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Thread: focus indicators and usability studies

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Number of posts in this thread: 13 (In chronological order)

From: deborah.kaplan@suberic.net
Date: Thu, Jun 12 2014 2:34PM
Subject: focus indicators and usability studies
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I'm being asked for usability studies to support the notion that we shouldn't remove focus indicators. Most of my go to articles for focus indicators take for granted that since WCAG and Section 508 extremely explicit about focus indicators, that's enough. But in this particular case, in order to convince the designers, I think I'll need to pull out some usability studies. Has anyone done usability or UX studies covering focus indicators? I was sure I knew of some but now I can't find them.

Thanks,

Deborah Kaplan

From: Karl Groves
Date: Thu, Jun 12 2014 3:01PM
Subject: Re: focus indicators and usability studies
← Previous message | Next message →

"I'm being asked for usability studies to support the notion that we
shouldn't remove focus indicators."

Man, is that ever a case for a guerilla usability test!

Here's my idea: Grab Mr or Mrs. Naysayer and travel from desk-to-desk
throughout the building. At each desk, have the person go to the site/ page
in question, load the page, and hit the tab key 10x. Then ask them what
will happen when they hit the Enter key.

Stop when Mr or Mrs. Naysayer beg for forgiveness.

;-)


On Thu, Jun 12, 2014 at 4:34 PM, < = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED = > wrote:

> I'm being asked for usability studies to support the notion that we
> shouldn't remove focus indicators. Most of my go to articles for focus
> indicators take for granted that since WCAG and Section 508 extremely
> explicit about focus indicators, that's enough. But in this particular
> case, in order to convince the designers, I think I'll need to pull out
> some usability studies. Has anyone done usability or UX studies covering
> focus indicators? I was sure I knew of some but now I can't find them.
>
> Thanks,
>
> Deborah Kaplan
> > > >



--

Karl Groves
www.karlgroves.com
@karlgroves
http://www.linkedin.com/in/karlgroves
Phone: +1 410.541.6829

www.tenon.io

What is this thing and what does it do?
http://vimeo.com/84970341

http://lanyrd.com/profile/karlgroves/

From: Kevin White
Date: Thu, Jun 12 2014 3:22PM
Subject: Re: focus indicators and usability studies
← Previous message | Next message →

I am curious, do they have usability studies for all design decisions that they make? Do they have any that show that removal of focus indicators *is* a good idea?

Kevin

On 12 Jun 2014, at 21:34, = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED = wrote:

> I'm being asked for usability studies to support the notion that we shouldn't remove focus indicators. Most of my go to articles for focus indicators take for granted that since WCAG and Section 508 extremely explicit about focus indicators, that's enough. But in this particular case, in order to convince the designers, I think I'll need to pull out some usability studies. Has anyone done usability or UX studies covering focus indicators? I was sure I knew of some but now I can't find them.
>
> Thanks,
>
> Deborah Kaplan
> > >

From: Katie Haritos-Shea GMAIL
Date: Thu, Jun 12 2014 5:19PM
Subject: Re: focus indicators and usability studies
← Previous message | Next message →

Another idea would be to have " Mr. or Mrs. Naysayer" take their tablet
outside along with their lunch. Have them (try to) follow Karl' steps in his
suggested use case - outside.......



* katie *
 
Katie Haritos-Shea
Senior Accessibility SME (WCAG/Section 508/ADA/AODA)
 
Cell: 703-371-5545 | = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED = | Oakton, VA | LinkedIn Profile |
Office: 703-371-5545

-----Original Message-----
From: = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED =
[mailto: = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED = ] On Behalf Of Karl Groves
Sent: Thursday, June 12, 2014 5:01 PM
To: WebAIM Discussion List
Subject: Re: [WebAIM] focus indicators and usability studies

"I'm being asked for usability studies to support the notion that we
shouldn't remove focus indicators."

Man, is that ever a case for a guerilla usability test!

Here's my idea: Grab Mr or Mrs. Naysayer and travel from desk-to-desk
throughout the building. At each desk, have the person go to the site/ page
in question, load the page, and hit the tab key 10x. Then ask them what
will happen when they hit the Enter key.

Stop when Mr or Mrs. Naysayer beg for forgiveness.

;-)


On Thu, Jun 12, 2014 at 4:34 PM, < = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED = > wrote:

> I'm being asked for usability studies to support the notion that we
> shouldn't remove focus indicators. Most of my go to articles for focus
> indicators take for granted that since WCAG and Section 508 extremely
> explicit about focus indicators, that's enough. But in this particular
> case, in order to convince the designers, I think I'll need to pull
> out some usability studies. Has anyone done usability or UX studies
> covering focus indicators? I was sure I knew of some but now I can't find
them.
>
> Thanks,
>
> Deborah Kaplan
> > > list messages to = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED =
>



--

Karl Groves
www.karlgroves.com
@karlgroves
http://www.linkedin.com/in/karlgroves
Phone: +1 410.541.6829

www.tenon.io

What is this thing and what does it do?
http://vimeo.com/84970341

http://lanyrd.com/profile/karlgroves/
messages to = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED =

From: David Ashleydale
Date: Thu, Jun 12 2014 6:01PM
Subject: Re: focus indicators and usability studies
← Previous message | Next message →

I don't know of any usability studies on this topic either, but I would be
curious to find out if there are particular instances where they would like
to remove the visual focus indicators. Surely they're not saying that they
think all visual focus indicators should go away. That is very easy to
demonstrate the folly of as the others have pointed out. But maybe there is
some corner case that they are trying to make a case for.

David

On Thursday, June 12, 2014, Katie Haritos-Shea GMAIL < = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED = >
wrote:

> Another idea would be to have " Mr. or Mrs. Naysayer" take their tablet
> outside along with their lunch. Have them (try to) follow Karl' steps in
> his
> suggested use case - outside.......
>
>
>
> * katie *
>
> Katie Haritos-Shea
> Senior Accessibility SME (WCAG/Section 508/ADA/AODA)
>
> Cell: 703-371-5545 | = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED = <javascript:;> | Oakton, VA |
> LinkedIn Profile |
> Office: 703-371-5545
>
> -----Original Message-----
> From: = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED = <javascript:;>
> [mailto: = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED = <javascript:;>] On Behalf Of
> Karl Groves
> Sent: Thursday, June 12, 2014 5:01 PM
> To: WebAIM Discussion List
> Subject: Re: [WebAIM] focus indicators and usability studies
>
> "I'm being asked for usability studies to support the notion that we
> shouldn't remove focus indicators."
>
> Man, is that ever a case for a guerilla usability test!
>
> Here's my idea: Grab Mr or Mrs. Naysayer and travel from desk-to-desk
> throughout the building. At each desk, have the person go to the site/ page
> in question, load the page, and hit the tab key 10x. Then ask them what
> will happen when they hit the Enter key.
>
> Stop when Mr or Mrs. Naysayer beg for forgiveness.
>
> ;-)
>
>
> On Thu, Jun 12, 2014 at 4:34 PM, < = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED =
> <javascript:;>> wrote:
>
> > I'm being asked for usability studies to support the notion that we
> > shouldn't remove focus indicators. Most of my go to articles for focus
> > indicators take for granted that since WCAG and Section 508 extremely
> > explicit about focus indicators, that's enough. But in this particular
> > case, in order to convince the designers, I think I'll need to pull
> > out some usability studies. Has anyone done usability or UX studies
> > covering focus indicators? I was sure I knew of some but now I can't find
> them.
> >
> > Thanks,
> >
> > Deborah Kaplan
> > > > > > list messages to = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED = <javascript:;>
> >
>
>
>
> --
>
> Karl Groves
> www.karlgroves.com
> @karlgroves
> http://www.linkedin.com/in/karlgroves
> Phone: +1 410.541.6829
>
> www.tenon.io
>
> What is this thing and what does it do?
> http://vimeo.com/84970341
>
> http://lanyrd.com/profile/karlgroves/
> > > messages to = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED = <javascript:;>
>
> > > >

From: Iaffaldano, Michelangelo
Date: Fri, Jun 13 2014 11:45AM
Subject: Re: focus indicators and usability studies
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If your designers do not trust WAI perhaps they will believe the Nielsen Norman Group? As usual they link to their own research, some of it free:
http://www.nngroup.com/articles/keyboard-accessibility/


Regards,
Michelangelo

-----Original Message-----
From: = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED = [mailto: = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED = ]
Sent: June 12, 2014 4:35 PM
To: WebAIM Discussion List
Subject: [WebAIM] focus indicators and usability studies

I'm being asked for usability studies to support the notion that we shouldn't remove focus indicators. Most of my go to articles for focus indicators take for granted that since WCAG and Section 508 extremely explicit about focus indicators, that's enough. But in this particular case, in order to convince the designers, I think I'll need to pull out some usability studies. Has anyone done usability or UX studies covering focus indicators? I was sure I knew of some but now I can't find them.

Thanks,

Deborah Kaplan

From: Denis Boudreau
Date: Fri, Jun 13 2014 12:07PM
Subject: Re: focus indicators and usability studies
← Previous message | Next message →

Deborah,

Why not simply have those designers go through a site that removed keyboard focus indication and let them figure out where they are? Above and beyond usability research, the simple experience of tabbing through a site where keyboard focus has been completely removed should be enough to convince even the most stubborn of designers...

A fantastic example of focus indicator suckiness in all its glory awaits for you here: http://www.ci.wilmington.de.us/ [1] - for extra fun as you drive your point home, ask them to locate specific information on that website about the day where trash is picked up, without using their mouse...

[1] In all fairness, I found this example in one of Elle Waters' presentation during AccessU last month. So the credit goes to her and Derek Featherstone from Simply Accessible for coming up with the website example.

/Denis



On Jun 13, 2014, at 1:45 PM, Iaffaldano, Michelangelo < = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED = > wrote:

> If your designers do not trust WAI perhaps they will believe the Nielsen Norman Group? As usual they link to their own research, some of it free:
> http://www.nngroup.com/articles/keyboard-accessibility/
>
>
> Regards,
> Michelangelo
>
> -----Original Message-----
> From: = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED = [mailto: = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED = ]
> Sent: June 12, 2014 4:35 PM
> To: WebAIM Discussion List
> Subject: [WebAIM] focus indicators and usability studies
>
> I'm being asked for usability studies to support the notion that we shouldn't remove focus indicators. Most of my go to articles for focus indicators take for granted that since WCAG and Section 508 extremely explicit about focus indicators, that's enough. But in this particular case, in order to convince the designers, I think I'll need to pull out some usability studies. Has anyone done usability or UX studies covering focus indicators? I was sure I knew of some but now I can't find them.
>
> Thanks,
>
> Deborah Kaplan
>
> > >

From: Denis Boudreau
Date: Fri, Jun 13 2014 12:10PM
Subject: Re: focus indicators and usability studies
← Previous message | Next message →

And for the record, they never said it sucked, they just pointed us to the website and let us figure it out on our own. I am the one who said it did. Gotta love those mega menus.

/Denis




On Jun 13, 2014, at 2:07 PM, Denis Boudreau < = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED = > wrote:

> Deborah,
>
> Why not simply have those designers go through a site that removed keyboard focus indication and let them figure out where they are? Above and beyond usability research, the simple experience of tabbing through a site where keyboard focus has been completely removed should be enough to convince even the most stubborn of designers...
>
> A fantastic example of focus indicator suckiness in all its glory awaits for you here: http://www.ci.wilmington.de.us/ [1] - for extra fun as you drive your point home, ask them to locate specific information on that website about the day where trash is picked up, without using their mouse...
>
> [1] In all fairness, I found this example in one of Elle Waters' presentation during AccessU last month. So the credit goes to her and Derek Featherstone from Simply Accessible for coming up with the website example.
>
> /Denis
>
>
>
> On Jun 13, 2014, at 1:45 PM, Iaffaldano, Michelangelo < = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED = > wrote:
>
>> If your designers do not trust WAI perhaps they will believe the Nielsen Norman Group? As usual they link to their own research, some of it free:
>> http://www.nngroup.com/articles/keyboard-accessibility/
>>
>>
>> Regards,
>> Michelangelo
>>
>> -----Original Message-----
>> From: = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED = [mailto: = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED = ]
>> Sent: June 12, 2014 4:35 PM
>> To: WebAIM Discussion List
>> Subject: [WebAIM] focus indicators and usability studies
>>
>> I'm being asked for usability studies to support the notion that we shouldn't remove focus indicators. Most of my go to articles for focus indicators take for granted that since WCAG and Section 508 extremely explicit about focus indicators, that's enough. But in this particular case, in order to convince the designers, I think I'll need to pull out some usability studies. Has anyone done usability or UX studies covering focus indicators? I was sure I knew of some but now I can't find them.
>>
>> Thanks,
>>
>> Deborah Kaplan
>>
>> >> >> >

From: deborah.kaplan@suberic.net
Date: Fri, Jun 13 2014 12:12PM
Subject: Re: focus indicators and usability studies
← Previous message | Next message →

You folks made me laugh a lot with your responses. If I had
direct access to the Naysayers in question I absolutely would do
those things. :D

Kevin's question in particular made me smile:

> I am curious, do they have usability studies for all design decisions that they make? Do they have any that show that removal of focus indicators *is* a good idea?

I'm having happy dreams at the moment of an imaginary world where
design decisions are actually made this way (which would include
paying attention to the usability studies about how much users
really hate change).

I think Michelangelo's link from NNG is exactly what I needed --
now hopefully they will listen. (I don't think there's a
usability use case they are trying to meet with removing focus
indicators, although like I said I don't have direct access to
the people making those decisions. I think it's more that they
don't necessarily understand why they exist, and "usability
study" is more convincing language to them.

Thank you, all!

Deborah

From: Nancy Johnson
Date: Mon, Jun 16 2014 6:04AM
Subject: Re: focus indicators and usability studies
← Previous message | Next message →

Let me know if I am wrong, but there was a period a few years back
that Eric Meyers original reset.css removed the focus.

Our client has a few legacy sites developed at the time. I did
accessibility testing on these sites and indicated one of the reasons
it didn't pass WCAG 2.0 AA because of lack of focus, I indicated the
very low Level of Effort it would take to fix the issue. Haven't heard
anything yet.

If designers/developers were trained during this period. they may hang
onto old ways(?)

Nancy

On Fri, Jun 13, 2014 at 2:12 PM, < = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED = > wrote:
> You folks made me laugh a lot with your responses. If I had
> direct access to the Naysayers in question I absolutely would do
> those things. :D
>
> Kevin's question in particular made me smile:
>
>
>> I am curious, do they have usability studies for all design decisions that
>> they make? Do they have any that show that removal of focus indicators *is*
>> a good idea?
>
>
> I'm having happy dreams at the moment of an imaginary world where
> design decisions are actually made this way (which would include
> paying attention to the usability studies about how much users
> really hate change).
>
> I think Michelangelo's link from NNG is exactly what I needed --
> now hopefully they will listen. (I don't think there's a
> usability use case they are trying to meet with removing focus
> indicators, although like I said I don't have direct access to
> the people making those decisions. I think it's more that they
> don't necessarily understand why they exist, and "usability
> study" is more convincing language to them.
>
> Thank you, all!
>
> Deborah
>
> > >

From: Jukka K. Korpela
Date: Mon, Jun 16 2014 6:59AM
Subject: Re: focus indicators and usability studies
← Previous message | Next message →

2014-06-16 15:04, Nancy Johnson wrote:

> Let me know if I am wrong, but there was a period a few years back
> that Eric Meyers original reset.css removed the focus.

I'm not sure exactly which version is Eric Meyer's original reset.css,
but the version that is very often cited, from 2007, has nothing to do
with focus:
http://meyerweb.com/eric/tools/css/reset/

Indirectly, stylesheets meant to remove browser differences in a bulky
way, usually called "reset CSS" or "CSS reset", might indirectly remove
visual focus indication. For example, removing outline would often
remove at least part of the indication. But Meyer's 2007 version does
not do anything with outline. It does set border: 0 for a large number
of elements, including <a>, so if your code tries to indicate focus with
border and your page uses that reset.css, you need to override this effect.

> Our client has a few legacy sites developed at the time. I did
> accessibility testing on these sites and indicated one of the reasons
> it didn't pass WCAG 2.0 AA because of lack of focus, I indicated the
> very low Level of Effort it would take to fix the issue.

I wonder what the problem might have been. I can imagine a site removing
the default focus indicators in graphic browsers, the dotted outline,
and using borders for the purposes instead. But surely it would then
need to set the border property in manner that overrides reset.css in
this respect. But maybe there is a clever way to run into a trouble
here. :-)

Yucca

From: Sean Curtis
Date: Mon, Jun 16 2014 3:35PM
Subject: Re: focus indicators and usability studies
← Previous message | Next message →

Hi Nancy,

Eric wrote about the resetting of outline (and it's subsequent removal) in his reset.css file: http://meyerweb.com/eric/thoughts/2011/01/03/reset-revisited/

There is also http://www.outlinenone.com which was created expressly to explain this also.

If you remove it, you need to be responsible enough to add something to replace it. I'm not sure of any studies, I'd just remove it from a large site like Wikipedia using the dev tools in a browser, and then get the person who wants the outlines removed to try and navigate the site using only the keyboard.

Cheers,

Sean

> On 16 Jun 2014, at 10:04 pm, Nancy Johnson < = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED = > wrote:
>
> Let me know if I am wrong, but there was a period a few years back
> that Eric Meyers original reset.css removed the focus.
>
> Our client has a few legacy sites developed at the time. I did
> accessibility testing on these sites and indicated one of the reasons
> it didn't pass WCAG 2.0 AA because of lack of focus, I indicated the
> very low Level of Effort it would take to fix the issue. Haven't heard
> anything yet.
>
> If designers/developers were trained during this period. they may hang
> onto old ways(?)
>
> Nancy
>
>> On Fri, Jun 13, 2014 at 2:12 PM, < = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED = > wrote:
>> You folks made me laugh a lot with your responses. If I had
>> direct access to the Naysayers in question I absolutely would do
>> those things. :D
>>
>> Kevin's question in particular made me smile:
>>
>>
>>> I am curious, do they have usability studies for all design decisions that
>>> they make? Do they have any that show that removal of focus indicators *is*
>>> a good idea?
>>
>>
>> I'm having happy dreams at the moment of an imaginary world where
>> design decisions are actually made this way (which would include
>> paying attention to the usability studies about how much users
>> really hate change).
>>
>> I think Michelangelo's link from NNG is exactly what I needed --
>> now hopefully they will listen. (I don't think there's a
>> usability use case they are trying to meet with removing focus
>> indicators, although like I said I don't have direct access to
>> the people making those decisions. I think it's more that they
>> don't necessarily understand why they exist, and "usability
>> study" is more convincing language to them.
>>
>> Thank you, all!
>>
>> Deborah
>>
>> >> >> > > >

From: Jukka K. Korpela
Date: Mon, Jun 16 2014 11:50PM
Subject: Re: focus indicators and usability studies
← Previous message | No next message

2014-06-17 0:35, Sean Curtis wrote:

> Eric wrote about the resetting of outline (and it's subsequent
> removal) in his reset.css file:
> http://meyerweb.com/eric/thoughts/2011/01/03/reset-revisited/

This is a confusing story, and Reset CSS is generally more of a source
of confusion and problems than a solution.

The 2011 article refers first to Eric's original "Reset Styles" from
April 2007, which had nothing about :focus or outline, then to his
"Reset Reloaded" from May 2007, which had :focus { outline: 0 }, then to
"CSS Tools: Reset CSS" from January 26, 2011, which is probably the
best-known and most linked-to version and that again has no :focus or
outline. But the "Reset Revisited" is from January 3, 2011, and it has
outline: 0 for many elements, including <a>, and later the commented-out
pseudo-code :focus { outline: ?????; }, and only for that a comment says
"remember to define visible focus styles!".

> There is also http://www.outlinenone.com which was created expressly
> to explain this also.

That page has a simple and useful message, though the page is not
particularly accessible (I have to hit Ctrl+plus twice to read it
comfortably). It refers to the above-mentioned "CSS Reset", which does
not do anything to :focus or outline, yet presents code, apparently
meant to be a quotation, that sets :focus { outline: 0 } (in real code)
after a comment "remember to define focus styles!"

> If you remove it, you need to be responsible enough to add something
> to replace it.

I'm afraid the damage has been done. People who use Reset CSS use some
version of it without even thinking of its effect on focus indicators
(which depends on the version of Reset CSS they happen to be using).
Luckily many people and many frameworks use less aggressive "reset"
instead, such as Normalize.css, which removes outline from hovered and
active links only.

Besides, if designers are upset by an innocuous and often barely
noticeable one-pixel wide dotted outline, I would expect them to be even
more upset by any other visual focus indicator that we might set up.
It's probably not the specific style of focus indicators but the very
idea of having a visible focus indicator that matters here.

A better formulation is: Do not remove the focus indicators. If you
create your own focus indicators, for some good reason, consider
removing the default focus indicator, a dotted outline, if it would then
be disturbing or unnecessary.

> I'm not sure of any studies, I'd just remove it from a
> large site like Wikipedia using the dev tools in a browser, and then
> get the person who wants the outlines removed to try and navigate the
> site using only the keyboard.

Good idea, though it might be difficult to implement. People usually
want to remove "ugly dotted borders" for esthetic reasons and can't be
bothered to test usability in a mode of use that sounds odd to them. But
it might work for an intelligent person who willing to consider the
implications and pros and cons of what he wants.

Yucca