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Re:W3C Feb meeting in France and IMS meeting in Sydney

From: Liddy Nevile <Liddy.Nevile@motile.net>
Date: Thu, 27 Dec 2001 08:48:07 +1100
Message-Id: <a05100300b84fe8cd57a9@[203.54.98.54]>
To: w3c-wai-au@w3.org, IMS_Accessibility@collegis.org
Cc: dd@w3.org
I've been thinking about these meetings.

As members of the IMS Accessibility WG, we work with other members 
who are major authoring tools developers.  These tools are those that 
will be used in education but, of course, this is not the only place 
they will be used. On the other hand, companies like Microsoft, IBM, 
etc are not members of IMS, even though those products will be used 
extensively in education.

The IMS member companies are active; we have close relationships and 
the developers are working hard, and effectively, I might say, on 
their products. The W3C Authoring Tools (AU) WG has companies working 
hard too, particularly focused on making sure the 'standards' will 
work.

So there are two separate groups involved in similar efforts with 
very little interaction. As a member of the IMS Accessibility WG 
Sub-Committee for harmonisation, within IMS and beyond, and as a 
member of the WAI AU WG, I am working on this problem. I find it a 
bit hard to understand why we are not all working together. Surely 
IBM and Microsoft have the same or similar difficulties as WebCT and 
BlackBoard? The communities that benefit from the work get involved 
in education and the rest of life.

The AU Guidelines (standards) set check points for authoring tools. 
Rather than working from the Content Guidelines towards better 
products, the IMS companies might want to use the AU checkpoints? (In 
fact, I believe they do have their products tested against the 
check-points but privately, not by working with the W3C AU WG.) 
Without having the IMS companies participating in the testing of the 
AU Check-points, the AU WG may be missing out on good info about the 
utility of the check-points, as the companies in question are 
knowledgeable and have a lot to offer.

As the IMS group, we are not trying to do the W3C WAI work, in as 
much as we don't try to set standards but rather point to the 
well-defined existing standards.  In reality, we have worked toward 
providing our community, the education world, with 'guidelines' full 
of explanations,  techniques and reference points for making the web 
content more accessible. There is no compulsion in here - the draft 
White Paper, available on the web at http://www.imsproject.org/ is 
designed to be a helpful document oriented towards the educational 
world. In fact there is very little that will not be of general 
interest. (Behind the scenes, the IMS WG members who contribute to 
this work are working hard to ensure that their products follow the 
guidelines.)

The approach being taken by the IMS WG is designed to fill the gaps 
between the standards and the users, to make the standards more 
effective. It seems that this is exactly what recent efforts by the 
AU WG have been doing too - Wombat does this much better than the 
first set.

It is too late to have a combined meeting in February but surely it 
would be good to work hard, together, towards a shared F2F meeting 
very soon?

Liddy
Received on Wednesday, 26 December 2001 23:29:11 UTC

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