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Accessibility Screening Methodology Guidelines and Checklist

For Reviewing the Accessibility of eReaders and Digital Reading Systems for Persons with Disabilities.

Produced and distributed by the DAISY Consortium, developed in collaboration with Tech For All, Inc. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

Rev 1.0 - May 20, 2013

Table Of Contents

Background

The DAISY Consortium (DC, www.daisy.org) in collaboration with Tech For All (TFA, www.TFAConsulting.com) has developed an Accessibility Screening Guidelines and Checklist that will provide developers and the general public with up-to-date information about assessing eReaders and guidance for discerning how they will work most effectively for persons with disabilities (Blind, Low vision, Deaf, Hard of hearing, Dyslexic, Learning disabled, and Mobility- impaired). [Hereafter this group of disabilities will be referred to as “the specified disabilities”. Also, in this report the terms “eReader” and “reading system” are considered synonymous.]

DC’s main objectives were to:
  • Develop guidelines (a methodology) for systematically assessing the accessibility of hardware and software-based reading systems. The guidelines were developed specifically for digital book reading systems.
  • Develop a structured checklist based on the guidelines developed above that will enable the technically competent user to perform a structured review of a reading system’s accessibility.

For benchmarking accessibility, the WCAG 2.0 – Level AA Accessibility Guidelines were used; these Guidelines cover the requirements of Section 508 Accessibility Standards of the Rehabilitation Act of 1998.

The DC and TFA teams of senior accessibility experts have collaborated on the development of the screening guidelines between September, 2012 and May, 2013. The methodology has gone through multiple revisions by the teams, which included end user assessments. The teams carefully considered all the findings and developed the recommendations that have been incorporated in this final Accessibility Screening Guidelines and Checklist document.

The body of this report presents the Methodology, eReader Accessibility Screening Approach, and recommended Protocol for implementing the Screening.

Accessibility Screening Methodology, Standards, and Process

DC’s Accessibility Screening Methodology focuses on determining the accessibility of the functions and features of eReaders from the user perspective. Evaluations made using this methodology will be based on sampling a number of key accessibility criteria. This approach enables an evaluator to identify and verify the accessibility and usability barriers present in an eReader product for people with the specified disabilities.

As a guideline for benchmarking accessibility, the World Wide Web Consortium's (W3C) Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG 2.0 – Level AA) which cover the requirements of Section 508 Accessibility Standards of the Rehabilitation Act of 1998 were used. The important elements of the WCAG 2.0 Accessibility Guidelines that will require extra attention are indicated in Appendix A.

The screening approach typically calls for assigning to features or benchmark tasks (use cases) a pass/fail grade. Identifying remediation solutions for the accessibility barriers is not an objective of this methodology. The screening methodology is neither intended to provide a full accessibility evaluation, nor to determine conformance to accessibility standards. This approach is not designed to determine the root cause(s) of accessibility and/or usability barriers, e.g., design issues.

Screening Process:

The methodology is intended to be a screening tool to help a technically knowledgeable person assess the accessibility of eReaders at a basic level. The protocol steps through most of the key features and uses of an eReader and notes the key accessibility requirements for each one of these features.

The Screening Protocol is intended to be used by an experienced person with sufficient technical skills and knowledge of accessibility issues to properly address each item in the Screening Protocol. Even with an experienced reviewer, the results derived from this Screening Protocol should not be considered equivalent to a properly conducted full evaluation of the accessibility and usability of an eReader. If a full evaluation is required, the WAI User Agent Guidelines can be useful reference (http://www.w3.org/TR/UAAG20/).

The remaining sections of the Report describe the general accessibility screening approach and protocol, and provide detailed technical information about specific accessibility barriers for each group of disabled users.

eReader Accessibility Screening Approach

To be accessible, an eReader must successfully address two requirements:

  1. For software, hardware or firmware, all functions and controls must be accessible
  2. When presented with properly prepared accessible content in a standardized format, such as DAISY or accessible EPUB 3, the reading system must deliver the content to the user in a manner that is accessible for people with the specified disabilities.

To be accessible for people with specific disabilities, eReaders need to be designed to meet the specific requirements of such users. For example:

  • All controls must be able to be activated via the keyboard as well as by a mouse or touch screen interface.

The eReader should:

  • Either be self-voicing or integrate with a user’s screen reader (including operating system assistive technology such as VoiceOver);
  • Offer contrast and magnification adjustments or be able to integrate with a user’s magnification software; and
  • Support refreshable Braille.

For users with physical disabilities, considerations include integration with voice recognition software, the accessibility of buttons, and the potential for using optional buttons such as switches, etc. Users who are deaf or hard of hearing will require the support of captioning as well as other features noted in the Screening Protocol below. (Note: Support for MathML and accessible image presentations will likely be deemed essential requirements in the future).

eReader Accessibility Screening Protocol

Screening Assessment Criteria

The Checklist and Functional Tests below are designed to be used to evaluate eReader accessibility. Some eReaders (especially hardware eReaders) may not be capable of meeting all of the requirements listed. As a result, one can use the considerations in the screening criteria to determine the priority of their unique accessibility requirements based on the disability groups being addressed. The functional tests in the section below list each of the key functions that need to be tested for accessibility.

Screening Criteria – Support for Assistive Technology and Accessibility

Use the Screening Protocol to review the reading system (hardware or software) step-by-step and confirm the presence or absence of the key features below. The screening template is designed to evaluate various eReaders by means of a pass/fail scoring system.

Product Tested

Product Name/Version
System Information
  • Operating System(s):
  • Application(s):
Evaluation Tool(s) (name/version) Assistive Technology: (e.g. JAWS v.14, VoiceOver, etc.)

Step 1: Go to the Functional Test Section and carefully evaluate each of the key aspects of the eReader. Use the Comments space to clarify your individual answers as needed.

Step 2: Summarize whether all of the essential requirements have been met.

Functional Tests

Apply the functional tests below by performing each of the steps to confirm whether the test can be performed solely using a keyboard, a mouse or other input device. All aspects of the functional test should be screen reader accessible and/or self-voicing. (Note: An Excel Spreadsheet of the Functional Tests is also available). Some of these tests will not apply depending on the nature of the device being tested (e.g., if no viewport is available). In such cases, mark NA (not applicable) in the comments field.

1. File Management Tests: Perform and confirm that each of the following tasks is fully keyboard accessible, mouse accessible, and accessible by touch/gestures.

Operation Criteria Keyboard Accessible Pass/Fail Mouse Accessible Pass/Fail Accessible by Touch/gestures Pass/Fail Comments
OS accessibility Fundamental
Reading system can be activated independently Fundamental
Purchase or obtain a document and put it in bookshelf Fundamental
Open a document Fundamental
List available documents on bookshelf Fundamental
Search for books in bookshelf Advanced
Access document information (page count, publisher date, etc.) Advanced
Create collections of documents Advanced
Critical Bugs

2. Reading Tests: Perform and confirm each of the reading tasks below to separately determine whether the reading system has the listed capabilities and, if the operation requires user input,that it is fully accessible by keyboard, accessible by mouse, and accessible by touch/gestures.

Operation Criteria Operation Pass/Fail Keyboard Accessible Pass/Fail Mouse Accessible Pass/Fail Accessible by Touch/gestures Pass/Fail Comments
Initiate “read from here” (read from last read or focus location) Fundamental
Reading can be suspended and later resumed at the same reading location Fundamental
Reading Order: All text should be read in the proper reading order Fundamental NA NA NA
Read image alt text Fundamental NA NA NA
Change reading speed (faster, slower) Fundamental
Change reading volume (louder, softer) via the application or the OS Fundamental
TTS allows for pause for indicating headings, paragraphs, list items, etc. Fundamental NA NA NA
Option to switch off reading of skippable structures like sidebars, annotations, producer notes, etc. Advanced
Render image descriptions according to the choices selected by the user Advanced
Scroll page view Advanced
Pronunciation lexicons are supported Advanced NA NA NA
Lookup and read definitions Advanced
Read MathML Advanced
Critical Bugs

3. Visual Adjustment Tests: Perform and confirm that each of these tasks is fully accessible by keyboard, accessible by mouse, and accessible by touch/gestures.

Operation Criteria Keyboard Accessible Pass/Fail Mouse Accessible Pass/Fail Accessible by Touch/gestures Pass/Fail Comments
Change font size Fundamental
Change font color (may be by honoring changes made to system colors) Fundamental
Change background color (may be by honoring changes made to system colors) Fundamental
Change highlight text color Fundamental
Change highlight text background color Fundamental
Change brightness Fundamental
Select a pre-defined style theme or honor high contrast system configuration Fundamental
Support for UI magnification Fundamental
Change text, word, and line spacing Advanced
Change alignment (left, center, right) Advanced
Change margins Advanced
Save user visual preferences (style sheets) Advanced
Remove all styling Advanced
Change from paginated to scrolled view Advanced
Change from single to dual page view Advanced
Change from thumbnail to text view Advanced
Critical bugs

4. Navigation Tests: Perform and confirm that each of the following tasks is fully accessible by keyboard, accessible by mouse, and accessible by touch/gestures.

Operation Criteria Keyboard Accessible Pass/Fail Mouse Accessible Pass/Fail Accessible by Touch/gestures Pass/Fail Comments
Table of Contents navigation (use TOC to navigate to chapter) Fundamental
Navigate the document by headings Fundamental
Navigate the document by pages Fundamental
Navigate to the next table Fundamental
Navigate within a table e.g. move to next cell or row Fundamental
Within page navigation (lines, paragraph, lists, figures, sidebars, etc.) Fundamental
Ability to navigate by reflowed page number Fundamental
Hyperlink navigation from within a page to a location within the book Fundamental
Read by character, word, line, sentence or paragraph Fundamental (provided TTS for the selected language is available)
Announce navigation information (page number, current structural hierarchy and/or headings) Fundamental
Escape/move to the next item during playback Fundamental
Search for a string of characters and move to the results Fundamental
Read definition and return to place of reading Advanced
Support for navigation commands using speech recognition (in-built/third party/provided by OS) Advanced
Check current position ("Where am I?" feature) Advanced
Critical bugs

5. Annotation: Perform and confirm that each of these tasks tasks is fully accessible by keyboard, accessible by mouse, and accessible by touch/gestures.

Operation Criteria Keyboard Accessible Pass/Fail Mouse Accessible Pass/Fail Accessible by Touch/gesture Pass/Fail Comments
Add a bookmark Fundamental
View all notes and bookmarks (return to place of reading if desired) Fundamental
View a single note (return to place of reading if desired) Fundamental
Add a note Fundamental
Highlight text Advanced
Copy or export notes and bookmarks Advanced
Import notes and bookmarks Advanced
Critical bugs

6. Media: Perform and confirm that each of these tasks is fully accessible by keyboard, accessible by mouse, and accessible by touch/gestures.

Note: The goal is to have all media functions to be fully accessible. At this time, the fundamental/advanced criteria needs “to be determined” (TBD).
Operation Criteria Keyboard Accessible Pass/Fail Mouse Accessible Pass/Fail Accessible by Touch/gesture Pass/Fail Comments
Video captions can be accessed TBD
Audio descriptions of video can be accessed TBD
Transcripts of audio can be accessed TBD
Media Overlays supported TBD
Audio-only ebooks can be read TBD
Interactive media supported (JavaScript) TBD
Step 2: Essential Requirements

Summarize whether all of the essential requirements have been met in the table below. Some of these tests will not apply depending on the nature of the device being tested (e.g., hardware players without a visual display). In such cases, mark NA (not applicable) in the comments field.

Feature

Success Pass/Fail

Comments
Keyboard access to all features
Mouse access to all features
Touch screen access to all features
Screen reader / self-voice support
Refreshable Braille display support
Visual adjustments available
Integration with external switches, large keyboards, etc.
Supported advanced features (brief comments may be added). Please refer to the test cases for more information.


Concluding Remarks

The guidelines, tools, and protocols presented above are designed to permit the user to conduct a basic accessibility review of an eReader. The goal of this effort has been to provide the technically competent user with tools to determine whether any given eReader (whether hardware or software) meets the specified criteria for accessibility. The methodology presented herein for conducting a basic assessment of the capability of an eReader to deliver an accessible reading experience is based on international standards (Appendix A). The reader is encouraged to keep in mind that these Screening Guidelines provide a useful review but not a detailed evaluation. For a full evaluation, the review must be supplemented by capable user testing.

Appendix A: Key Accessibility Standards

As a guideline for benchmarking accessibility, TFA used the World Wide Web Consortium's(W3C) Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG 2.0 – Level AA) which cover the requirements of Section 508 Accessibility Standards of the Rehabilitation Act of 1998. The table below highlights some of the important elements from the key international standards (WCAG 2.0) that will require extra attention.

Applicable Accessibility Standard(s) used in this Screening Protocol For a software application:
  • Section 508 1194.21 Software Applications and Operating Systems
  • Section 508 1194.31 Functional Performance Criteria
For a web application:
  • Section 508 1194.22 Web-based intranet and internet information and applications
  • Section 508 1194.31 Functional Performance Criteria
For hardware application:
  • Section 508 1194.25 Self-contained closed products
General Accessibility Standard:
Key Considerations from WCAG 2.0

Guideline 1.1 - Text Alternatives: Provide text alternatives for any non-text content.

1.1.1 Nontext Content (Level A) All images, form image buttons, and image map hot spots have appropriate, equivalent alternative text.

Guideline 1.4 - Color and Contrast: Color is not used as the sole method of conveying content or distinguishing visual elements. Color alone is not used to distinguish links from surrounding text unless the luminance contrast between the link and the surrounding text is at least 3:1 and an additional differentiation (e.g., it becomes underlined) is provided when the link is hovered over or receives focus. Text and images of text have a contrast ratio of at least 4.5:1. Large text (over 18 point or 14 point bold) has a contrast ratio of at least 3:1.

Guideline 1.2 - Descriptive Text and Captions: A descriptive text transcript (including all relevant visual and auditory clues and indicators) is provided for non-live, web-based audio (audio podcasts, MP3 files, etc.). A text or audio description is provided for non-live, web-based video-only (e.g., video that has no audio track). Synchronized captions are provided for non-live, web-based video (YouTube videos, etc.).

Guideline 2.1.1- (Level A) Keyboard Accessible: Make all functionality available from a keyboard. All page functionality is available using the keyboard. Page-specified shortcut keys and access keys (access key should typically be avoided) do not conflict with existing browser and screen reader shortcuts. Keyboard focus is never locked or trapped at one particular page element. The user can navigate to and from all navigable page elements.

Guideline 4.1 - Compatible: Maximize compatibility with current and future user agents, including assistive technologies.