Re: New panel logout/shutdown alert - a mini ui review

Matthew Paul Thomas said
> Section 508's requirements for "Software applications and operating 
> systems" don't mention timeouts or anything like them.
> <>

Hi Matthew:

You appear to be right; the '508' section 1194.21, "Software
applications and operating systems" doesn't appear include this
requirement as far as I can see, and would take a fairly broad
interpretation of section 1194.31, "Functional performance criteria". 
However, other sections of 508 do, for instance:
>From 1194.22 "web based Intranet and internet information and

(p) When a timed response is required, the user shall be alerted and
given sufficient time to indicate more time is required. 

>From 1194.25 "Self contained, closed products."

(b) When a timed response is required, the user shall be alerted and
given sufficient time to indicate more time is required. 

In the WAI User Agent Accessibility Guidelines,
for instance, issues of timing are mentioned in the following
"checkpoints", with priority as given by W3c in parentheses:
2.4 Allow time-independent interaction (P1)
4.4 Slow multimedia (P1)
4.5 Start, stop, pause, and navigate multimedia (P1)

There seems to be a clear consensus in the accessibility guidelines I
can put my hands on that timing issues are important, and that timers
can present accessibility problems.  The 508 requirements suggest that
the way to address this is via a "I need more time" interface element,
whereas the WAI guidelines adopt a more "slow the timeframe down" or
"pause" approach, appropriate to the WAI's focus on media streaming. 
The solution, "make timeouts configurable", is a solution which I've
heard put forward for years.

Taken in this light, absence from section 1194.21, "Software
applications and operating systems.", may be a simple case of omission,
since very similar issues are highlighted elsewhere in 508 and in the
WAI documents.

So on that basis, perhaps there's no "statutory" obligation that forbids
timer-based notifications, at least in current US regulations, but in
general it's still an accessibility issue.  In the specific case in
question, I think a delay on the order of a minute is not a worry,
especially since it was action on the part of the end user which
triggered the dialog.  

I see a parallel with the discussion on the battery notifications - in
which case the timing issue is out of our control, and although I'd love
to see an "I need more time" button on the battery applet, I am not sure
how to implement it ;-)


> Is there some other legal requirement you are referring to?
> -- 
> Matthew Paul Thomas

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