Building WCAG 2.1 Success Criteria for People with Cognitive Disabilities

March 2, 2017

Lisa Seeman, Mary Jo Mueller

© Copyright IBM Corporation 2017

Mary Jo Mueller

IBM Accessibility Standards Program Manager

maryjom@us.ibm.com

@1mjmueller

Lisa Seeman

COGA Task Force Facilitator

lseeman@us.ibm.com

@seemanlisa

© Copyright IBM Corporation 2017

Content

  • Cognitive disabilities & statistics
  • COGA task force, research, roadmap and other activities
  • Success Criteria in WCAG 2.1 first draft
  • Addressing success criteria requirements
  • Next steps

Knowledge of accessibility

Understand cognitive issues

Know what is coming for cognitive web accessibility standards

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Cognitive disabilities

Conditions that impact a person’s ability to use a website including:

  • memory
  • reading text
  • problem solving
  • keeping focused (attention span)
  • computation (for example calculations)

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Statistics

Largest disability group: people with cognitive disabilities

  • School aged learning and cognitively disabled: 6.3 - 11%
    • In contrast - declared disabilities are 0.4%
  • Aging
    • Common for +65’s to have mild cognitive impairment
    • By 2030, +65’s in the US will be 19% - more than double 2000
    • By 2050
      • 115 million people with dementia worldwide
      • Japan, Germany, Italy, Spain: +65’s will be approx. a third or over
    • Anxiety or depression at some point: 18%

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Day-to-day impact

Meanwhile…

Many systems have become increasingly complex

  • Web applications
  • TV interfaces, heating
  • Phone systems

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Follow the money…

The growing aging market

  • Most of the worlds wealth is controlled by the mature market
  • Hold 70% of worldwide disposable income
  • Dominate 119 out of 123 consumer packaged goods categories (62.5% of new cars, 80% of luxury travel)

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The Cognitive and Learning Disabilities Accessibility Task Force (COGA)

Accessible Platform Architectures WG

Accessibility Guidelines WG

COGA Task Force

Goal: To improve Web accessibility and usability for people with cognitive and learning disabilities.

Challenges:

Many types of disabilities

Research behind pay walls

Attitudes / Undeclared

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The Cognitive and Learning Disabilities Accessibility Task Force is a task force of the Accessible Platform Architectures Working Group (APA) and the Accessibility Guidelines Working Group (AG WG).

Aim: To improve Web accessibility for people with cognitive and learning disabilities.

This will begin with research and gap analysis.

Then the group developed draft proposed guidance and techniques to make web content, content authoring, and user agent implementation accessible and more useable by people with cognitive and learning disabilities. We also reviewed existing techniques to consider ways to improve them, and proposed new techniques, where necessary.

COGA Roadmap

Research

User research

Issue papers

Gap analysis

User needs

WCAG 2.1

Techniques

Draft criteria

Refine and finalize

Full technology support

ARIA semantics

Metadata

Browser & AT support

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Addressing these issues requires us to make a broader view of solutions for accessibility.

User Research

Gap Analysis and Roadmap

WCAG 2.1 SC

Issues Papers

COGA/HTML

All on our wiki

User Settings

Metadata

AT, Browsers and Cross Domain

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User research (Phase 1)

  • Dyslexia
  • Dyscalculia
  • ADD/ADHD
  • Non-verbal (brain injury, aphasia)
  • Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI)
  • Dementia
  • Intellectual disability (down syndrome)
  • Autism

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Issue papers – Security example

Issues:

    • Prevents people from using the system at all
    • Too many steps to authenticate
    • User can’t remember passwords

Potential solutions:

    • Biometrics
    • Key tokens delivered through USB
    • Near Field Communication (NFC) readers
    • New specifications with handshaking

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User needs

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User Needs *

WCAG

Proposed Success Criteria *

Authoring Techniques*

Proposed New Semantics *

Personalization*

Operating System/Other *

I need a method of secure website authentication that I find easy to use.

(Assume I have cognitive and memory impairments.) 

more 

Accessible authentication

Level A

--------

To add

Does this support symbol users?

Minimize the cognitive skills required to use the content - the examples in security.

(§ link)

Techniques should include how to have security, which does use passwords or copying, such as biometrics and tokens.

None

 We need to capture the type of security that this user can employ. And (maybe) if they require the use of an API (such as password storage).

Hardware and operating systems could provide authentication to websites and applications - (Needs further investigation and risk analysis.) Encourage a  standardized third party sign in, which is exclusively for authentication, and helps users log-in anywhere.

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Techniques example

Examples of techniques that help all our user groups

Divide content into manageable chunks

  • One subject per screen
  • One idea per paragraph
  • Use short sentences

Examples of techniques that seem to help all our user groups include recommending that the author divide content into manageable chunks. This includes having one subject per screen as well as one idea per paragraph and employing the use of short sentences. A large font can also be helpful.

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Enable Personalization through ARIA semantics & metadata

Some of the reasons personalization is essential for full usability include:

  • Different user needs can conflict
  • Learning new designs could be confusing for some users, and they should be able to continue using the design patterns familiar to them
  • Making content predictable is necessary for some users, but may be considered boring by the design community
  • Enables changing the degree of complexity as the user’s skills improve or decrease over time or context
  • Necessary for providing alternative content tailored for the user group’s needs, such as a simplified version of the text

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Develop Success Criteria Proposals for WCAG 2.1

Example: Guideline 3.1- Make text content readable and understandable

Add:

  • Use a clear structure
  • Use a clear writing style
  • Use visually clear objects.
  • Plain and simple words

Current (at Level A and AA)

3.1.1 Language of Page: The default human language of each page ..(Level A)

3.1.2 Language of Parts: The human language of each passage or phrase in the content can be programmatically determined except ..(Level AA)

Avoid jargon, readability level AAA

Challenge: Be very clear what exactly to do (prescriptive)

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A new WCAG success criteria…

  • Describes conditions to meet the criteria, but not the method
  • Is not easy to misinterpret
  • Is testable
  • Is technology agnostic
  • Is widely adoptable
  • Has methods/tools to implement it

…and more!

See https://www.w3.org/WAI/GL/wiki/WCAG_2.1_Success_Criteria

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COGA success criteria proposals in WCAG 2.1 FPWD

  • 1.3.4 Support Personalization (Minimum)
  • 2.2.6 Timeouts
  • 3.1.7 Plain language (Minimum)
  • 3.1.8 Manageable Blocks
  • 3.1.9 Extra Symbols
  • 3.2.7 Familiar Design (Minimum)
  • 3.3.7 Minimize User Errors
  • 3.3.8 Undo
  • 3.3.9 Provide Support

Many more for next draft

(total 39)

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* FPWD means First Public Working Draft

1.3.4 Support Personalization (minimum) (Level A) - Proposed

Contextual information and author settable properties of regions, critical features and important information are programmatically determinable so that personalization is available.

Exception: Information does not need to be exposed when there is not a standardized technique of exposing it in the technology or the platform.

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* FPWD means First Public Working Draft

2.2.6 Timeouts (Level A) - Proposed

Where content can time out, the content must also conform to all of the below:

Loss of data The user can easily return to the same point in a task, without data loss, for a period of at least one week as the default, or via a user-settable option available throughout the task. If the data will only be preserved for a limited time, the user is informed of the length of time that data are preserved at the start of the task.

Timing adjustable The function to turn off, adjust, or extend timing is controlled by a simple action, and is labeled with simple, understandable language.

Aware The user is informed of timeout limits at the start of the task, including the length of the warning.

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* FPWD means First Public Working Draft

3.1.7 Plain language (Minimum) (Level A) - Proposed

Provide clear and simple language in instructions, labels, navigational elements, and error messages which require a response to continue, so that all of the following are true:

Simple tense Use present tense and active voice.

Simple, clear, and common words Use the most common 1500 words or phrases or, provide words, phrases or abbreviations that are the most-common form to refer to the concept in the identified context.

Double negatives Double negatives are not used.

Concrete language Non-literal language is not used, or can be automatically replaced, via an easy-to-set user setting. All meaning must be retained when non-literal text is replaced.

Instructions Each step in instructions is identified.

With lots of exceptions…

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* FPWD means First Public Working Draft

3.1.8 Manageable blocks (Level AA) - Proposed

Statements which instruct a user to make a choice or take an action:

  • have only one instruction per sentence, except when two things have to be done simultaneously;
  • use sentences of no more than 15 words;
  • should have no more than one relative pronoun per sentence.

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* FPWD means First Public Working Draft

3.1.9 Extra Symbols (Level AA) - Proposed

A mechanism is available such that controls that are used to reach, or are part of, a critical service, and each instruction that contains important information that directly relates to a critical service, is preceded by a symbol or picture, which relates to the topic of the control or instruction.

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* FPWD means First Public Working Draft

3.2.7 Familiar Design (Minimum) (Level A) - Proposed

Help, navigation to help and search forms are easily identifiable and available to the user in one or more of the following ways:

Platform specific A platform specific user interface design.

Adaptive interface An adaptive user interface design that can be personalized.

User interface from a prior version A user interface design that was used successfully by users in a prior version of the application.

Exception: The style is an essential part of the main function of the site, such as for a game

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* FPWD means First Public Working Draft

3.3.7 Minimize user errors (Level A) - Proposed

Common input errors are automatically corrected where the corrections can be reliably made.

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* FPWD means First Public Working Draft

3.3.8 Undo (Level A) - Proposed

Users are provided with the ability to undo an action and to correct mistakes such that:

  • a user can go back steps in a process via a clearly labeled action; or
  • the user can repair information via a clearly labeled action and get back to the place they were at, via a clearly labeled action, without unwanted loss of data.

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* FPWD means First Public Working Draft

3.3.9 Provide Support (Level AA) - Proposed

Content is provided that helps users understand complex information, long documents, numerical information, relative and cardinal directions, forms and non-standard controls.

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* FPWD means First Public Working Draft

A new WCAG success criteria…

  • Describes conditions to meet the criteria, but not the method
  • Is not easy to misinterpret
  • Is testable
  • Is technology agnostic
  • Is widely adoptable
  • Has methods/tools to implement it

…and more!

https://www.w3.org/WAI/GL/wiki/WCAG_2.1_Success_Criteria

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Parts of a Success Criterion

  • Short name
  • Success criterion text
  • Priority level (Level A, AA, or AAA)
  • Glossary definitions
  • Intent of the criteria
  • User benefits
  • Techniques and failures
  • How to test conformance

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Example: Plain Language (minimum)

3.1.7 Plain language (minimum): Provide clear and simple language in instructions, labels, navigational elements, and error messages which require a response to continue, so that all of the following are true: (Level A)

  • Simple tense: Use present tense and active voice.
  • Simple, clear, and common words: Use the most common 1500 words or phrases or, provide words, phrases or abbreviations that are the most-common form to refer to the concept in the identified context.
  • Double negatives: Double negatives are not used.
  • Concrete language: Non-literal language is not used, or can be automatically replaced, via an easy-to-set user setting. All meaning must be retained when non-literal text is replaced.
  • Instructions: Each step in instructions is identified.

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  • Simple, clear, and common words: Use the the most common 1500 words or phrases or, provide words, phrases or abbreviations that are the are most-common form to refer to the concept in the current context.


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Success Criterion short name and priority level

3.1.7 Plain language (minimum)

Priority is (Level A) – high impact to user, widely implementable

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Success Criterion text - Scope

Provide clear and simple language in instructions, labels, navigational elements, and error messages, which require a response to continue, so that all of the following are true:

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Success criterion text – Specific, testable requirements

  • Simple tense: Use present tense and active voice.
  • Simple, clear, and common words: Use the most common 1500 words or phrases or, provide words, phrases or abbreviations that are the most-common form to refer to the concept in the identified context.
  • Double negatives: Double negatives are not used.
  • Concrete language: Non-literal language is not used, or can be automatically replaced, via an easy-to-set user setting. All meaning must be retained when non-literal text is replaced.
  • Instructions: Each step in instructions is identified.

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  • Simple, clear, and common words: Use the the most common 1500 words or phrases or, provide words, phrases or abbreviations that are the are most-common form to refer to the concept in the current context.


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Success Criterion text - Exceptions

  • If there are no tools available in the language of the content that identify uncommon words, instructions that are longer than 400 words are exempt unless they directly relate to a critical service.
  • When a passive voice or a tense (other than present tense) is clearer. Other voices or tenses may be used when it has been shown, via user testing, to be easier to understand, friendlier, or appropriate.
  • In languages where present tense and active voice do not exist, or are not clearer in the language of the content, use the tense and the voice that are clearest for the content.
  • When describing or discussing past or future events, the present tense is not required.
  • If the writing style is an essential part of the main function of the site, such as a game, a literary work, or teaching new terms.
  • Where less-common words are found to be easier to understand for the audience. Such findings are supported by user testing that includes users with cognitive disabilities.
  • The writing-style items may be replaced for a location or a type of content in which user testing has shown a more-effective writing style to aid comprehension for people with cognitive disabilities. Example: content written in a specific natural language.
  • The content will be penalized for not conforming to a given writing style (such as a CV, dissertation, or Ph.D. proposal).

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A few words about wording

Simple, clear, and common words: Use the most common 1500 words or phrases or, provide words, phrases or abbreviations that are the are most-common form to refer to the concept in the current context.

  • You can use the common way to refer to a concept in this context. So the medical terms would be fine if they qualify. We are anticipating the tools that will be able to generate the word list
  • You can use what ever words you want and put the simple language in the title, or the coga-easylang etc. An easy to access glossary could also be an acceptable technique.

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Definitions

Identified context - context and a context specific word frequency list (and glossary) has been identified in an accessibility statement or other known technique. A word frequency list has to be generated from at least 1000 sources from the same context or how ever many pages can reasonably be found

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Techniques

Techniques would include: 

  • Using a title tag to provide a simple language equivalent
  • Using the coga-easylang attribute (preferred)
  • Providing extra text via personalization semantics
  • Using simple words

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Tools

Technology support includes:

  • Word frequency generator for a given context, (reads the URI's list and generates a word frequency list),
  • Existing word frequency lists, checker to test that words are in the most 
  • IBM cognitive computing summary tool

And add an exception

  • If there are no tools available in the language of the content that identify uncommon words, instructions that are longer then 400 words are exempt unless they directly relate to a critical service

38

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Roadmap

User research

(phase 1)

Gap analysis

Author techniques and W3C standards integration

Examples and supporting materials

Preference

(Integration with other standards)

Middleware and user agent guidance

Browser and operating system guidance

Suggestions: for tools:

Authoring and

conformance

Tools suggestions:

User agents

Research

(Phase 2)

Short Term

Longer Term

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Roadmap to include:

Integration

Different standards

E.g. Voice, Security

API support

External services

Meta data

Coga-

WCAG

User Experience

Issue support

Portable preferences

In-page semantics

Personal preference (JSON)

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Integration of key components to drive the user experience:

Thank you!

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Day/Time

Topic

Presenters

Location

Thursday

3:20 PM

A Product Manager’s Perspective on Accessibility: An IBM Case Study

Sheila Zinck

Moe Kraft

Mary Jo Mueller

Gaslamp AB

2nd Floor

Seaport tower

Friday

10:00 AM

Outthink Aging: New Technologies and Solutions for an Aging Society

Sheila Zinck
Stephen Ewell (CTA Foundation)

Hillcrest CD
3rd Floor
Seaport Tower

Friday

1:20 PM

ACT Now: Accessibility Conformance Testing for WCAG

Mary Jo Mueller

Wilco Fiers (Deque)

Torrey Hills AB
3rd Floor
Seaport Tower

Friday

1:20 PM

Accessibility in the DevOps Era

Tom Brunet

Old Town AB
2nd Floor
Seaport Tower

Friday

3:30 PM

Open Accessibility: Delivering at Speed and Scale

Moe Kraft

Cortez Hill C
3rd Floor
Seaport Tower

Other IBM sessions at CSUN

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CSUN COGA SC V9 - Google Slides