[games_access] URGENT: WCAG2 and people with learning disabilities
richard at audiogames.net
Sat May 27 15:49:28 EDT 2006
Accessibility is part of the Dutch National Center of Excellence and member
of the EU eAccessibility interim Expert Group. In 2003, we advised the EU on
techniques and methodologies for evaluating Web accessibility. As a member
of W3C we participate in work for the Web Accessibility Initiative (EOWG and
*quote end* (http://www.accessibility.nl/algemeen/over?languageId=2)
So hopefully you understand that "them" includes me and Sander and our
What I have come to learn in the years I dealt with web accessibility is
that it *is* complicated matter that should not be taken lightly. Guidelines
like WCAG *define* what web accessibility *is* - *for all disabilities*. The
problem is, next to WCAG, there are many national guidelines and
international guidelines out there. There are 30+ logo's that people can put
on their website to show that they're accessible. There are checktools that
claim they can check 100% of the accessibility of a website. But all of
these tools and logo's and guidelines differ from each other and leave room
for interpretation of how accessible web accessibility is.
I believe nobody is really happy with this and in my experience many people
want to harmonise all of these guidelines, logo's and tools. But, as
standardisation goes, nobody agrees on the standard. Industries and big
companies, for example, want to stick to their own (often a self-regulation)
standard - if companies agree among themselves it is accessible, then it is.
Which it almost never isn't of course, when compared to other standards.
Governments deal with foundations that work together with W3C and that
promote WCAG, while on the other hand the accessibility of those government
websites are checked by institutions which use their own checking methods
and standards. Sometimes governments rather want to stick with a check tool,
since that's simple and cheap.
The reason that guidelines like WCAG will make your head spin after 10
minutes of reading is that it tries to define what web accessibility is
without leaving room for interpretation. This is important, especially for
government and company websites, since they are likely to be sued if they
don't comply with the guidelines. It's usually quite easy to prove that a
person with a visual handicap cannot access a certain part of a website
since the information isn't routed to his braillereader (because the text is
an image and not ASCII text). But it is a lot harder to define whether or
not a certain image contains important information or is just decoration.
The link Barrie referred was an interesting read and I agree with many of
the author's compaints (especially the "programmatically determined" ;) ).
However, what alternative is there? Jonathan wrote that "there are
guidelines published by other groups that will make content much more
accessible to these (learning disabled) users.". The problem is that if you
define web accessibility by multiple interpretations groups (from different
countries), then there is no standard. You might end up with a government
saying: we're accessible for the deaf according to the X standard,
accessible for learning disabled according to Y standard, etc... in that
waying selecting those standards that fit their website the best. I know
this is not what Jonathan is saying, but I think that this might be what it
would come down to. And what if those standards do not comply with each
other? Who defines that? By the way, any organisation that has published
guidelines for making content much more accessible, would be dumb if they
would not join the WCAG development team - in order to get their guidelines
into WCAG and make sure that other guidelines in WCAG comply with their own?
Michelle said that:
You might want to make an accessible website but who wants to read through
manuals of stuff that looks more like machine code than "guidelines".
But you have to know that many professional webdesigners do. Do not
underestimate that, it is their field and they can even have a financial
benefit if they can design accessible websites and their competitant can't.
A cook should also be able to read a recipe and cook for someone on a diet.
Again, I agree that the documents take effort to read. So I would personally
prefer a simplified front end version that is easy to read and explains the
basics, etc. to (quote) "...anyone trying make a simple webpage". *BUT* this
in my opinion should not be the only version, since a simpified version is
likely to leave room for interpretation.
Honestly, based on my experience, I can't imagine that WCAG 2.0 does not
leave a single inch of interpretation. But I do think that it narrows down
Next to this all: the internet keeps developing dynamically. "Web 2.0
apps/environments" like MySpace, YouTube, Flickr turn consumers into
prosumers, websurfers into webbuilders. Anyone who has ever tried to add an
alternative to their movie on YouTube or their pics on Flickr will know that
they can't do so (in a way that is accessible according to the majority of
web accessibility guidelines). But who knows what shape the internet is next
year, or the year after? Games, multimedia and websites will blend more and
more untill "add text alternative to any non-text element" like now simply
isn't enough anymore...
Instead of voting against initiatives like WCAG, I would personally first
like to see/hear the alternatives - since I have not encountered anything
disclaimer: this post describes my personal opinions which are not, by
definition, the opinion of the Accessibility foundation - just so you
----- Original Message -----
From: "d. michelle hinn" <hinn at uiuc.edu>
To: "IGDA Games Accessibility SIG Mailing List" <games_access at igda.org>
Sent: Friday, May 26, 2006 7:02 PM
Subject: Re: [games_access] URGENT: WCAG2 and people with learning
> Yeah, I agree about the W3C stuff and that's why I really am fighting hard
> to make sure we don't end up like them, with these crazy guidelines that
> are completely inaccessible to anyone trying make a simple webpage (game).
> You might want to make an accessible website but who wants to read through
> manuals of stuff that looks more like machine code than "guidelines."
>>Guess you're talking about this kind of thing:
>>Have to agree with the statement on W3C articles being hard to comprehend
>>if you are a bit dopey like me.
>>Hope we never get to this stage...
>>p.s. - http://www.plainenglish.co.uk/ might have helped them?
>>----- Original Message ----- From: "Jonathan Chetwynd"
>><j.chetwynd at btinternet.com>
>>To: "IGDA Games Accessibility SIG Mailing List" <games_access at igda.org>
>>Sent: Friday, May 26, 2006 2:35 PM
>>Subject: [games_access] URGENT: WCAG2 and people with learning
>>>URGENT: WCAG2 and people with learning disabilities
>>>If any IGDA members have experience of working with people with learning
>>>disabilities could they please contact me off-list?
>>>WCAG2 is going to recommendation within the next few days. An informal
>>>group is currently considering posting a formal objection in respect of
>>>this user group, and would welcome appropriate support.
>>>games_access mailing list
>>>games_access at igda.org
>>games_access mailing list
>>games_access at igda.org
> games_access mailing list
> games_access at igda.org
More information about the games_access