FLUID Accessibility

Colin Clark colin.clark at utoronto.ca
Tue May 15 03:02:52 UTC 2007

Hi Mike,

Thanks for posting these links. I've included a few thoughts below.

> I think the idea of combining accessibility and heuristic reviews is a 
> good one. It occurred to me that one of the templates we use for Sakai 
> may be useful, in that it takes a non-technical look at web page 
> accessibility, and could be combined fairly easily with a heuristic 
> review. It includes a line for the results of a WAVE review, which in my 
> mind is the first step, highlighting potential problems, but as far as 
> accessibility reviewers WAVE 3.5 is pretty user-friendly.

I agree that your Sakai templates are a good starting point for the 
accessibility side of FLUID's heuristic protocol. I've done a couple of 
accessibility QA tests using your Sakai protocol and found it very 
focussed and helpful.

As we start to flesh out a heuristic protocol I hope it will be directly 
beneficial to the Sakai accessibility QA protocol, too.

> That said, there will still (to my mind) be a need for a JAWS review, 
> which, low and behold, we also have a template for.
> Here is the link: http://confluence.sakaiproject.org/confluence/x/8ow

I agree. It is hard for most people to get access to expensive assistive 
technologies, so hopefully those of us who do can help carry the testing 
weight. Even better is having access to users who are experienced with 
JAWS or Window-Eyes; they often use their screen readers in ways that 
casual users might not expect.

On the other hand, I hope that the accessibility heuristics will be 
sufficient to catch many user experience issues without the need to test 
directly with screen readers.

In his document on the wiki, Clayton makes a good point about the need 
to test the UI at a more granular level, looking at individual widgets. 
This is also an area where screen reader testing makes a lot of sense.

> It would be great if you could take a look and we could discuss their 
> usefullness via email prior to the next Breeze meeting. Colin and 
> Richard, I'm particularly looking forward to your thoughts because of 
> your expertise. The protocol employs the Firefox accessibility checker 
> and WAVE 3.5, but perhaps there is something that covers 2.0 from U 
> Toronto that would be preferable...

Our AChecker accessibility checking tool does indeed support WCAG 2.0:


I'm biased, but I use AChecker for all my accessibility reviews.

> Any and all suggestions for streamlining this or simplifying for persons 
> not familiar with accessibility testing (should you think necessary) 
> will be greatly appreciated, of course!

This is a really good question. It's always a challenge to communicate 
all the background information that comes with accessibility testing 
experience. One area where I think we can improve is to provide more 
background about what to look for in each of the areas you identify in 
your protocols. Also, realistic example reports--which I noticed you 
provide along with the Sakai protocols--can be very helpful in conveying 
what kinds of information should be included within each column.

Daphne included a link on the wiki to a heuristic evaluation template 
that she has used in the past. I'm curious to hear your thoughts about 
how this could work along with your own templates, Mike.



Colin Clark
Technical Lead, FLUID Project
Adaptive Technology Resource Centre, University of Toronto

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