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Re: "at a Minimum"

From: Marjolein Katsma <access@javawoman.com>
Date: Thu, 26 Apr 2001 19:09:24 +0200
Message-Id: <4.3.2.7.2.20010426185248.02c78b58@pop.javawoman.com>
To: "Heather Swayne" <hswayne@MICROSOFT.com>, <w3c-wai-au@w3.org>
Interesting... In fact I've just started to adopt the pair "at minimum - ideally" for specifications and similar I write (or add commnets to) for Macromedia. And pointed this out to my colleagues as a nice, "human-readable" way to distinguish priority levels...

I think it's important to make a difference between WAI guidelines and techniques. Guidelines, if well formulated, do *not* tell anyone "how" to implement something, just a minimal requirement for functionality. "At minimum" in this context should indicate that such functionality should -somehow- be provided; if not, there is no conformance. If you're talking about a "more advanced solution", then "solution" means technique to me. As long as that implementation technique meets the functional requirement of the "at minimum" in the guideline, it conforms.

As I see it, "at minimum" would not lower the bar in any way. It just tells you what you have to conform to - not how. We still have P1. P2 and P3. Well formulated, "at minimum" would be the same for all products, not something totally different for different products. Example: If we say that "at minimum" you have to provide a way to navigate the structure of the document being edited, that does not tell anyone how to do that. A structure view would be a nice solution, but find-find again would work, too (just not as nice).

Short comments below.

At 08:20 2001-04-26 -0700, Heather Swayne wrote:
>With regard to the proposed changes for ATAG v2.  I have now talked with
>several Product Groups here at MS, and the general feeling is that they
>do not like the idea of including "at a minimum" within any of the
>guidelines or sub text.
>
>Some examples of their concerns: 
>*       Including text like "at a minimum could lower the bar, to allow
>product groups to only do that minimum level of work.  As apposed to
>allowing individual companies to define their own minimum, or standard,
>that they want product groups to follow.

A minimum is just that. You are always free to have a "higher" standard.

>*       ATAG should not be telling product groups how to implement
>guidelines.  The techniques document should be used to show examples of
>how a range of products met a given guideline. 

Yes. Techniques give only suggestions for how something could be implemented. Only guidelines should use "at minimum".

>*       "The minimum" for one product could be something totally
>different than the WAIs suggestion as the minimum, does that mean it's
>wrong?  Even if ATAG doesn't think so, others may.

Well-formulated guidelines apply to all technologies they say they apply to.

>*       Will products have to implement "the minimum" even if they have
>"an advanced" solution?

An advanced solution would implement the minimum.


>Heather Swayne
>Microsoft

Marjolein Katsma
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Received on Thursday, 26 April 2001 13:09:53 GMT

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