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Some comments on 2 November draft of AU guidelines

From: Ian Jacobs <ij@w3.org>
Date: Mon, 02 Nov 1998 20:58:13 -0500
Message-ID: <363E6335.E9945F8B@w3.org>
To: w3c-wai-au@w3.org
Hello Jan and Jutta,

Here are some comments on the 2 November
draft of the WAI Authoring Tool Guidelines [1], which is
looking better and better.

- The document is missing a document identifier
  (e.g., in top right corner of document: WD-WAI-AUTOOLS-19981102).

- The document is also missing the W3C logo.
  (Compare with [2])

- Judy recommended that we put the following text
  in the status section of the User Agent guidelines [2].

	    This document has been produced as part of the W3C
	    WAI Activity, and is intended as a draft of a
	    Proposed Recommendation for how to improve user
	    agent accessibility. User agents include browsers
	    (graphic, text, voice, etc.), multimedia players,
	    and assistive technologies such as screen readers,
	    screen magnifiers, and voice input software.

   I propose that similar wording be used in the status section
   of [2] to describe authoring tools. Is one sentence possible?

- In the intro, change the name of the document to
  "WAI Page Author Guidelines".

- Will the authoring tool guidelines be divided into a 
  "guidelines" document and a "techniques" document? If so,
  have the editors considered where the split might occur?
  Two of the recent challenges for the User Agent Guidelines have
  been (1) What should the structure of both documents be (and
  in particular, the table of contents (2) What is a guideline
  and what is a technique? The most recent solution to (1) has been
  to organize the guidelines table of contents
  according to user needs and the techniques table of contents 
  according to user agent interfaces. Establishing the difference
  between guideline and technique has been easier with this division.
  Still, calling one thing a guideline and another a technique
  has felt more arbitrary than it has with the page author guidelines.
  In general, that which is language or system-dependent belongs
  in the techniques document

  The editors might find the tables of contents of [2] and [3]
  useful as authoring tools and user agents may share many
  qualities. In particular, I found the following themes helpful
  in organizing the techniques (although I haven't gotten any feedback
  yet as to their utility):

         - Configuration of features
         - Visibility of features
         - Accesibility of features
         - Identification of document elements
         - Navigation of document elements
         - Querying for document information
         - Activation of active components
         - Notification (of changes) to the document or interface

  In the current authoring tool guidelines, sections 3 and 4
  seem to contain guidelines (with techniques listed
  under them) and 5 and 6 seem to contain info that would
  go in the techniques document.

- At the UA WG face-to-face meeting, the participants lamented the
  fact that the editors has grouped together information in the
  techniques (e.g., "Allow the user to control fonts, colors,
  and speech volume). So, in the latest version, we have split
  the techniques as much as possible into individual items that
  developers could use as a checklist. This means more techniques
  (and more priority one responsibilities), but the WG chose
  this path for clarity's sake.

  Thus, for instance, under 3.A.5 (Promote accessibility awareness
  in tool suites), under "Image, Audio, and Video Editors", there
  is currently one technique while there should be several: one
  for image editors, one for audio editors, and one for video editors.

  In short, please keep this in mind as you refine and add techniques.

- One day we will have to coordinate the terms and definitions
  between the UA guidelines and the AU guidelines.

- In the PA guidelines and UA guidelines, guidelines have been
  written with the imperative voice: "Ensure", "Provide", "Allow", 
  etc. Thus, for example, for 3.A.2, technique #1, perhaps it
  should be "Ensure that authoring tools may be configured
  by users" or something like that (see comment below).
- 3.A.2, technique #1: what does "at least partially" mean
  in "Authoring tools should be designed so that accessibility awareness
  is at least partially user configurable." This technique states
  the same thing as the guideline 3.A.2 and probably should just
  be a statement in the opening paragraph of the section.

- 3.A.2, technique #4: What are "active accessibility system features"?

- 3.A.2, technique #5: Reference to "ftp" seems too specific to me.
  There might be other means of transfer that are used (e.g., Jigedit
  at W3C). Tools should not publish inaccessible pages.

- 3.A.3, technique #2: "...authoring tools should always assume that 
    the author intends to create accessible pages." And do what?

- 3.A.4, opening sentence: change "dealing with the
  manipulation of" to "that manipulate

- 3.A.4, technique #3: Change "advertised" to "author should
     be notified".

- 3.A.5, Techniques sentence: make "appear" into "appears".

- 3.A.5, Technique #1: Change "should be permitted to be published"
  to "should not be published".

- 3.A.5, Technique #2: Split into several techniques.

- 3.B: Change guideline/section header to "Provide accessible
       information". (In general, I think "provision" should be replaced
       by either "provide" or "providing", as in "the provision of 
       information" should be changed to "providing information".

- 3.B.1, Technique #1: Both focus and edit position are indicated as
  the context for help. Which should be used? See the discussion
  of "Point of Regard" in the UA guidelines.

- 3.B.1, last technique: Drop "frequent" from "frequent examples"
     (and replace, possibly, with "many", "numerous", or something
      like that).
- 3.B.2, Where is "Universal Design" defined (or where is a reference

Sorry, that's all I have time for today. I should have more comments
soon. I hope the above are helpful.

 - Ian

[1] http://www.w3.org/WAI/AU/WAI-AUTOOLS.html
[2] http://www.w3.org/WAI/UA/WD-WAI-USERAGENT-19981030/

Ian Jacobs (jacobs@w3.org) 
Tel/Fax: (212) 684-1814 
Received on Monday, 2 November 1998 20:57:37 UTC

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