Quick Accessibility Quiz - The Answers | July 5, 2004

Thanks to everybody who took part. In the end the quiz turned out to be much harder than I’d expected, with only a couple of people getting all the answers right. I threw in a load of trick questions which tripped quite a few of you up. Still it was worth it just to see the discussions it provoked, which was half of the purpose in the first place. So without further adieu here are the correct answers.

Q1. To get an A rating you need to

Answer d. None of the above.

  1. You quite often see the main nav duplicated at the bottom of a page as regular text based anchors. While this is a nice accessibility/usability touch it’s not a requirement. Priority one does require you to “provide redundant text links for each active region of a server-side image map” but using images as nav elements is OK as long as they have alternative text.
  2. The guidelines suggest creating a simple text/HTML version of a site only if all else fails. Generally this is considered bad form as it segregates the audience and could be seen as discrimination in it’s own right. Think how you’d feel if you were a wheelchair user and were forced to go to a special “disabled cinema” rather than watch the film with everybody else. Sure it’s a quick fix and arguably better than nothing, but separate “accessible” sites are no long term solution.
  3. It’s perfectly acceptable to use colour to convey important information, just as long as that’s not the only way you do it. For instance, it’s OK to use red text for error messages just as long as you use some other mechanism like emboldening as well.
  4. As such the correct answer is d. None of the above

Q2. To get a AA rating you must

Answer b. Use relative rather than absolute units.

  1. There is a common misconception that frames are inaccessible which isn’t strictly the case. To get AA rating you can use frames just as long as you provide a description of the function of each frame and how it relates to the other frames in the frameset.
  2. This is the correct answer. For your site to get a AA rating the checkpoints state that you must use relative rather than absolute units. This is expanded in the techniques section where it says you should “Only use absolute length units when the physical characteristics of the output medium are known, such as bitmap images”. However things get a little greyer if you read the example text beneath the checkpoint which says “If absolute units are used, validate that the rendered content is usable”. This seems to almost invalidate what’s been said before and looks very open to interpritation. A good example of how unclear the language of the WAI guidelines can be.
  3. Obviously this was a trick question. It’s true that you must avoid deprecated tags. However <b> and <i> are not depricated. Another very common misconception.
  4. Obviously “all of the above” has to be wrong as a and c are wrong.

Q3. To get a AA rating you must also

Answer d. None of the above.

  1. Fieldsets are useful to group long forms into smaller, easier to digest chunks. Doing so helps your document comply to checkpoint 12.3. However you only need to do this “when appropriate” so you’re not required to add a fieldset to every form.
  2. This one was a bit of a trick question. You should obviously try to make sure that any tables used for layout make sense when linearized. However this doesn’t apply to data tables which, when linearized may make little or no sense at all.
  3. There is quite a common belief that Javascript is bad for accessibility and shouldn’t be used at all. However Javascript is fine when used in a sensible way. Currently it’s being suggested that Javascript should be applied as a behavior layer to add extra functionality to a document without compromising it’s accessibility. Just as the content of your site should be accessible with CSS turned off, it should also be accessible when Javascript is turned off. If you do use Javascript to write content to the screen, you should make use of the <noscript> tag to provide alternative content. You should also avoid using javascript to spawn new windows as it can really confuse screenreader users. However used sensibly, Javascript is fine.
  4. So by a process of elimination, the answer must be d. none of the above.

Q4. To get a AAA rating you must

Answer c. Make sure all the pages share a similar design.

  1. There is a common misconception that, to make a site accessible, you must use CSS for layout instead of tables. While it is recommended that you use CSS for layout, a table based site can still get a AAA rating.
  2. It’s quite common to replicate the main nav at the bottom of the page as a little usability/accessibility bonus. However it’s not a requirement.
  3. To avoid confusion you should try and make sure that all the pages on your site share a common design.
  4. Obviously as c. is correct, “all of the above” must be incorrect.

Q5. Which site is more accessible?

Answer d. Don’t know

  1. This was the question that got me started with this quick accessibility quiz. Accessibility isn’t about checking boxes, it’s about making the content of a site as accessible as possible to the widest range of users. Unfortunately a lot of people don’t look much further than a specific accessibility rating. It’s quite possible for an A rated site to be more accessible that a AA rated site. Take for instance a site that hits all of the priority 1 and 3 chechpoints, but misses one small priority 2 checkpoint. Such a site is likely to be more accessible that a site that hits all priority 1 and 2 checkpoints, but no priority 3 checkpoints.
  2. See above
  3. See above
  4. The only sensible answer has to be “don’t know” or more specifically can’t tell. The guidelines are called guidelines for a reason. They give you an indication of specific things that you can do to make a site more accessible. However you can’t tell if one site is more accessible than another just by their WAI or 508 rating. Accessibility is about people, not checkpoints, something that is all too often forgotten.

As I said, the questions were quite tricksy. A lot of you got very close, but I’m afraid only two of you got all of the questions correct. So I’m proud to announce that the winners on my quick accessibility quiz GMail give-away are Minz Meyer and Isofarro. Congratulations!

Posted at July 5, 2004 7:12 PM

Comments

Robert Lofthouse said on July 5, 2004 9:19 PM

Thou art evil Mr Budd.

Well done Minz and Isofarro.

Mordechai said on July 5, 2004 10:37 PM

Andy,

(Q1) You said “Provide an HTML equivalent for image based navigation.” While redundant text links are one possiblity, giving an img an alt attribute is another. Pirority 1 includes “1.1 Provide a text equivalent for every non-text element (e.g., via “alt”, “longdesc”, or in element content).” So A should be correct.

(Q3) You gave the option for linearized tabels. While priority 2 explicitly states “5.3 Do not use tables for layout unless the table makes sense when linearized,” since data table naturally linearize, they become a non-issue. Therefor, B should be correct.

Geoff Deering said on July 6, 2004 3:50 AM

Mordechai Peller pointed me to the set of questions that Andy posed. The problem is that the questions are very poorly formed and that can leave people perplexed because the way they were formed makes the quiz incorrect and unanswerable. This can create undue confusion about WCAG1.

Those of you who felt you could not find the correct answers need not worry, because it was so poorly constructed, there were none.

Andy requested me to post my comments here. My initial post is here http://www.mail-archive.com/wsg%40webstandardsgroup.org/msg06572.html

An excellent public forum for discussing Web Accessibility is http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/w3c-wai-ig/ which you can join here http://www.w3.org/WAI/IG/

Matt Pennell said on July 6, 2004 9:10 AM

Could you be any more po-faced if you tried, Geoff?

Andy Budd said on July 6, 2004 9:12 AM

Hi Geoff,

Thanks for bringing this up. It’s true that the questions were poorly written, confusing and open to interpretation, however this was part of the point. I feel that the WAI guidelines themselves are poorly written, confusing and open to interpretation.

People view the WAI guidelines more like a test where there are right or wrong answers, however just like this quiz, the correct answers have a lot to do with your own personal interpretation. You may not have won a Bobby rating (or in fact a GMail account) but as we both know, accessibility is about more than checking boxes.

Isofarro said on July 6, 2004 9:44 AM

Mordechai: “You said “Provide an HTML equivalent for image based navigation.” “

Does your definition of image-based navigation mean it has to be invalid HTML in the first instance?

Mordechai: “since data table naturally linearize”

What is the basis for this statement?

Robert Lofthouse said on July 6, 2004 10:09 AM

Let the bitching commence.

Who honestly cares, it was a quiz - you have not failed your degree because of this little test.

I didn’t take into account Andy’s dark side when answering the question, therefore I failed - it doesn’t mean i’m a crap developer/designer now :P

Thanks for the test anyways Andy.

There were two morals to the test:

1. Accessibility isn’t about checkboxes
2. Andy Budd is a very evil person, much like gollum :P

Andy Travers said on July 6, 2004 11:10 AM

Andy, just wanted to congratulate you on handling the less-than-constructive comments on this post with rather more grace than was shown to you.

Don’t let it put you off - we need more people with the power to explain, and I (along with many others) think you’re one of the best around. Keep it up.

Mordechai said on July 6, 2004 12:05 PM

Isofarro,

Image based navagation uses a replaced object to convey the navagational information. It’s not a question of invalid HTML, but rather non-HTML. HTML via the object or img tags is providing a means of accessing external information. Since AT is often unable to access in infomation in the replaced object, the information would need to be placed in a format which is valid for HTML based information in order to be accessable.
——-
A data table is a collection of information organized into rows and columns. Each piece of information in a row is understood by which column it’s in, and each piece of information in a column is understood by which row it’s in. So when a table is linerized by a browser the result, while perhaps not in an ideal format to aid understanding, will at least be logically organized, and therefor understandable and accessible.

Isofarro said on July 6, 2004 12:30 PM

Mordechai: “HTML via the object or img tags is providing a means of accessing external information.”

Not entirely correct. The alt attribute on the img element is not external information and is used by many AT as equivalent textual content.

Do you agree that the term “image based navigation” neither confirms nor denys the presence of alt attributes on those images?

Mordechai: “So when a table is linerized by a browser the result, while perhaps not in an ideal format to aid understanding, will at least be logically organized, and therefor understandable and accessible.”

Not necessarily. Your scenario entirely depends on knowing upfront the number of columns and any colspans, rowspans, tbodys the table originally had. Linearisation is a process for removing all table structure - that would remove all logical organisation. There is nothing natural about the end product - it is just a stream of content with no identifiable relationship or structure.

Mordechai said on July 6, 2004 4:01 PM

Isofarro,

An img tag isn’t an image, which is why it’s called a “replaced” element. The alt attribute is part of the HTLM tag which gets replaced.

So to answer your question, yes, “image based navigation” is neutral in regards to the alt attribute. If you’re using it with meaningful text great; if it’s empty, add the text; and if it’s missing, you’re code is invalid.

As far as the tables issue goes, I’ll need to give it more thought.

Isofarro said on July 6, 2004 5:13 PM

Mordechai: “So to answer your question, yes, “image based navigation” is neutral in regards to the alt attribute. If you’re using it with meaningful text great; if it’s empty, add the text; and if it’s missing, you’re code is invalid.”

That would mean the statement: “To get an A rating you need to provide an HTML equivalent for image based navigation” is not completely true. It depends on the markup used for the image based navigation. It may already be accessible, in which case there is no need to provide an HTML equivalent to gain Level A compliance.

Mordechai said on July 6, 2004 6:02 PM

Insofarro,

What yor’re misunderstanding is that image and the img tags are two seperate things, even though they are linked. “Image based navigation” refers only to the image(s); the referring tags is HTML, which is not the same thing. By saying “It depends on the markup used,” says that mark-up is required to convey meaning. There is no valid way to include an image in HTML—only a reference to it.

Isofarro said on July 6, 2004 6:15 PM

Mordechai: “”Image based navigation” refers only to the image(s)”

Navigation would have to involve some sort of linking, otherwise it wouldn’t be navigation - how are you proposing this is done only with images? An image alone cannot be navigation - it requires behaviour and state to function.

Andy Budd said on July 6, 2004 8:59 PM

Entertaining as this discussion is, any chance we can just agree to disagree?

Mordechai said on July 6, 2004 9:47 PM

Andy,

Sure, as long as I’m right. ;)

Insofarro,

As I’m sure you’ve noticed, many, perhaps most, URLs are often hard to read and, at best, often only give a clue to what’s on the other end. That’s why links use text in the first place, and not just URIs.

Now, in difference to Andy, if you want to continue we could move this somplace else. How’s about the WSG’s list?

Isofarro said on July 7, 2004 8:49 AM

Mordechai: “That’s why links use text in the first place, and not just URIs.”

Good, now that you understand it takes destination URIs and images to create an image-based navigation, that removes your argument that images-based navigation only refers to the use of images. That concludes that inserting an HTML equivalent in addition to an existing images-based navigation is not always correct.

Robert Lofthouse said on July 7, 2004 1:58 PM

Entertaining as this discussion is, any chance we can just agree to disagree?

Out of respect to Andy’s wishes, wouldn’t it be better to continue this “argument” outside of his blog?

This post isn’t about getting definitions correct. Andy may as well change the name of the “entry” from “Quick Accessibility Quiz - The Answers” to “Quick Accesibility Quiz (The Answers) - Mordechai vs Isofarro.