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Conformance claims - impact on requirements

From: Detlev Fischer <fischer@dias.de>
Date: Fri, 23 Sep 2011 12:17:40 +0200
Message-ID: <4E7C5CC4.2090908@dias.de>
To: public-wai-evaltf@w3.org
Hi everyone,

going through the in the document "Understanding Conformance" on 
conformance claims..

...and Accessibility Support Statements..

.. I am left somewhat puzzled as to what is actually *required* in a 
WCAG 2.0 conformance claim.

Why am I raising this question now? I thought it might be instructive to 
work backwards from the conformance claim (alongside an accessibility 
mark, seal, or whatever) backed up by tests based on our methodology 
that content would eventually want to place. All things that are 
mandatory for such a claim would have to be covered in our testing 
methodology so they can later be adequately referenced.

The examples of ways to claim conformance in section "Understanding 
Conformance Claims"  do not seem to be particularly precise in telling 
us the minimum requirements.

There is talk about clains for
* content added after a certain date
* some content conforming to WCAG 1.0, other to WCAG 2.0
* conforming to level A plus "report conformance to individual
   Success Criteria once Level A conformance has been achieved"

If I interpret all this correctly, what is at least needed is
1 a time stamp of the claim
   (R: so this must be documented as the test is completed)
2 the scope given in a URL to an entire site or a section
   (or several) thereof
   (R: a URI defining the scope is needed, presumably including
   all and any states that might be called up dynamically on
   any URI within that scope - correct??)
3 The Level of conformance of the claim: A, AAA, or AAA
   (R: The methodology must accommodate tests bound to any one
    of the three levels: A, AA, or AAA)

Not clear to me whether required (since excluded in *some* examples of 
conformance claims) are:
* listing technologies that content "relies upon" (such a XHTML 1.0, CSS
   2, etc)
* listing accessibility-supported content technologies

It is also not clear whether there needs to be, or should be, a default 
'expiry date' of a claim, and any provsion explaining or specifying what 
changes to content would invalidate a time-stamped claim. For many web 
sites, it is clear that content added can quicky affect the level of 
accessibility claimed, especially regarding the 'monster' SC 1.3.1 and 
also 1.1.1. It also places uncertainty on the requirement of 
replicability, this time not because of varying assessments by experts, 
but because the thing tested is a moving target.

Then, some requirements are already headlined as optional. Interesting 
here is the statement of content technologies "used but not relied upon" 
because this might be seen as a clear indication that technologies have 
been used in the manner of progressive enhancement / graceful 
degradation - which is not equally clear from Conformance requirement 5, 

The requirements indicated above (R:) may not need to be listed in that 
detail in our requirements document. It might be helpful though as it 
indicates some technical 'musts' for any tools being built (or revised) 
on top of our methodology.

Detlev Fischer PhD
DIAS GmbH - Daten, Informationssysteme und Analysen im Sozialen
Geschäftsführung: Thomas Lilienthal, Michael Zapp

Telefon: +49-40-43 18 75-25
Mobile: +49-157 7-170 73 84
Fax: +49-40-43 18 75-19
E-Mail: fischer@dias.de

Anschrift: Schulterblatt 36, D-20357 Hamburg
Amtsgericht Hamburg HRB 58 167
Geschäftsführer: Thomas Lilienthal, Michael Zapp
Received on Friday, 23 September 2011 10:18:05 UTC

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