WebAIM - Web Accessibility In Mind

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Re: Proposal for an online, crowdsourced accessibility testing platform


From: Ben Caldwell
Date: Aug 27, 2010 4:03PM

Hi Chris,

As WCAG 2.0 was entering the candidate recommendation stage in late
2008, we built an experimental tool to collect data on accessibility
support for a variety of technology uses and techniques. While it does
not include the ability to directly compare different techniques, it is
similar in many ways to what you're describing.

Accessibility Supported

Behind the scenes, the site includes a basic interface that allows users
to submit test results with comments about what they found. Users with
appropriate permissions can then compare submitted test results with
existing data and collaborate on whether the results should be published.

Jared is right that it's difficult to look at some of this in a vacuum.
It's also a challenge to gather data that is useful over time given the
frequency with which new versions of operating systems, browsers and
assistive technologies are released.

We've had limited resources for further development on this project, but
would be happy to talk with you and others who may be interested in
doing something like this about what we learned in the process.



Ben Caldwell |< <EMAIL REMOVED> >
Trace Research and Development Center<http://trace.wisc.edu>;

On 08/24/2010 09:44 PM, Chris Hoffman 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