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ATAG comments

From: Web Standards / Normes Web <ws-nw@tbs-sct.gc.ca>
Date: Thu, 15 Sep 2011 22:01:15 -0400
To: "'public-atag2-comments@w3.org'" <public-atag2-comments@w3.org>
Message-ID: <E1R4Nkl-0000xb-Vi@maggie.w3.org>
The consistent use of terminology is important to the understanding of any detailed documentation. This document is largely successful in that respect..

One area of concern, however, is the inconsistent use of the terms "accessible" and "accessibility."
For titles and principles, the use of the terms "accessible" and "accessibility", on their own, do not pose an issue.  In the body of the detailed guidance, however, it is important that the terms  be used consistently to avoid confusion and  posing more challenges to those who are implementing the recommendations.

The introductory paragraph contains the statement: "This document includes recommendations for assisting authoring tool developers to make their authoring tools more accessible to people with disabilities, including blindness and low vision, deafness and hearing loss, learning disabilities, cognitive limitations, motor difficulties, speech difficulties, and others."
This statement aligns with the WCAG 2.0 use of the term "more accessible."

The document then goes on, however, to use the term "accessible" in different contexts which may be interpreted in absolute terms and which will not be either possible in terms of perfect accessibility for all or measurable.

"The authoring tool is responsible for ensuring that editing-views display the web content being edited in a way that is accessible to authors with disabilities (e.g. ensuring that text alternatives in the content can be programmatically determined)."

The subjective use of the term "accessible" is open to interpretation and cannot be measured.

The same holds true for the use of the phrase "not accessible."

"Rationale: If authoring tools automatically specify web content that is not accessible, then additional repair tasks are imposed on authors."

It would be clearer to state "web content that is not conforming to WCAG 2.0"

Many occurrences of the terms "accessible" and "accessibility" are linked to the definition of "accessible Web Content." This would not pose a problem if the terminology was consistent.

Below are some examples which are all linked to the same definition:

accessible content (linked to definition: accessible Web Content)
*       web content (linked to definition: accessible Web Content)
*       accessible (linked to definition: accessible Web Content)
*       accessible web content (WCAG) (linked to definition: accessible Web Content)
*       accessibility (linked to definition: accessible Web Content)
Terms linked to a common definition should be consistent. The clearest of the five terms is "accessible web content (WCAG)" and using this would remove ambiguity surrounding the intent of the statements.

One of the objectives of ATAG is the production of WCAG 2.0 conformant code and this should be clearly identified.  Where WCAG 2.0 defines the desired outcomes for accessibility, it makes sense to align other recommendations with WCAG 2.0 in the use of common terminology.

Web Standards Office
Information Technology Division
Chief Information Officer Branch
Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0R5
Received on Friday, 16 September 2011 15:02:14 UTC

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