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Thread: Usability vs. Accessibility

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

From: Kelly Lupo
Date: Mon, Mar 21 2016 10:55AM
Subject: Usability vs. Accessibility
No previous message | Next message →

I did not want to hijack the tabindex thread, so I figured I'd start a new
one... It was mentioned at one point that there was more of a usability
issue than an accessibility one in one of the examples.

I need to explicitly define the two for an unrelated project, but I find
that I am having a hard time doing so without confusing myself (let alone
the person reading I imagine!). How do ya'll explain this difference to
someone who has little to no experience in web accessibility?

I had started with the analogy of:

- Being directed to a 404 - 'page not found' or having makes the content
inaccessible (thus also unusable),
- Whereas a page in a language you do not speak, and does not provide
pictures or a translation widget, renders the page unusable because you can
access the page - it is just harder to access the content (IE: you need a
translator of some kind).


...And then I got confused by reading other sources which seemed to say the
opposite. Affirmation or dissent and correction would be much appreciated!

Thank you in advance,
Kelly

From: KP
Date: Mon, Mar 21 2016 1:01PM
Subject: Re: Usability vs. Accessibility
← Previous message | Next message →

Quick reply. I shall consider more deeply is that a webpage may be totally accessible (ie it has semantic mark up, colour contrast etc) but is so badly designed it is unusable. Both users of accessible tech and mainstream users find it difficult/confusing to carry out the task.

Sent from my iPhone

> On 22/03/2016, at 5:55 AM, Kelly Lupo < = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED = > wrote:
>
> I did not want to hijack the tabindex thread, so I figured I'd start a new
> one... It was mentioned at one point that there was more of a usability
> issue than an accessibility one in one of the examples.
>
> I need to explicitly define the two for an unrelated project, but I find
> that I am having a hard time doing so without confusing myself (let alone
> the person reading I imagine!). How do ya'll explain this difference to
> someone who has little to no experience in web accessibility?
>
> I had started with the analogy of:
>
> - Being directed to a 404 - 'page not found' or having makes the content
> inaccessible (thus also unusable),
> - Whereas a page in a language you do not speak, and does not provide
> pictures or a translation widget, renders the page unusable because you can
> access the page - it is just harder to access the content (IE: you need a
> translator of some kind).
>
>
> ...And then I got confused by reading other sources which seemed to say the
> opposite. Affirmation or dissent and correction would be much appreciated!
>
> Thank you in advance,
> Kelly
> > > >

From: Chagnon | PubCom.com
Date: Mon, Mar 21 2016 1:49PM
Subject: Re: Usability vs. Accessibility
← Previous message | Next message →

-----Original Message-----
Quick reply. I shall consider more deeply is that a webpage may be totally accessible (ie it has semantic mark up, colour contrast etc) but is so badly designed it is unusable. Both users of accessible tech and mainstream users find it difficult/confusing to carry out the task. [End of quote]

Agree.

There's a common saying: Usability and Accessibility are twins separated at birth!

There are some vague references to "usability" in WCAG, such as make content understandable by all users (see "Understandable" of POUR). And many US federal government agencies mandate the government's Plain Language law into their accessibility compliance requirements. Plain language is a part of usability, too.

Most of our guidelines are/have been written by programmers, so naturally the guidelines tend to focus on the technical issues rather than the user experience. But for those of us in education and communication (communicating messages and ideas, not sending electrons over wires or waves of data over the air) have practiced usability for eons.

Personally, I think it's impossible to separate accessibility from usability. One without the other is complete failure to communicate.

--Bevi Chagnon

— — —
Bevi Chagnon | www.PubCom.com | = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED =
Technologists, Consultants, Trainers, Designers, and Developers
for publishing & communication
| PRINT | WEB | PDF | EPUB | Sec. 508 ACCESSIBILITY |
— — —

From: _mallory
Date: Tue, Mar 22 2016 11:52AM
Subject: Re: Usability vs. Accessibility
← Previous message | Next message →

On Mon, Mar 21, 2016 at 03:49:06PM -0400, Chagnon | PubCom.com wrote:
> Personally, I think it's impossible to separate accessibility from usability. One without the other is complete failure to communicate.

Personally I agree. I find this related to the two definitions I find
of "accessibility" for digital-- there's the one that focuses solely
on physical disabilities, and the Tim Berners-Lee hippy-view of
"works on as many devices in as many places for as many people as
reasonably possible." Some people call this last one a sort of
#allLivesMatter so I tend to add to it "But with particular emphasis
and thought on those with physical disabilities since the usability
and (device/network/etc) access problems hit these folks
disproporionally harder."

It's for this reason that I'll personally, mentally put Progressive
Enhancement in as an accessibility-related topic, while understanding
that most other people in this space will say things like "Javascript
running has nothing to do with disabilities." I find this is a bit of
an attitude from developers that honestly has the very same roots as
the attitude other developers have about disabled users. Building for
as many users as possible means just that and it is an excellent start
for building "accessibly for those with physical disabilites." Building
for more devices instead of only iPhones and latest-and-greatest
browsers doesn't just assist the poor or people with less access to
newer devices-- it also automatically works better or those held
to particular, maybe less-standard devices due to disability or AT
software demands as well. One feeds and influences the other.

I'm particularly thinking of this a lot when I need to build any
scripted aria-ised widgets. I really cannot allow something to
come through to a user with roles set on it in the HTML if something
stopped, blocked, or mangled the Javascript necessary to make those
roles have any useful meaning. So I prefer to let JS set the roles
and states, and let CSS style based on the presence of the roles,
so if somehing didn't come through, users aren't left in some
half-state of nothing-works.

If I can't use it, it's not accessible to me. If I can use it, it
is accessible, but perhaps difficult and frustrating. If I can
use it, use it easily and without too much thought, it's both
accessible and usable.

So some people take accessibility to be the binary (it can be
accessed or not) and usability to describe *how* well it can
be used. ...Usability as an extension of describing the accessibility
of the site/app/whatever.

Sorry for the ramble.
_mallory

From: James A.
Date: Tue, Mar 22 2016 12:43PM
Subject: Re: Usability vs. Accessibility
← Previous message | Next message →

I consider usability as a sub-set of accessibility as well as the other way around. It is perfectly possible to have materials that are technically accessible but unusable to all but a highly experienced assistive technology user. For example, when a large number of new shortcut keys have to utilised to access functionality; the limited up-take of ARIA controls by users. Similarly many disabled users are not using assistive technology but cognitive demands of complex interfaces and content can make sites in accessible.

Regards

Abi James
University of Southampton

-----Original Message-----
From: _mallory [mailto: = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED = ]
Sent: 22 March 2016 17:53
To: WebAIM Discussion List < = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED = >
Subject: Re: [WebAIM] Usability vs. Accessibility

On Mon, Mar 21, 2016 at 03:49:06PM -0400, Chagnon | PubCom.com wrote:
> Personally, I think it's impossible to separate accessibility from usability. One without the other is complete failure to communicate.

Personally I agree. I find this related to the two definitions I find of "accessibility" for digital-- there's the one that focuses solely on physical disabilities, and the Tim Berners-Lee hippy-view of "works on as many devices in as many places for as many people as reasonably possible." Some people call this last one a sort of #allLivesMatter so I tend to add to it "But with particular emphasis and thought on those with physical disabilities since the usability and (device/network/etc) access problems hit these folks disproporionally harder."

It's for this reason that I'll personally, mentally put Progressive Enhancement in as an accessibility-related topic, while understanding that most other people in this space will say things like "Javascript running has nothing to do with disabilities." I find this is a bit of an attitude from developers that honestly has the very same roots as the attitude other developers have about disabled users. Building for as many users as possible means just that and it is an excellent start for building "accessibly for those with physical disabilites." Building for more devices instead of only iPhones and latest-and-greatest browsers doesn't just assist the poor or people with less access to newer devices-- it also automatically works better or those held to particular, maybe less-standard devices due to disability or AT software demands as well. One feeds and influences the other.

I'm particularly thinking of this a lot when I need to build any scripted aria-ised widgets. I really cannot allow something to come through to a user with roles set on it in the HTML if something stopped, blocked, or mangled the Javascript necessary to make those roles have any useful meaning. So I prefer to let JS set the roles and states, and let CSS style based on the presence of the roles, so if somehing didn't come through, users aren't left in some half-state of nothing-works.

If I can't use it, it's not accessible to me. If I can use it, it is accessible, but perhaps difficult and frustrating. If I can use it, use it easily and without too much thought, it's both accessible and usable.

So some people take accessibility to be the binary (it can be accessed or not) and usability to describe *how* well it can be used. ...Usability as an extension of describing the accessibility of the site/app/whatever.

Sorry for the ramble.
_mallory

From: Kelly Lupo
Date: Tue, Mar 22 2016 12:56PM
Subject: Re: Usability vs. Accessibility
← Previous message | Next message →

Thank you all, this was really helpful in solidifying my understanding of
both concepts.
Sort of an, "if I can access it, it has some degree of usability." If
content is inaccessible (a PDF completely untagged will have nothing read
to a totally blind person, for example), then it is also completely
unusable for that person. If it is accessible, but the tags aren't in some
kind of logical order, then it is still unusable, even though I can
theoretically spend 12 days trying to piece together the content into some
semblance of order, if I *really* had to...

As a preface, I'm in the special education field now, after being in PC
repair/server administration for ~10 years.
My current analogy is that I can separate Universal Design for Learning
(UDL) from assistive technology (AT) in terms of teaching, but not
necessarily for student learning. Basically, one form of UDL is better
lesson design catering to different types of learning and the inclusion of
a students AT in better ways within the lesson structure. However, is it
this better set of strategies, or is it the device itself, that is
promoting better learning for the student with a disability? Both affect
each other: I can clearly say that the AT device (lets say a communications
device) allows the student to participate, which facilitates asking
questions to promote understanding, as well as participation which allows
for reinforcing and applying concepts. The better lesson and class
structure (UDL) strategies (IE: presenting information in different ways,
possibly in other languages or reading levels, or other strategies such as
chunking, etc) also allows the student to participate - but when it
incorporates the advantages given by the AT device, it becomes even better
for that particular learner.

I guess I might just be one of those people who have to have concrete
definitions for everything! :) (Even if they are intertwined concepts.)

Slightly off-topic: I have taken several C++ and Java courses (~15 years
ago) as an undergrad, and accessibility just wasn't a thing - but this
could probably be expected from a small non-progressive college only 3+
years after WCAG 1.0 had come out. I wonder if it's any better now in
terms of courses giving information about these standards (WCAG/Section
508) in addition to "best practices" in terms of code validation?

The initial question was as a result of attempting to create an
introductory (undergraduate) college course that focuses more on the
accessibility side (IE: guidelines/regulations and basic programming in CSS
on how to fulfill them - as opposed to a typical "how to program" course),
based on what I have learned in the creation of the ECPC <http://ecpcta.org>;
website for work. (I realize there are still some questionable things on
that site - like the calendar popup not being read by screen readers, but I
do not have full access to Wordpress/Aurora for fixing things like this.)
Basically, I would love to marry my former love of IT to special
education, and offer the perspective of how things (such as how we program
a site) can affect people with disabilities.

That said, I realize that the business end often just doesn't care, but
perhaps grabbing college kids early might make some small difference...? I
have no idea if universities will entertain the idea, but I often find that
documenting things in this manner - essentially teaching others - often
helps me learn and retain information as well. :) (And if I can get my
university to let me offer it as a pilot, I'll have something else to put
on a CV when I finish my graduate degree!)

Again, I much appreciate everyone's examples and explanations!
Kelly

On Tue, Mar 22, 2016 at 2:43 PM, James A. < = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED = > wrote:

> I consider usability as a sub-set of accessibility as well as the other
> way around. It is perfectly possible to have materials that are technically
> accessible but unusable to all but a highly experienced assistive
> technology user. For example, when a large number of new shortcut keys have
> to utilised to access functionality; the limited up-take of ARIA controls
> by users. Similarly many disabled users are not using assistive technology
> but cognitive demands of complex interfaces and content can make sites in
> accessible.
>
> Regards
>
> Abi James
> University of Southampton
>
> -----Original Message-----
> From: _mallory [mailto: = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED = ]
> Sent: 22 March 2016 17:53
> To: WebAIM Discussion List < = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED = >
> Subject: Re: [WebAIM] Usability vs. Accessibility
>
> On Mon, Mar 21, 2016 at 03:49:06PM -0400, Chagnon | PubCom.com wrote:
> > Personally, I think it's impossible to separate accessibility from
> usability. One without the other is complete failure to communicate.
>
> Personally I agree. I find this related to the two definitions I find of
> "accessibility" for digital-- there's the one that focuses solely on
> physical disabilities, and the Tim Berners-Lee hippy-view of "works on as
> many devices in as many places for as many people as reasonably possible."
> Some people call this last one a sort of #allLivesMatter so I tend to add
> to it "But with particular emphasis and thought on those with physical
> disabilities since the usability and (device/network/etc) access problems
> hit these folks disproporionally harder."
>
> It's for this reason that I'll personally, mentally put Progressive
> Enhancement in as an accessibility-related topic, while understanding that
> most other people in this space will say things like "Javascript running
> has nothing to do with disabilities." I find this is a bit of an attitude
> from developers that honestly has the very same roots as the attitude other
> developers have about disabled users. Building for as many users as
> possible means just that and it is an excellent start for building
> "accessibly for those with physical disabilites." Building for more devices
> instead of only iPhones and latest-and-greatest browsers doesn't just
> assist the poor or people with less access to newer devices-- it also
> automatically works better or those held to particular, maybe less-standard
> devices due to disability or AT software demands as well. One feeds and
> influences the other.
>
> I'm particularly thinking of this a lot when I need to build any scripted
> aria-ised widgets. I really cannot allow something to come through to a
> user with roles set on it in the HTML if something stopped, blocked, or
> mangled the Javascript necessary to make those roles have any useful
> meaning. So I prefer to let JS set the roles and states, and let CSS style
> based on the presence of the roles, so if somehing didn't come through,
> users aren't left in some half-state of nothing-works.
>
> If I can't use it, it's not accessible to me. If I can use it, it is
> accessible, but perhaps difficult and frustrating. If I can use it, use it
> easily and without too much thought, it's both accessible and usable.
>
> So some people take accessibility to be the binary (it can be accessed or
> not) and usability to describe *how* well it can be used. ...Usability as
> an extension of describing the accessibility of the site/app/whatever.
>
> Sorry for the ramble.
> _mallory
>
> > > > >

From: Birkir R. Gunnarsson
Date: Tue, Mar 22 2016 2:14PM
Subject: Re: Usability vs. Accessibility
← Previous message | Next message →

The way I approach it.
If the issue affects users with disabilities specifically, but does
not affect other users, it is an accessibility issue (missing alt on
images, buttons that cannot be operated via keyboard, missing roles on
complex widgets).
If the problem affects everybody, it is a usability issue.
For accessibility you need to think of an applicable usre story, wehre
a person with disability is more affected than a regular user. Also
you should be able to justifiably tie it to a WCAG success criteria.
As you have seen interpretations do vary somewhat, which is a product
of the standard being a bit vague in places.
Bottom-line:
If it is bad for all it is a usability issue.
If it is bad only for people with disabilities, it is an accessibility issue.
Cheers



On 3/22/16, Kelly Lupo < = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED = > wrote:
> Thank you all, this was really helpful in solidifying my understanding of
> both concepts.
> Sort of an, "if I can access it, it has some degree of usability." If
> content is inaccessible (a PDF completely untagged will have nothing read
> to a totally blind person, for example), then it is also completely
> unusable for that person. If it is accessible, but the tags aren't in some
> kind of logical order, then it is still unusable, even though I can
> theoretically spend 12 days trying to piece together the content into some
> semblance of order, if I *really* had to...
>
> As a preface, I'm in the special education field now, after being in PC
> repair/server administration for ~10 years.
> My current analogy is that I can separate Universal Design for Learning
> (UDL) from assistive technology (AT) in terms of teaching, but not
> necessarily for student learning. Basically, one form of UDL is better
> lesson design catering to different types of learning and the inclusion of
> a students AT in better ways within the lesson structure. However, is it
> this better set of strategies, or is it the device itself, that is
> promoting better learning for the student with a disability? Both affect
> each other: I can clearly say that the AT device (lets say a communications
> device) allows the student to participate, which facilitates asking
> questions to promote understanding, as well as participation which allows
> for reinforcing and applying concepts. The better lesson and class
> structure (UDL) strategies (IE: presenting information in different ways,
> possibly in other languages or reading levels, or other strategies such as
> chunking, etc) also allows the student to participate - but when it
> incorporates the advantages given by the AT device, it becomes even better
> for that particular learner.
>
> I guess I might just be one of those people who have to have concrete
> definitions for everything! :) (Even if they are intertwined concepts.)
>
> Slightly off-topic: I have taken several C++ and Java courses (~15 years
> ago) as an undergrad, and accessibility just wasn't a thing - but this
> could probably be expected from a small non-progressive college only 3+
> years after WCAG 1.0 had come out. I wonder if it's any better now in
> terms of courses giving information about these standards (WCAG/Section
> 508) in addition to "best practices" in terms of code validation?
>
> The initial question was as a result of attempting to create an
> introductory (undergraduate) college course that focuses more on the
> accessibility side (IE: guidelines/regulations and basic programming in CSS
> on how to fulfill them - as opposed to a typical "how to program" course),
> based on what I have learned in the creation of the ECPC <http://ecpcta.org>;
> website for work. (I realize there are still some questionable things on
> that site - like the calendar popup not being read by screen readers, but I
> do not have full access to Wordpress/Aurora for fixing things like this.)
> Basically, I would love to marry my former love of IT to special
> education, and offer the perspective of how things (such as how we program
> a site) can affect people with disabilities.
>
> That said, I realize that the business end often just doesn't care, but
> perhaps grabbing college kids early might make some small difference...? I
> have no idea if universities will entertain the idea, but I often find that
> documenting things in this manner - essentially teaching others - often
> helps me learn and retain information as well. :) (And if I can get my
> university to let me offer it as a pilot, I'll have something else to put
> on a CV when I finish my graduate degree!)
>
> Again, I much appreciate everyone's examples and explanations!
> Kelly
>
> On Tue, Mar 22, 2016 at 2:43 PM, James A. < = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED = > wrote:
>
>> I consider usability as a sub-set of accessibility as well as the other
>> way around. It is perfectly possible to have materials that are
>> technically
>> accessible but unusable to all but a highly experienced assistive
>> technology user. For example, when a large number of new shortcut keys
>> have
>> to utilised to access functionality; the limited up-take of ARIA controls
>> by users. Similarly many disabled users are not using assistive technology
>> but cognitive demands of complex interfaces and content can make sites in
>> accessible.
>>
>> Regards
>>
>> Abi James
>> University of Southampton
>>
>> -----Original Message-----
>> From: _mallory [mailto: = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED = ]
>> Sent: 22 March 2016 17:53
>> To: WebAIM Discussion List < = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED = >
>> Subject: Re: [WebAIM] Usability vs. Accessibility
>>
>> On Mon, Mar 21, 2016 at 03:49:06PM -0400, Chagnon | PubCom.com wrote:
>> > Personally, I think it's impossible to separate accessibility from
>> usability. One without the other is complete failure to communicate.
>>
>> Personally I agree. I find this related to the two definitions I find of
>> "accessibility" for digital-- there's the one that focuses solely on
>> physical disabilities, and the Tim Berners-Lee hippy-view of "works on as
>> many devices in as many places for as many people as reasonably possible."
>> Some people call this last one a sort of #allLivesMatter so I tend to add
>> to it "But with particular emphasis and thought on those with physical
>> disabilities since the usability and (device/network/etc) access problems
>> hit these folks disproporionally harder."
>>
>> It's for this reason that I'll personally, mentally put Progressive
>> Enhancement in as an accessibility-related topic, while understanding that
>> most other people in this space will say things like "Javascript running
>> has nothing to do with disabilities." I find this is a bit of an attitude
>> from developers that honestly has the very same roots as the attitude
>> other
>> developers have about disabled users. Building for as many users as
>> possible means just that and it is an excellent start for building
>> "accessibly for those with physical disabilites." Building for more
>> devices
>> instead of only iPhones and latest-and-greatest browsers doesn't just
>> assist the poor or people with less access to newer devices-- it also
>> automatically works better or those held to particular, maybe
>> less-standard
>> devices due to disability or AT software demands as well. One feeds and
>> influences the other.
>>
>> I'm particularly thinking of this a lot when I need to build any scripted
>> aria-ised widgets. I really cannot allow something to come through to a
>> user with roles set on it in the HTML if something stopped, blocked, or
>> mangled the Javascript necessary to make those roles have any useful
>> meaning. So I prefer to let JS set the roles and states, and let CSS style
>> based on the presence of the roles, so if somehing didn't come through,
>> users aren't left in some half-state of nothing-works.
>>
>> If I can't use it, it's not accessible to me. If I can use it, it is
>> accessible, but perhaps difficult and frustrating. If I can use it, use it
>> easily and without too much thought, it's both accessible and usable.
>>
>> So some people take accessibility to be the binary (it can be accessed or
>> not) and usability to describe *how* well it can be used. ...Usability as
>> an extension of describing the accessibility of the site/app/whatever.
>>
>> Sorry for the ramble.
>> _mallory
>>
>> >> >> >> >>
> > > > >


--
Work hard. Have fun. Make history.

From: Greg Gamble
Date: Tue, Mar 22 2016 3:33PM
Subject: Re: Usability vs. Accessibility
← Previous message | Next message →

Usability ... is the page usable, does it make sense?
Accessibility ... can you access the information on the page, can you read it?

A page can be usable, but not accessible. Everything works on the page, but you can access it ...
A page can be accessible, but not usable. You can read everything on the page, but it doesn’t make since ...

That’s my take ...

Greg

-----Original Message-----
From: WebAIM-Forum [mailto: = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED = ] On Behalf Of Kelly Lupo
Sent: Monday, March 21, 2016 9:55 AM
To: WebAIM Discussion List
Subject: [WebAIM] Usability vs. Accessibility

I did not want to hijack the tabindex thread, so I figured I'd start a new one... It was mentioned at one point that there was more of a usability issue than an accessibility one in one of the examples.

I need to explicitly define the two for an unrelated project, but I find that I am having a hard time doing so without confusing myself (let alone the person reading I imagine!). How do ya'll explain this difference to someone who has little to no experience in web accessibility?

I had started with the analogy of:

- Being directed to a 404 - 'page not found' or having makes the content
inaccessible (thus also unusable),
- Whereas a page in a language you do not speak, and does not provide
pictures or a translation widget, renders the page unusable because you can
access the page - it is just harder to access the content (IE: you need a
translator of some kind).


...And then I got confused by reading other sources which seemed to say the opposite. Affirmation or dissent and correction would be much appreciated!

Thank you in advance,
Kelly

From: Tim Harshbarger
Date: Wed, Mar 23 2016 4:27AM
Subject: Re: Usability vs. Accessibility
← Previous message | Next message →

Birkir,

I noticed something you included but didn't call out specifically. From what you said, it also sounds like you might consider something an accessibility issue (even if it impacts everyone) but it impacts a user with a disability more. IS that also the case? Of course, it would still need to be something that is related to WCAG.

-----Original Message-----
From: WebAIM-Forum [mailto: = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED = ] On Behalf Of Birkir R. Gunnarsson
Sent: Tuesday, March 22, 2016 3:15 PM
To: WebAIM Discussion List < = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED = >
Subject: Re: [WebAIM] Usability vs. Accessibility

The way I approach it.
If the issue affects users with disabilities specifically, but does
not affect other users, it is an accessibility issue (missing alt on
images, buttons that cannot be operated via keyboard, missing roles on
complex widgets).
If the problem affects everybody, it is a usability issue.
For accessibility you need to think of an applicable usre story, wehre
a person with disability is more affected than a regular user. Also
you should be able to justifiably tie it to a WCAG success criteria.
As you have seen interpretations do vary somewhat, which is a product
of the standard being a bit vague in places.
Bottom-line:
If it is bad for all it is a usability issue.
If it is bad only for people with disabilities, it is an accessibility issue.
Cheers



On 3/22/16, Kelly Lupo < = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED = > wrote:
> Thank you all, this was really helpful in solidifying my understanding of
> both concepts.
> Sort of an, "if I can access it, it has some degree of usability." If
> content is inaccessible (a PDF completely untagged will have nothing read
> to a totally blind person, for example), then it is also completely
> unusable for that person. If it is accessible, but the tags aren't in some
> kind of logical order, then it is still unusable, even though I can
> theoretically spend 12 days trying to piece together the content into some
> semblance of order, if I *really* had to...
>
> As a preface, I'm in the special education field now, after being in PC
> repair/server administration for ~10 years.
> My current analogy is that I can separate Universal Design for Learning
> (UDL) from assistive technology (AT) in terms of teaching, but not
> necessarily for student learning. Basically, one form of UDL is better
> lesson design catering to different types of learning and the inclusion of
> a students AT in better ways within the lesson structure. However, is it
> this better set of strategies, or is it the device itself, that is
> promoting better learning for the student with a disability? Both affect
> each other: I can clearly say that the AT device (lets say a communications
> device) allows the student to participate, which facilitates asking
> questions to promote understanding, as well as participation which allows
> for reinforcing and applying concepts. The better lesson and class
> structure (UDL) strategies (IE: presenting information in different ways,
> possibly in other languages or reading levels, or other strategies such as
> chunking, etc) also allows the student to participate - but when it
> incorporates the advantages given by the AT device, it becomes even better
> for that particular learner.
>
> I guess I might just be one of those people who have to have concrete
> definitions for everything! :) (Even if they are intertwined concepts.)
>
> Slightly off-topic: I have taken several C++ and Java courses (~15 years
> ago) as an undergrad, and accessibility just wasn't a thing - but this
> could probably be expected from a small non-progressive college only 3+
> years after WCAG 1.0 had come out. I wonder if it's any better now in
> terms of courses giving information about these standards (WCAG/Section
> 508) in addition to "best practices" in terms of code validation?
>
> The initial question was as a result of attempting to create an
> introductory (undergraduate) college course that focuses more on the
> accessibility side (IE: guidelines/regulations and basic programming in CSS
> on how to fulfill them - as opposed to a typical "how to program" course),
> based on what I have learned in the creation of the ECPC <http://ecpcta.org>;
> website for work. (I realize there are still some questionable things on
> that site - like the calendar popup not being read by screen readers, but I
> do not have full access to Wordpress/Aurora for fixing things like this.)
> Basically, I would love to marry my former love of IT to special
> education, and offer the perspective of how things (such as how we program
> a site) can affect people with disabilities.
>
> That said, I realize that the business end often just doesn't care, but
> perhaps grabbing college kids early might make some small difference...? I
> have no idea if universities will entertain the idea, but I often find that
> documenting things in this manner - essentially teaching others - often
> helps me learn and retain information as well. :) (And if I can get my
> university to let me offer it as a pilot, I'll have something else to put
> on a CV when I finish my graduate degree!)
>
> Again, I much appreciate everyone's examples and explanations!
> Kelly
>
> On Tue, Mar 22, 2016 at 2:43 PM, James A. < = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED = > wrote:
>
>> I consider usability as a sub-set of accessibility as well as the other
>> way around. It is perfectly possible to have materials that are
>> technically
>> accessible but unusable to all but a highly experienced assistive
>> technology user. For example, when a large number of new shortcut keys
>> have
>> to utilised to access functionality; the limited up-take of ARIA controls
>> by users. Similarly many disabled users are not using assistive technology
>> but cognitive demands of complex interfaces and content can make sites in
>> accessible.
>>
>> Regards
>>
>> Abi James
>> University of Southampton
>>
>> -----Original Message-----
>> From: _mallory [mailto: = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED = ]
>> Sent: 22 March 2016 17:53
>> To: WebAIM Discussion List < = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED = >
>> Subject: Re: [WebAIM] Usability vs. Accessibility
>>
>> On Mon, Mar 21, 2016 at 03:49:06PM -0400, Chagnon | PubCom.com wrote:
>> > Personally, I think it's impossible to separate accessibility from
>> usability. One without the other is complete failure to communicate.
>>
>> Personally I agree. I find this related to the two definitions I find of
>> "accessibility" for digital-- there's the one that focuses solely on
>> physical disabilities, and the Tim Berners-Lee hippy-view of "works on as
>> many devices in as many places for as many people as reasonably possible."
>> Some people call this last one a sort of #allLivesMatter so I tend to add
>> to it "But with particular emphasis and thought on those with physical
>> disabilities since the usability and (device/network/etc) access problems
>> hit these folks disproporionally harder."
>>
>> It's for this reason that I'll personally, mentally put Progressive
>> Enhancement in as an accessibility-related topic, while understanding that
>> most other people in this space will say things like "Javascript running
>> has nothing to do with disabilities." I find this is a bit of an attitude
>> from developers that honestly has the very same roots as the attitude
>> other
>> developers have about disabled users. Building for as many users as
>> possible means just that and it is an excellent start for building
>> "accessibly for those with physical disabilites." Building for more
>> devices
>> instead of only iPhones and latest-and-greatest browsers doesn't just
>> assist the poor or people with less access to newer devices-- it also
>> automatically works better or those held to particular, maybe
>> less-standard
>> devices due to disability or AT software demands as well. One feeds and
>> influences the other.
>>
>> I'm particularly thinking of this a lot when I need to build any scripted
>> aria-ised widgets. I really cannot allow something to come through to a
>> user with roles set on it in the HTML if something stopped, blocked, or
>> mangled the Javascript necessary to make those roles have any useful
>> meaning. So I prefer to let JS set the roles and states, and let CSS style
>> based on the presence of the roles, so if somehing didn't come through,
>> users aren't left in some half-state of nothing-works.
>>
>> If I can't use it, it's not accessible to me. If I can use it, it is
>> accessible, but perhaps difficult and frustrating. If I can use it, use it
>> easily and without too much thought, it's both accessible and usable.
>>
>> So some people take accessibility to be the binary (it can be accessed or
>> not) and usability to describe *how* well it can be used. ...Usability as
>> an extension of describing the accessibility of the site/app/whatever.
>>
>> Sorry for the ramble.
>> _mallory
>>
>> >> >> >> >>
> > > > >


--
Work hard. Have fun. Make history.

From: Tim Harshbarger
Date: Wed, Mar 23 2016 4:42AM
Subject: Re: Usability vs. Accessibility
← Previous message | Next message →

I've reached the personal point where I think there really is only one difference between accessibility and usability. The difference being that, in accessibility, we focus on users that may have some type or degree of disability that impacts how they interact with user interfaces (be it web pages, apps, or devices.) Usability in general can also include people with disabilities. However, most people who practice general usability don't specialize on a particular group of users like we do.

I think sometimes the two can appear to be different things. I think that is because most things you read about usability tend to focus on trying to create an optimal user interface, while we still find ourselves struggling with questions about whether or not something can be used. My hope is that, as our own profession matures, we are able to adopt techniques from usability that will help us make better decisions and make progress on the level of accessibility.

Thanks,
Tim


-----Original Message-----
From: WebAIM-Forum [mailto: = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED = ] On Behalf Of Greg Gamble
Sent: Tuesday, March 22, 2016 4:33 PM
To: WebAIM Discussion List < = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED = >
Subject: Re: [WebAIM] Usability vs. Accessibility

Usability ... is the page usable, does it make sense?
Accessibility ... can you access the information on the page, can you read it?

A page can be usable, but not accessible. Everything works on the page, but you can access it ...
A page can be accessible, but not usable. You can read everything on the page, but it doesn’t make since ...

That’s my take ...

Greg

-----Original Message-----
From: WebAIM-Forum [mailto: = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED = ] On Behalf Of Kelly Lupo
Sent: Monday, March 21, 2016 9:55 AM
To: WebAIM Discussion List
Subject: [WebAIM] Usability vs. Accessibility

I did not want to hijack the tabindex thread, so I figured I'd start a new one... It was mentioned at one point that there was more of a usability issue than an accessibility one in one of the examples.

I need to explicitly define the two for an unrelated project, but I find that I am having a hard time doing so without confusing myself (let alone the person reading I imagine!). How do ya'll explain this difference to someone who has little to no experience in web accessibility?

I had started with the analogy of:

- Being directed to a 404 - 'page not found' or having makes the content
inaccessible (thus also unusable),
- Whereas a page in a language you do not speak, and does not provide
pictures or a translation widget, renders the page unusable because you can
access the page - it is just harder to access the content (IE: you need a
translator of some kind).


...And then I got confused by reading other sources which seemed to say the opposite. Affirmation or dissent and correction would be much appreciated!

Thank you in advance,
Kelly

From: Birkir R. Gunnarsson
Date: Wed, Mar 23 2016 9:22AM
Subject: Re: Usability vs. Accessibility
← Previous message | Next message →

Well said Tim.

The exciting thing about working in accessibility is when you truly
feel you are making a website more usable for everybody.
Sometimes we get lucky enough to work with those who really want a
great user experience for everyone, in which case there is less of a
distinction.
But sometimes you work with people who want to do the minimum possible
to comply with accessibility regulations (and, hey, that is not always
a bad thing, it is a start and beats not caring at all), and then you
have to be more careful about the distinction.

The QA teams usually catch usability issues on websites for the, and I
don't like that phrase" (regular user), so the issues we discover are
more subtle and specific to users with accessibilities
I always report usability issues I come across when carrying out an
accessibility audit, making sure I mark them as such.




On 3/23/16, Tim Harshbarger < = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED = > wrote:
> I've reached the personal point where I think there really is only one
> difference between accessibility and usability. The difference being that,
> in accessibility, we focus on users that may have some type or degree of
> disability that impacts how they interact with user interfaces (be it web
> pages, apps, or devices.) Usability in general can also include people with
> disabilities. However, most people who practice general usability don't
> specialize on a particular group of users like we do.
>
> I think sometimes the two can appear to be different things. I think that
> is because most things you read about usability tend to focus on trying to
> create an optimal user interface, while we still find ourselves struggling
> with questions about whether or not something can be used. My hope is that,
> as our own profession matures, we are able to adopt techniques from
> usability that will help us make better decisions and make progress on the
> level of accessibility.
>
> Thanks,
> Tim
>
>
> -----Original Message-----
> From: WebAIM-Forum [mailto: = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED = ] On Behalf
> Of Greg Gamble
> Sent: Tuesday, March 22, 2016 4:33 PM
> To: WebAIM Discussion List < = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED = >
> Subject: Re: [WebAIM] Usability vs. Accessibility
>
> Usability ... is the page usable, does it make sense?
> Accessibility ... can you access the information on the page, can you read
> it?
>
> A page can be usable, but not accessible. Everything works on the page, but
> you can access it ...
> A page can be accessible, but not usable. You can read everything on the
> page, but it doesn’t make since ...
>
> That’s my take ...
>
> Greg
>
> -----Original Message-----
> From: WebAIM-Forum [mailto: = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED = ] On Behalf
> Of Kelly Lupo
> Sent: Monday, March 21, 2016 9:55 AM
> To: WebAIM Discussion List
> Subject: [WebAIM] Usability vs. Accessibility
>
> I did not want to hijack the tabindex thread, so I figured I'd start a new
> one... It was mentioned at one point that there was more of a usability
> issue than an accessibility one in one of the examples.
>
> I need to explicitly define the two for an unrelated project, but I find
> that I am having a hard time doing so without confusing myself (let alone
> the person reading I imagine!). How do ya'll explain this difference to
> someone who has little to no experience in web accessibility?
>
> I had started with the analogy of:
>
> - Being directed to a 404 - 'page not found' or having makes the content
> inaccessible (thus also unusable),
> - Whereas a page in a language you do not speak, and does not provide
> pictures or a translation widget, renders the page unusable because you
> can
> access the page - it is just harder to access the content (IE: you need
> a
> translator of some kind).
>
>
> ...And then I got confused by reading other sources which seemed to say the
> opposite. Affirmation or dissent and correction would be much appreciated!
>
> Thank you in advance,
> Kelly
> > > http://webaim.org/discussion/archives
> > > > > > > > > >


--
Work hard. Have fun. Make history.

From: Moore,Michael (Accessibility) (HHSC)
Date: Wed, Mar 23 2016 9:34AM
Subject: Re: Usability vs. Accessibility
← Previous message | Next message →

The thing that I try to keep in mind is that to the user who cannot find the information, use the service or complete a transaction on you application it just doesn't matter whether it is a "usability" or an "accessibility" issue. As an accessibility coordinator I regularly receive calls from people without disabilities who cannot use our web services because of technical problems or "usability" issues. They call me because they cannot "access" the service. When someone cannot access a service because a "usability" problem or combination of usability problems prevents them from accessing the service, and when those problems prevent access for people with disabilities in a disproportionate manner, then the organization may be discriminating against people with disabilities under the Americans with Disabilities Act if the service is being provided in the US. If the organization receives Federal funding for the program or service then they may also be violating section 504 of the rehabilitation act. 504 does not just apply to education.

Mike Moore
Accessibility Coordinator
Texas Health and Human Services Commission
Civil Rights Office
(512) 438-3431 (Office)

-----Original Message-----
From: WebAIM-Forum [mailto: = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED = ] On Behalf Of Birkir R. Gunnarsson
Sent: Wednesday, March 23, 2016 10:22 AM
To: WebAIM Discussion List < = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED = >
Subject: Re: [WebAIM] Usability vs. Accessibility

Well said Tim.

The exciting thing about working in accessibility is when you truly feel you are making a website more usable for everybody.
Sometimes we get lucky enough to work with those who really want a great user experience for everyone, in which case there is less of a distinction.
But sometimes you work with people who want to do the minimum possible to comply with accessibility regulations (and, hey, that is not always a bad thing, it is a start and beats not caring at all), and then you have to be more careful about the distinction.

The QA teams usually catch usability issues on websites for the, and I don't like that phrase" (regular user), so the issues we discover are more subtle and specific to users with accessibilities I always report usability issues I come across when carrying out an accessibility audit, making sure I mark them as such.




On 3/23/16, Tim Harshbarger < = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED = > wrote:
> I've reached the personal point where I think there really is only one
> difference between accessibility and usability. The difference being
> that, in accessibility, we focus on users that may have some type or
> degree of disability that impacts how they interact with user
> interfaces (be it web pages, apps, or devices.) Usability in general
> can also include people with disabilities. However, most people who
> practice general usability don't specialize on a particular group of users like we do.
>
> I think sometimes the two can appear to be different things. I think
> that is because most things you read about usability tend to focus on
> trying to create an optimal user interface, while we still find
> ourselves struggling with questions about whether or not something can
> be used. My hope is that, as our own profession matures, we are able
> to adopt techniques from usability that will help us make better
> decisions and make progress on the level of accessibility.
>
> Thanks,
> Tim
>
>
> -----Original Message-----
> From: WebAIM-Forum [mailto: = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED = ] On
> Behalf Of Greg Gamble
> Sent: Tuesday, March 22, 2016 4:33 PM
> To: WebAIM Discussion List < = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED = >
> Subject: Re: [WebAIM] Usability vs. Accessibility
>
> Usability ... is the page usable, does it make sense?
> Accessibility ... can you access the information on the page, can you
> read it?
>
> A page can be usable, but not accessible. Everything works on the
> page, but you can access it ...
> A page can be accessible, but not usable. You can read everything on
> the page, but it doesn’t make since ...
>
> That’s my take ...
>
> Greg
>
> -----Original Message-----
> From: WebAIM-Forum [mailto: = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED = ] On
> Behalf Of Kelly Lupo
> Sent: Monday, March 21, 2016 9:55 AM
> To: WebAIM Discussion List
> Subject: [WebAIM] Usability vs. Accessibility
>
> I did not want to hijack the tabindex thread, so I figured I'd start a
> new one... It was mentioned at one point that there was more of a
> usability issue than an accessibility one in one of the examples.
>
> I need to explicitly define the two for an unrelated project, but I
> find that I am having a hard time doing so without confusing myself
> (let alone the person reading I imagine!). How do ya'll explain this
> difference to someone who has little to no experience in web accessibility?
>
> I had started with the analogy of:
>
> - Being directed to a 404 - 'page not found' or having makes the content
> inaccessible (thus also unusable),
> - Whereas a page in a language you do not speak, and does not provide
> pictures or a translation widget, renders the page unusable because
> you can
> access the page - it is just harder to access the content (IE: you
> need a
> translator of some kind).
>
>
> ...And then I got confused by reading other sources which seemed to
> say the opposite. Affirmation or dissent and correction would be much appreciated!
>
> Thank you in advance,
> Kelly
> > > archives at http://webaim.org/discussion/archives
> > > > archives at http://webaim.org/discussion/archives
> > > > archives at http://webaim.org/discussion/archives
> >


--
Work hard. Have fun. Make history.

From: Whitney Quesenbery
Date: Thu, Mar 24 2016 8:09PM
Subject: Re: Usability vs. Accessibility
← Previous message | No next message

I agree with so much that has been said here.

But just as I urge UX teams to understand accessibility more by opening up
their research to a more inclusive view of "users," I also urge folks here
to think about what expertise in fields like interaction design,
information architecture, HCI, and user research (to name a few) can bring
to a better understanding of accessible UX.

We need teams that are inclusive - bringing together the important bodies
of knowledge that support excellent user experience.

On Wed, Mar 23, 2016 at 11:35 AM Moore,Michael (Accessibility) (HHSC) <
= EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED = > wrote:

> The thing that I try to keep in mind is that to the user who cannot find
> the information, use the service or complete a transaction on you
> application it just doesn't matter whether it is a "usability" or an
> "accessibility" issue. As an accessibility coordinator I regularly receive
> calls from people without disabilities who cannot use our web services
> because of technical problems or "usability" issues. They call me because
> they cannot "access" the service. When someone cannot access a service
> because a "usability" problem or combination of usability problems prevents
> them from accessing the service, and when those problems prevent access for
> people with disabilities in a disproportionate manner, then the
> organization may be discriminating against people with disabilities under
> the Americans with Disabilities Act if the service is being provided in the
> US. If the organization receives Federal funding for the program or service
> then they may also be violating section 504 of the rehabilitation act. 504
> does not just apply to education.
>
> Mike Moore
> Accessibility Coordinator
> Texas Health and Human Services Commission
> Civil Rights Office
> (512) 438-3431 (Office)
>
> -----Original Message-----
> From: WebAIM-Forum [mailto: = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED = ] On
> Behalf Of Birkir R. Gunnarsson
> Sent: Wednesday, March 23, 2016 10:22 AM
> To: WebAIM Discussion List < = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED = >
> Subject: Re: [WebAIM] Usability vs. Accessibility
>
> Well said Tim.
>
> The exciting thing about working in accessibility is when you truly feel
> you are making a website more usable for everybody.
> Sometimes we get lucky enough to work with those who really want a great
> user experience for everyone, in which case there is less of a distinction.
> But sometimes you work with people who want to do the minimum possible to
> comply with accessibility regulations (and, hey, that is not always a bad
> thing, it is a start and beats not caring at all), and then you have to be
> more careful about the distinction.
>
> The QA teams usually catch usability issues on websites for the, and I
> don't like that phrase" (regular user), so the issues we discover are more
> subtle and specific to users with accessibilities I always report usability
> issues I come across when carrying out an accessibility audit, making sure
> I mark them as such.
>
>
>
>
> On 3/23/16, Tim Harshbarger < = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED = > wrote:
> > I've reached the personal point where I think there really is only one
> > difference between accessibility and usability. The difference being
> > that, in accessibility, we focus on users that may have some type or
> > degree of disability that impacts how they interact with user
> > interfaces (be it web pages, apps, or devices.) Usability in general
> > can also include people with disabilities. However, most people who
> > practice general usability don't specialize on a particular group of
> users like we do.
> >
> > I think sometimes the two can appear to be different things. I think
> > that is because most things you read about usability tend to focus on
> > trying to create an optimal user interface, while we still find
> > ourselves struggling with questions about whether or not something can
> > be used. My hope is that, as our own profession matures, we are able
> > to adopt techniques from usability that will help us make better
> > decisions and make progress on the level of accessibility.
> >
> > Thanks,
> > Tim
> >
> >
> > -----Original Message-----
> > From: WebAIM-Forum [mailto: = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED = ] On
> > Behalf Of Greg Gamble
> > Sent: Tuesday, March 22, 2016 4:33 PM
> > To: WebAIM Discussion List < = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED = >
> > Subject: Re: [WebAIM] Usability vs. Accessibility
> >
> > Usability ... is the page usable, does it make sense?
> > Accessibility ... can you access the information on the page, can you
> > read it?
> >
> > A page can be usable, but not accessible. Everything works on the
> > page, but you can access it ...
> > A page can be accessible, but not usable. You can read everything on
> > the page, but it doesn’t make since ...
> >
> > That’s my take ...
> >
> > Greg
> >
> > -----Original Message-----
> > From: WebAIM-Forum [mailto: = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED = ] On
> > Behalf Of Kelly Lupo
> > Sent: Monday, March 21, 2016 9:55 AM
> > To: WebAIM Discussion List
> > Subject: [WebAIM] Usability vs. Accessibility
> >
> > I did not want to hijack the tabindex thread, so I figured I'd start a
> > new one... It was mentioned at one point that there was more of a
> > usability issue than an accessibility one in one of the examples.
> >
> > I need to explicitly define the two for an unrelated project, but I
> > find that I am having a hard time doing so without confusing myself
> > (let alone the person reading I imagine!). How do ya'll explain this
> > difference to someone who has little to no experience in web
> accessibility?
> >
> > I had started with the analogy of:
> >
> > - Being directed to a 404 - 'page not found' or having makes the
> content
> > inaccessible (thus also unusable),
> > - Whereas a page in a language you do not speak, and does not provide
> > pictures or a translation widget, renders the page unusable because
> > you can
> > access the page - it is just harder to access the content (IE: you
> > need a
> > translator of some kind).
> >
> >
> > ...And then I got confused by reading other sources which seemed to
> > say the opposite. Affirmation or dissent and correction would be much
> appreciated!
> >
> > Thank you in advance,
> > Kelly
> > > > > > archives at http://webaim.org/discussion/archives
> > > > > > > > archives at http://webaim.org/discussion/archives
> > > > > > > > archives at http://webaim.org/discussion/archives
> > > >
>
>
> --
> Work hard. Have fun. Make history.
> > > at http://webaim.org/discussion/archives
> > > > > >
--
*Whitney Quesenbery*
(lists) = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED =
(work) = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED =