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Re: "at a Minimum"

From: gregory j. rosmaita <oedipus@hicom.net>
Date: Thu, 26 Apr 2001 13:28:58 -0400
Message-ID: <000301c0ce76$614aaac0$5cb6f5d0@igor>
To: <w3c-wai-au@w3.org>
aloha, heather!

i am in philosophical agreement with the points outlined in your post, in
particular the first bulleted point, quote 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. unquote

this is a very real danger inherent in the concept of explicitly stating a
minimal satisfactory implementation of a checkpoint, and yet, when WAI
guidelines (such as the User Agent Accessibility Guidelines and the
Authoring Tool Accessibility Guidelines) do not contain explicit
requirements for minimally satisfying a checkpoint, the working groups have
received requests from developers, claiming that the affiliated Techniques
documents, due to their informative/non-normative status, cannot
sufficiently address what is minimally required to satisfy a particular
checkpoint...  so, while i share your concern about the potential
straitjacketing effect normative minimal requirements may have upon
developers, there is also a clear need to define normatively what exactly
constitutes minimal satisfaction of the checkpoint in question...  for
example, what use would it be to simply state that a user agent MUST offer a
search facility, if the basic parameters for a search facility aren't
explicitly stated?  the ability to search is the absolute minimum, but the
ability to search is quite an amorphous concept, so the base functionality
necessary for a UAAG conformance claim is spelled out explictly in the User
Agent Guidelines [reference 1]

as for your last point, quote Will products have to implement "the minimum"
even if they have "an advanced" solution? unquote, while the answer is,
"yes", the reply is not as onerous as one might assume... i know from my
experience as a member of the User Agent working group that what the UA WG
intends by expressing minimal requirements for checkpoints is to express the
functionality necessary to minimally satisfy the checkpoint, and NOT the
mechanism whereby the functionality is achieved -- that, as you correctly
point out, is fodder for the Techniques document...  granted, in order to
express the minimal functionality required by a checkpoint, it may be
necessary to more explicitly reference specific markup languages, but where
the User Agent WG found it necessary to explicitly state base functionality
with reference to a specific markup language or modality, the minimal
requirements are


References
1. http://www.w3.org/WAI/UA/WD-UAAG10-20010411/
--- ORIGINAL MESSAGE ---
Date: Thu, 26 Apr 2001 08:20:10 -0700
From: "Heather Swayne" <hswayne@microsoft.com>
To: <w3c-wai-au@w3.org>
Subject: "at a Minimum"

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

Heather Swayne
Microsoft
Received on Thursday, 26 April 2001 13:27:47 GMT

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