web accessibility: Widespread awareness within institutional Web management community

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Beyond web accessibility providing a holistic user experience

Beyond Web Accessibility: Providing A Holistic User Experience

Brian Kelly

UKOLN

University of Bath

Bath

Lawrie Phipps

JISC TechDis Service

York


Where are we now

Where Are We Now?

  • Current status on Web accessibility:

    • Widespread awareness within institutional Web management community

    • Widespread support for implementation

    • Sharing of approaches, discussions, etc.

  • But:

    • Implementation challenges

    • Lack of clarity of what exactly we should do

    • Still ambiguities (cf DRC report)

    • Have things changes since WAI WCAG 1.0 released?


Accessibility survey

Accessibility Survey

  • Survey of UK HEI home pages carried out in August 2002 and repeated in June 2004

  • Used Bobby – so only objective criteria measured

  • Findings20022004

  • WAI AA compliant37

  • WAI A compliant7093

See <http://www.ukoln.ac.uk/web-focus/events/workshops/webmaster-2004/talks/phipps-kelly/survey/>

Reminder: this is probably an over-estimate of compliance. Problems which can only be spotted with manual detection can reduce these figures.

Also note that this is just the home page – not the entire Web site!


What can we conclude

What Can We Conclude?

  • What can we conclude from the lack of WAI WCAG AAA compliance and small percentage of AA compliance:

    • The community doesn't care about Web accessibility

    • WCAG AAA and AA compliance is difficult to achieve (even on a single, high profile page)

    • There are other issues to consider


Wai wcag aa and aaa

WAI WCAG AA and AAA

  • In order to achieve WAI WCAG AA compliance:

    • Avoid deprecated features (e.g. FONT)

    • Use W3C technologies when available and appropriate (no Flash, MS Word or PowerPoint)

    • .. use the latest versions [of W3C formats]

    • Create documents that validate to published formal grammars (i.e. HTML must be valid)

  • In order to achieve WAI WCAG AAA compliance:

    • Provide information so that users may receive documents according to their preferences (i.e. markup language)

    • Specify document collections with the LINK element and "rel" and "rev"


Concerns over wai wcag

Concerns Over WAI WCAG

  • Guidelines Too Theoretical

    • Some WCAG guidelines appear theoretical

    • WCAG seeks to promote W3C standards (including new ones) in addition to addressing mainstream accessibility issues

    • Overall WAI approach is dependent on content, authoring tools and user agent guidelines – the latter two are outside the remit of Web authors

  • Developments Outside Of W3C

    • WAI has succeeded in raising awareness of accessibility – and commercial sector has responded (cf. accessibility in OS, proprietary formats, …)


Standards or guidelines

Use GIF images or FONT tags? Use HTML 4.0? HTML validation errors? WAI A is best you can achieve!

11.1Use W3C technologies when they are available and appropriate for a task and use the latest versions when supported. [Priority 2]

Standards Or Guidelines

  • Are WAI's Web Content Accessibility Guidelines:

    • Pragmatic and much needed guidelines which can help authors to make Web pages more accessible

    • To be interpreted and applied sensibly

  • or:

    • Mandatory standards which must be implemented in order to (a) claim WAI compliance and (b) abide with legislation

    • No room for interpretation


Wai wcag flaws

  • DRC Web Site

    • DRC Web site is not AA compliant, despite AAA logo on home page and report still not HTML

Conclusions

If treating WCAG as rigourous standard is flawed what should we do?

BK LP

WAI WCAG Flaws

  • Logical Flaws

    • On 1 Aug 2002 when XHTML 1.0 released WAI AA pages became A (unless immediately upgraded)

  • W3C Web Site

    • W3C Web site is not AA compliant


Why are we doing what we are doing now

Why are we doing what we are doing now?

  • Why are we asking the question “what standard of accessibility do we design to?”

    • The original concept was for guidelines

    • This translated to standards (BBSI)

    • Many Web teams now talk of ‘compliance’

  • Why? Who is driving the evolution from a guide to a requirement?


The w3c web user

The W3C Web User


The student experience

The Student Experience


So what should that mean

So what should that mean?

  • Pragmatism is the key

  • Education is a holistic experience (it not just about the web)

  • Develop a policy, meet the standards, but above all, consider all users!


Techdis ukoln approach

TechDis – UKOLN Approach

  • Recognising external pressures e.g. funders, QAA, …

  • Recognising local technical infrastructure

  • Recognising material objective

  • Recognising learning and teaching

Remember legislation expects organisations to take "reasonable measures


Conclusions

Conclusions

  • Select the guidelines / standards that mean something to the context of the material

  • Work with staff needing to deliver the material

  • Develop strategies that reflect flexibility in meeting user need

  • Test the system against guidelines – but prioritise users!


Questions

Questions

  • Any questions, comments, etc?


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