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Thoughts on conformance

From: Peter Korn <peter.korn@oracle.com>
Date: Sun, 30 Sep 2012 10:46:14 -0700
Message-ID: <50688566.8060500@oracle.com>
To: "public-wcag2ict-tf@w3.org" <public-wcag2ict-tf@w3.org>
Hi gang,

One of the major issues left for us to tackle is WCAG 2.0 conformance, 
and what it means in the non-web ICT context.

To help us, I've put together two pages on our wiki:

  * Conformance
    which excerpts all mentions of "conformance" from our Work Statement
    <http://www.w3.org/2012/04/WCAG2ICT-WorkStatement.html>, and
  * Peter's Conformance Proposal
    which encapsulates my thoughts on how we should approach & address
    conformance in our work (and which I've also summarized on the main

Briefly, my own thoughts are:

  * Unlike what our Work Statement tells us to do with the individual
    SCs, we've been given a bit more latitude in figuring out how to
    address conformance.  The most key quote for me to illustrate this
    difference is (with emphasis in /*boldface italics*/):

    "The resulting Working Group Note will include a
    success-criteria-by-success-criteria discussion of applying WCAG 2.0
    to non-Web ICT, including their interface components and platforms,
    */and the extent to which /**/WCAG Conformance
    <http://www.w3.org/TR/WCAG20/#conformance>/**/is meaningful to
    non-Web ICT./*"

  * Therefore, I believe we should do at least two things, and ideally
    four things (all quotes in the list below come from our Work Statement):

     1. *Evaluate* "what WCAG Conformance means in the context of
        non-Web ICT" and *decide* "the extent to which WCAG 2.0
        Conformance is meaningful to non-Web ICT"
     2. Should we decide that WCAG 2.0 Conformance is meaningful, we
        should then *describe* "what WCAG 2.0 Conformance means in the
        context of non-Web ICT"
     3. We might also *consider *whether our description should
        recognize/incorporate any of the ideas coming out of EvalTF
        related to an SC-by-SC analysis of the extent to which non-web
        ICT (particularly software) meets or fails to meet the SC.
     4. We might also explicitly *describe *the challenges we find in
        applying WCAG 2.0 Conformance to non-web ICT in our published

To that end, in Peter's Conformance Proposal 
I have created 3 sections:

The first section describes the challenges I've found in applying WCAG 
2.0 Conformance to non-web ICT.  I invite the Task Force to comment on 
these challenges - did I miss any?  Am I overstating any of them?

The section section attempts to answer the question "Is Conformance 
meaning for non-Web, non-embedded Content?" (e.g. what we used to call 
"electronic documents").  My conclusion here is that WCAG 2.0 
Conformance should be pretty applicable here.

The third & final section attempts to answer the closely related 
question, "Is Conformance meaningful for non-Web software?"  Here my 
conclusion is different - I don't think that the strict "all or nothing" 
approach of WCAG 2.0 Conformance makes sense for non-web software (and 
as I know from my work on the WCAG 2.0 Evaluation Methodology Task Force 
<http://www.w3.org/WAI/ER/2011/eval/eval-tf>, there are many challenges 
in applying WCAG 2.0 Conformance to web applications as well). Instead, 
I suggest that what might instead be meaningful is an SC-by-SC analysis 
and report on the extent to which non-web software is found to meet each 
SC (which seems to be where the WCAG 2.0 Evaluation Methodology Task 
Force <http://www.w3.org/WAI/ER/2011/eval/eval-tf> is also headed, as 
can be seen from the September 20 public draft of their Website 
Accessibility Conformance Evaluation Methodology 
<http://www.w3.org/TR/WCAG-EM/> document).




Oracle <http://www.oracle.com>
Peter Korn | Accessibility Principal
Phone: +1 650 5069522 <tel:+1%20650%205069522>
500 Oracle Parkway | Redwood City, CA 94065
Green Oracle <http://www.oracle.com/commitment> Oracle is committed to 
developing practices and products that help protect the environment
Received on Sunday, 30 September 2012 17:46:55 UTC

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