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Re: Classification of AT in ATAG2

From: Jason White <jasonw@ariel.ucs.unimelb.edu.au>
Date: Fri, 26 Dec 2003 18:25:47 +1100
Message-ID: <16363.57979.268317.260486@jdc.local>
To: Charles McCathieNevile <charles@sidar.org>
Cc: gdeering@acslink.net.au, Matt May <mcmay@w3.org>, w3c-wai-au@w3.org, wai-xtech <wai-xtech@w3.org>

I think there is a more general point to be made here, which applies
across guidelines and is not specific to ATAG:

It is better to make guidelines conditional on the characteristics of
software or content, rather than to design them around a
classification thereof. The main reason for this preference is that
such classifications tend to become artificial and problematic as
technologies and practices evolve. Further, the purposes of guidelines
are better served not by trying to categorize, but by clearly stating
and documenting the preconditions under which individual guidelines or
success criteria apply. This way, the guidelines continue to work when
conventional categories break down.

In WCAG for example, we do not try to classify content in any of the
conventional ways, e.g., static vs. dynamic, page vs. Web application,
document vs. user interface, client-side vs. server-side adaptation,
etc., and I think the WCAG working group should resist such
categorizations exactly on the grounds sketched above. Instead, it is
vital to make clear the preconditions under which each conformance
requirement applies; conventional categorizations may be referred to
for purposes of explanation or illustration, but not, in my opinion,
in the normative text, which should focus on characteristics of
content rather than on imposing a classification scheme.

I suggest the same holds for other guidelines as well.
Received on Friday, 26 December 2003 02:26:22 UTC

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