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WCAG 2 conformance and evaluation issues

From: Carlos Iglesias <carlos.iglesias@fundacionctic.org>
Date: Tue, 18 Mar 2008 14:33:42 +0100
Message-ID: <09700B613C4DD84FA9F2FEA5218828190320E030@ayalga.fundacionctic.org>
To: <public-wai-ert@w3.org>

Hi group,

As per the last teleconference action item [1] here you have some thoughts about potential conformance and evaluation issues with WCAG 2.

The current WCAG 2 definition of web page is "A non-embedded resource obtained from a single URI using HTTP plus any other resources that are used in the rendering or intended to be rendered together with it by a user agent"

Including things like: 

- A frameset web page at "http://example.com/frameset" and all possible pages that may be rendered in any of the frames.

- A Web mail program built using Asynchronous JavaScript and XML (AJAX). The program lives entirely at "http://example.com/mail", but includes an inbox, a contacts area and a calendar. Links or buttons are provided that cause the inbox, contacts, or calendar to display, but do not change the URL of the page as a whole.

- A movie-like interactive shopping environment entirely at "http://shopping.example.com/" where you visually move about a store dragging products off of the shelves around you and into a visual shopping cart in front of you. Clicking on a product causes it to be demonstrated with a specification sheet floating alongside.

>From the accessibility testing perspective this arises two problems:

- When we want to record test results, if the test subject is a web page as defined by WCAG 2 it can't be represented by an URI solely any more because in a web applications developed with AJAX, FLEX or other technologies, the URI itself doesn't represent the current state of the application.

As we need to know what has exactly been tested, we may use a representation of the content, or at least a hash (or any other "status mark") to know if the status has changed.

To record the current state of an AJAX web page we can use all the correspondent HTTP requests and responses and the current DOM representation, but I'm not sure about whether something similar is available with other technologies like FLEX.

- When we want to test or audit conformance, the current conformance claims form is not compatible with the processes that tools or auditors follow.

Conformance is currently defined only for full Web pages and cannot be achieved if part of a Web page is excluded.

If we look again at the WCAG 2 definition of web page, that includes for example any page that may be loaded into a frame (i.e. virtually anything) or any possible combination of interactions between the user and any sort of AJAX-like application, and thus is impossible to check in practice.

Additionally, WCAG 2 conformance is focused on completeness in opposition of the sampling approach that is followed for manual inspection on real audits.

[1] - [http://www.w3.org/2008/03/12-er-minutes.html#action01]



Carlos Iglesias

Fundación CTIC
Parque Científico-Tecnológico de Gijón
33203 - Gijón, Asturias, España

teléfono: +34 984291212
fax: +34 984390612
email: carlos.iglesias@fundacionctic.org
URL: http://www.fundacionctic.org 
Received on Tuesday, 18 March 2008 13:34:04 UTC

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