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Web Accessibility Guidelines: The Debate Over Enforcement Andreas Giannakoulopoulos Department of Audio & Visual Web Accessibility Guidelines: The Debate Over Enforcement Andreas Giannakoulopoulos Department of Audio & Visual Arts Ionian University ISIL 2010 3 rd International Seminar on Information Law 26. 06. 2010 - Corfu

ISIL 2010 - CORFU Overview q Main Questions q Historical Background q WCAG Overview ISIL 2010 - CORFU Overview q Main Questions q Historical Background q WCAG Overview § Technical Description § Basic Principles/Directions q Stakeholders – Beneficiaries q Methods of Evaluation q Arguments In Favour of WCAG Enforcement § People-Oriented § Output-Oriented q Arguments Against WCAG Enforcement § People-Oriented § Output-Oriented q Current Examples § National/International Policies § Organizational Policies (business case) q Points of Discussion q Conclusions 26. 06. 2010 Andreas Giannakoulopoulos Web accessibility guidelines: the debate over enforcement 2

ISIL 2010 - CORFU Main Questions 1. What is the current status of accessibility ISIL 2010 - CORFU Main Questions 1. What is the current status of accessibility guidelines in general? 2. What is the current situation concerning the enforcement of WCA guidelines or other related standards? 3. What are the arguments supporting the enforcement of WCA guidelines and the objections to such an enforcement? 4. Is there a middle way out of the debate? 26. 06. 2010 Andreas Giannakoulopoulos Web accessibility guidelines: the debate over enforcement 3

ISIL 2010 - CORFU Historical Background I Landmarks 1994 q Tim Berners-Lee founds the ISIL 2010 - CORFU Historical Background I Landmarks 1994 q Tim Berners-Lee founds the World Wide Web Consortium (W 3 C) W 3 C: Body responsible for coordinating development of Web standards Aim: creating standards to improve the quality of the Web q First meeting of the W 3 C Advisory Committee Aims: § § 26. 06. 2010 leading the WWW to its full potential royalty-free/accessible technology Andreas Giannakoulopoulos Web accessibility guidelines: the debate over enforcement 4

ISIL 2010 - CORFU Historical Background II 1997 q The W 3 C launches ISIL 2010 - CORFU Historical Background II 1997 q The W 3 C launches the Web Access Initiative (WAI) WAI: W 3 C group responsible for developing guidelines which will ensure Web resources are widely accessible. Aim: making the Web accessible to people with disabilities q q q 1999 Launching of Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 1. 0 WCAG: set of WAI guidelines WCAG 1. 0 becomes a W 3 C Recommendation 2008 Launching of Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2. 0 WCAG 2. 0 becomes a W 3 C Recommendation 26. 06. 2010 Andreas Giannakoulopoulos Web accessibility guidelines: the debate over enforcement 5

ISIL 2010 - CORFU Web Content Accessibility Guidelines An Overview Technical Description q WCAG ISIL 2010 - CORFU Web Content Accessibility Guidelines An Overview Technical Description q WCAG – Definition § Part of a series of WAI guidelines on providing advice for making Web content accessible, primarily for disabled users, but also for all users. § Other WAI guidelines cover accessible user agents (browsers) and accessible authoring tools. 26. 06. 2010 Andreas Giannakoulopoulos Web accessibility guidelines: the debate over enforcement 6

ISIL 2010 - CORFU Web Content Accessibility Guidelines WCAG 1. 0 q 14 guidelines ISIL 2010 - CORFU Web Content Accessibility Guidelines WCAG 1. 0 q 14 guidelines q 3 testable priority levels/success criteria: 1. Requirements must be satisfied for one or more groups to access Web content (A) 2. Requirements should be satisfied, otherwise some groups will have difficulty accessing Web content (AA) 3. Requirements may be satisfied, in order to make it easier for some groups to access Web content (AAA) 26. 06. 2010 Andreas Giannakoulopoulos Web accessibility guidelines: the debate over enforcement 7

ISIL 2010 - CORFU Web Content Accessibility Guidelines WCAG 2. 0 q more robust, ISIL 2010 - CORFU Web Content Accessibility Guidelines WCAG 2. 0 q more robust, measurable, technology-independent q more supporting information q 4 principles: 1. Perceivable 2. Operable 3. Understandable 4. Robust q 12 revised guidelines q Same 3 testable priority levels/success criteria (A, AAA) 26. 06. 2010 Andreas Giannakoulopoulos Web accessibility guidelines: the debate over enforcement 8

ISIL 2010 - CORFU Web Content Accessibility Guidelines Basic Principles/Directions q Web – Increasingly ISIL 2010 - CORFU Web Content Accessibility Guidelines Basic Principles/Directions q Web – Increasingly important q Disabled people – Right to participate (UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities) q Web – Equal access q Web Accessibility 26. 06. 2010 Andreas Giannakoulopoulos Web accessibility guidelines: the debate over enforcement 9

ISIL 2010 - CORFU Stakeholders and Beneficiaries q Around 10‐ 20% of the population ISIL 2010 - CORFU Stakeholders and Beneficiaries q Around 10‐ 20% of the population in most countries have a disability q Web accessibility concerns people operating under permanent or temporary constraints (physical disability, surroundings): § Congenitally disabled people § Temporarily disabled people (injuries) § Seniors (ageing health problems) § People without disabilities (i. e. every user): ▫ People with different needs/preferences ▫ People working under special conditions 26. 06. 2010 Andreas Giannakoulopoulos Web accessibility guidelines: the debate over enforcement 10

ISIL 2010 - CORFU Methods of Evaluation q. Objective/Automated (Tools: software programs or online ISIL 2010 - CORFU Methods of Evaluation q. Objective/Automated (Tools: software programs or online services) q Subjective/Manual Assessment (experts or non-experts) q Inclusive/Semi-automated (combination of the above) 26. 06. 2010 Andreas Giannakoulopoulos Web accessibility guidelines: the debate over enforcement 11

ISIL 2010 - CORFU Arguments In Favour of WCAG Enforcement People-Oriented q Promotion of ISIL 2010 - CORFU Arguments In Favour of WCAG Enforcement People-Oriented q Promotion of a basic human right q All users are benefited q State provides active support to disabled people q Organizations put higher priority on accessibility 26. 06. 2010 Andreas Giannakoulopoulos Web accessibility guidelines: the debate over enforcement 12

ISIL 2010 - CORFU Arguments In Favour of WCAG Enforcement Output-Oriented q Web coherence/functionality/universality ISIL 2010 - CORFU Arguments In Favour of WCAG Enforcement Output-Oriented q Web coherence/functionality/universality is enhanced q Organizations/companies open up a new market q Legislation guarantees standardization; standardization ensures: § measurable/assessable output § consistency, credibility, comparability 26. 06. 2010 Andreas Giannakoulopoulos Web accessibility guidelines: the debate over enforcement 13

ISIL 2010 - CORFU Arguments Against WCAG Enforcement People-Oriented q Providing guidelines means “helping” ISIL 2010 - CORFU Arguments Against WCAG Enforcement People-Oriented q Providing guidelines means “helping” q Priority to education q Increase of awareness 26. 06. 2010 Andreas Giannakoulopoulos Web accessibility guidelines: the debate over enforcement 14

ISIL 2010 - CORFU Arguments Against WCAG Enforcement Output-Oriented q Enforcement of… what? § ISIL 2010 - CORFU Arguments Against WCAG Enforcement Output-Oriented q Enforcement of… what? § immature § ineffective q Problem of Evaluation § insufficient § debatable 26. 06. 2010 Andreas Giannakoulopoulos Web accessibility guidelines: the debate over enforcement 15

ISIL 2010 - CORFU Motivation vs Enforcement q Emphasis on the positive aspects/benefits of ISIL 2010 - CORFU Motivation vs Enforcement q Emphasis on the positive aspects/benefits of Web accessibility § Positive PR § Wider audience § Search engine friendly q Emphasis on the negative aspects of inaccessibility § Lose potential users § Bad publicity 26. 06. 2010 Andreas Giannakoulopoulos Web accessibility guidelines: the debate over enforcement 16

ISIL 2010 - CORFU Current Examples National/International Policies I q UN § World Program ISIL 2010 - CORFU Current Examples National/International Policies I q UN § World Program of Action (1982) § Disability Convention (2006) Countries are required to eliminate barriers and ensure that disabled people can access information and communication technologies. (Article 9) q EU § Co-funded W 3 C WCAG § Information Society for all (EC Mandate M. 376) § e-Accessibility Initiative § EDe. AN (European Design for All e-Accessibility Network) 26. 06. 2010 Andreas Giannakoulopoulos Web accessibility guidelines: the debate over enforcement 17

ISIL 2010 - CORFU Current Examples National/International Policies II q US § Section 508 ISIL 2010 - CORFU Current Examples National/International Policies II q US § Section 508 (1998, applying to public sector) q Australia § WCAG conformance in public sector and commercial websites q Canada § WCAG conformance level AA 26. 06. 2010 Andreas Giannakoulopoulos Web accessibility guidelines: the debate over enforcement 18

ISIL 2010 - CORFU Current Examples Organizational Policies (business case) q Widespread awareness of ISIL 2010 - CORFU Current Examples Organizational Policies (business case) q Widespread awareness of Web accessibility issues q Legal framework drives IT companies towards making accessible products q Agencies developing Web content and Web sites are responsible for understanding laws, guidelines and standards q Where treaties do not exist, there is technical guidance 26. 06. 2010 Andreas Giannakoulopoulos Web accessibility guidelines: the debate over enforcement 19

ISIL 2010 - CORFU Points of Discussion q Current drive towards “mainstreaming” of disabled ISIL 2010 - CORFU Points of Discussion q Current drive towards “mainstreaming” of disabled people q Web accessibility is everybody’s problem q Standards promote internationalization/interoperability q Enforcement does not seem to yield results q WCAG criticized for technical insufficiency q Accessibility means Standards Compliance? 26. 06. 2010 Andreas Giannakoulopoulos Web accessibility guidelines: the debate over enforcement 20

ISIL 2010 - CORFU Conclusions q Reality proves guidelines enforcement ineffective q Priority to ISIL 2010 - CORFU Conclusions q Reality proves guidelines enforcement ineffective q Priority to Education q Guidelines: helping tools/step in the way, not a destination q Legal standardization: § Tool to measure accessibility § Not punitive character § Implemented in public sector q The carrot or the stick? q Accessibility and common sense vs Standards q Acceptance of: § Inadequacy of evaluation methods § Relativity of “design for all” 26. 06. 2010 Andreas Giannakoulopoulos Web accessibility guidelines: the debate over enforcement 21

ISIL 2010 - CORFU Thank you! ISIL 2010 - CORFU Thank you!