WebAIM - Web Accessibility In Mind

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Re: Proposal for an online, crowdsourced accessibility testing platform


From: Jared Smith
Date: Aug 25, 2010 8:36AM

We've mulled around the idea of taking this approach with a future
WebAIM screen reader survey - presenting various paired samples and
asking which is more accessible. The fundamental problem and
difficulty with this approach is that things that are inaccessible are
inaccessible - you'd have to be very careful that you're asking the
questions and presenting the samples in a way that is useful and gives
you accurate data. It is quite likely that a screen reader user could
identify something as being the most accessible while a significant
amount of inaccessible content or functionality was not presented to
them. How would they know the content is missing?

It's difficult to analyze the accessibility of distinct elements in a
vacuum entirely separated from a broader web page or online

WebAIM would be interested in collaborating on such a project. We
actually have quite a few ideas noted already.

Jared Smith

On Tue, Aug 24, 2010 at 8:44 PM, Chris Hoffman < <EMAIL REMOVED> > wrote:
> Hello everyone,
> I've been reading this list for several years now, and it's been hard
> not to notice that many, if not most, of the questions posed are of
> the form, "Is writing HTML like such-and-such accessible?" or "What is
> the most accessible way to put X on my web page?"
> It has also become apparent, time and again, that although there are
> many ways to increase the accessibility of content online, such as
> adhering to WCAG guidelines or using online accessibility checkers
> like WAVE or Cynthia Says, the only way to _really_ ensure that
> content is accessible is to test it with actual people with actual
> disabilities who are using actual assistive technology. That is, a web
> page that passes all of the automated accessibility checks and adheres
> to accessibility standards is not accessible unless it can be used by
> real people.
> To that end, I have had the following idea rolling around in my head
> for quite a while: Why not create a site that presents pairs of
> alternative HTML snippets and asks users out in the universe whether
> each one is more of less accessible? Visitors could (anonymously)
> record their choices ("A is slightly more accessible than B"), as well
> as any specific notes and the assistive technology they were using,
> and the resulting data could be made available to web designers and
> developers.
> My first question is, does anything like this (namely, open A/B
> testing for accessibility) already exist?
> The second is, regardless of the answer to the first question, whether
> there is anyone on this list who would be interested in collaborating
> on such a project?
> I'm taking it as a given that there are lots of questions that would
> need to be answered to make this actually work, but for now am taking
> the initial step of getting it out of my head and into the open.
> Thanks & regards,
> Chris