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Re: Discussion of the scope of WCAG-EM

From: RichardWarren <richard.warren@userite.com>
Date: Wed, 5 Dec 2012 12:44:45 -0000
Message-ID: <B106EC6B5F2948FD8BEEEA82D2CF8D08@DaddyPC>
To: "Detlev Fischer" <detlev.fischer@testkreis.de>, <public-wai-evaltf@w3.org>
Hi Detlev,

You open an interesting discussion about evaluation of sites in development. 
In practice most websites are always "in development" with additions and 
changes being applied to keep it fresh and up-to-date. As a result I think 
that it is not possible to exclude sites that are "in development" - how do 
you decide when it is "finished"?

What should happen is that the end report should specify when the evaluation 
took place. We have a standard statement in our reports that says something 
like " As websites are dynamic organisms this test is only valid for the 
date given".

If a website is still being built (i.e. there are bits missing) then there 
is still no reason why you cannot apply relevant parts of our methodology on 
the bits that exist. These "bits that exist" would be specified in the scope 
statement. However in such a situation we could not be able to award any 
certification or compliance statement because we are not evaluating a 
complete site..


-----Original Message----- 
From: Detlev Fischer
Sent: Tuesday, December 04, 2012 5:28 PM
To: public-wai-evaltf@w3.org TF
Subject: Discussion of the scope of WCAG-EM

Dear members of EVAL TF,

this is a reply to a direct mail by Eric earlier today (further below) - he 
agreed to post this discussion to the list.
I would be very interested to hear your views!


Hi Eric, hi Shadi

Thanks for asking me about my scope comment.

I believe that WCAG-EM would (and should) often be used in contexts where 
full conformance is not achievable for practical reasons (often due to 
corporate factors, multiple design teams in merged content, and legacy 
stuff). Focusing just of final conformance evaluation and saying 'not 
applicable to sites under development' severely limits the applicability of 
WCAG-EM. After all, the essential process of checking pages against 
conformance criteria *is* the same in both cases. I think this sentiment has 
been echoed by a number of other participants on the last call and calls 
before, and previously, in contributions to the mailing list. I also find 
this sentiment in some of the external comments we have received.

I am not quite sure anymore at what point it was once for all decided by 
EVAL-TF *not* to extend the scope of WCAG-EM to be relevant to development 
also. I personally think this is a grave strategic mistake that will limit 
the future uptake of the methodology, possibly consign it to 
near-irrelevance (think of the fate of UWEM which is hardly known in the 
wider a11y community - we had to spell it out to Leonie, for example).

The main contribution WCAG-EM makes at the moment is in defining the scope 
and the sampling approach - practical issues of how to evaluate and to rate 
are not being addressed, for reasons I have come to accept. But these first 
two aspects are equally relevant for testing sites at an advanced 
development stage that may eventually want to claim (and test for) 

I don't think we would necessarily need many disclaimers to allow for both 
use cases. It will just be important in reporting to show that one use case 
is to validate (or stake) a conformance claim, and that another use case is 
the structured gathering of information about a site's state of 
accessibility (at whatever stage) without regard to the conformance target. 
In my view, it is just a different type of reporting where for the second 
type, the comments and some way of showing the degree of conformance 
achieved at a given time are very useful, quite outside the aim of achieving 
full conformance.

I just think of the practitioner / web designer out there with an awareness 
of a11y (and clients who demand it) who will turn to and inspect WCAG-EM to 
see if there is 'anything in it for him (or her)' to support implementation 
of a11y. I have had ample exposure to the views of al1y-aware web developers 
in BIK's 95plus circle which had people from some of the most competent 
German web agencies in it, so this not just my personal opinion. I am pretty 
sure that any claim along the lines of 'WCAG-EM is only for finalised web 
sites' will be a real turn-off for such an audience.

Personally, I think it is worth having this discussion again in the larger 
group. However, I do not want to impose the discussion, and I don't want to 
be destructive or hold up the development.

In my view, it is mainly a methodology design question how to best 
communicate two distinctly different use cases for WCAG-EM without 
introducing all sorts of disclaimers. I think it can be done, and the 
general applicability and consequent uptake for WCAG-EM would benefit from 


On 3 Dec 2012, at 22:10, Velleman, Eric wrote:

> Hello Detlev,
> I have a question regarding your answer to DoC_ID_4 in the last survey:
> <https://www.w3.org/2002/09/wbs/48225/evaltfq5/results#x2631>
> EvalTF decided earlier that we did not want to extend the scope of WCAG-EM 
> to cover the different stages of the process of website development. The 
> methodology requires a website to be fully functional.
> In the survey and during the last telco you propose to change this and to 
> differentiate between two use-cases: Full evaluation (no exclusions) and 
> evaluation during development (possible exclusions).
> Would your comment be covered by the remark made by Shadi? He says: 
> "Anyone is welcome to use the document in any context but if we go down 
> the path of expanding the scope to evaluation during development then we 
> risk failing to address the primary use case that the document is trying 
> to address."
> I am afraid Shadi is right. Also I think that if we try to turn this 
> methodology into a 'one methodology fits all possible evaluations', then 
> we may end up having to write repeating disclaimers into every section 
> (this section is only applicable if... except when... or when…). I thought 
> about adding Shadi's remark in a more diplomatic way into the document but 
> that would raise many questions. If we do want to address this, then I 
> think it should be outside of the document itself.
> What do you think?
> Kindest regards,
> Eric
> =========================
> Eric Velleman
> Technisch directeur
> Stichting Accessibility
> Universiteit Twente
> Tel: +31 (0)30 - 2398270
> Christiaan Krammlaan 2
> 3571 AX Utrecht
> www.accessibility.nl / www.wabcluster.org / www.econformance.eu /
> www.game-accessibility.com/ www.eaccessplus.eu
> Lees onze disclaimer: www.accessibility.nl/algemeen/disclaimer
> Accessibility is Member van het W3C
> =========================

Detlev Fischer
testkreis - das Accessibility-Team von feld.wald.wiese
c/o feld.wald.wiese
Thedestraße 2
22767 Hamburg

Tel   +49 (0)40 439 10 68-3
Mobil +49 (0)1577 170 73 84
Fax   +49 (0)40 439 10 68-5

Beratung, Tests und Schulungen für barrierefreie Websites
Received on Wednesday, 5 December 2012 12:48:28 UTC

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