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RE: AUWG: Some thoughts on tightening the definition of authoring tool

From: Alex Li <alli@microsoft.com>
Date: Fri, 28 Jan 2011 23:10:56 +0000
To: "Richards, Jan" <jrichards@ocad.ca>, AUWG <w3c-wai-au@w3.org>
Message-ID: <9198129930DE7B438721C42CD06E84C53681FDB7@TK5EX14MBXC101.redmond.corp.microsoft.com>
To elaborate my concern a bit--is the act of sending a picture from the camera phone to the web album an act of authoring?  Common sense tells me it is not.  Most users certainly wouldn't think so.  It is not to say there is no accessibility concern here.  But it should be confined to the web album in general, not the software on the phone.

This is just an example to help illustrates where we think ATAG should apply and not apply.  I can come up with more examples.  Until we have the scope of "authoring tool" better defined, we will continue to have problems specifying rules for it.  Our audience need to be able to look at any product and be able to reliably determine whether the product is an "authoring tool" or not--and thereby determining if ATAG applies to the product or not.  If ATAG is to be relevant in the long term, we need a specific scope.

-----Original Message-----
From: w3c-wai-au-request@w3.org [mailto:w3c-wai-au-request@w3.org] On Behalf Of Richards, Jan
Sent: Thursday, January 27, 2011 11:44 AM
Subject: AUWG: Some thoughts on tightening the definition of authoring tool

Hi all,

A couple of meetings back, Alex and I took an action to look more closely into specifying what is meant by auto-generated content. What really seemed to be the issue was that the definition of authoring tool was too wide. So I did some work to tighten it up. I spoke with Alex yesterday about it and we're not entirely satisfied, but we wanted to bring it to the group to get some more thoughts (SO these are not yet proposals):

[1] Authors need to be in some sense aware that they are authors...see (c) below:

Draft Definition of "authors"

People who use an authoring tool to create or modify web content for use by other people. This may include content authors, designers, programmers, publishers, testers, etc. working either alone or collaboratively (see also Part B Applicability Note 6). A person only qualifies as an author of given content if: 
(a)	The authoring tool supports the relevant web content technology used to implement that content (e.g., a person using a webpage authoring tool that can link images in, but not edit them is an author of the HTML, not the images) ; and
(b)	The person has *author permission* for that content; and
(c)	The person is made aware that they are creating content (e.g., a person is not an author if their behaviour is tracked and used to generate a report)

[2] Tools that collect use input primarily for data collection purposes should not be considered authoring tools even if the data gets turned into web content along the way - see Note 4 below. This ties back into author awareness - if I'm filling in my passport application I don't know or care that the passport application officer sees my application as a web page. Now, the developer will want to consider accessibility in terms of workplace accommodation etc. but the demands that can reasonably be placed on authors are quite different than ATAG assumes. 

Draft Definition of "Authoring Tool"
Any software, or collection of software components, that authors can use to edit web content for use by other people (end-users).
*	Note 1: Web-based and non-web-based: ATAG 2.0 applies equally to authoring tools that are web-based, non-web-based or a combination (e.g. a non-web-based markup editor with a web-based help system).
*	Note 2: Collection of software components: Several applications, plug-ins, etc. can be used together to meet ATAG 2.0. See the note in the "Required Components of an ATAG 2.0 Conformance Claim".
*	Note 3: Web content must be for use by other people (end-users)": ATAG 2.0 applies to software tools that one or more people (the authors) can use to specify the web content to be experienced by one or more other people (the end-users). ATAG 2.0 does not apply when software tools only allow the user to specify the web content experienced by themselves (e.g., their own display settings on a travel website).
*	Note 4: Data collection: ATAG 2.0 does not apply to software that are primarily intended to gather data from end-users (e.g., application forms, e-commerce orders, web searches, etc.), even if that data is later formatted as web content for processing, storage, etc. In contrast, software that lets a user create web content for use by other people that draws from these data sources could be considered an authoring tool.
*	Note 5: Live publishing: ATAG 2.0 applies to authoring tools with workflows that involve live authoring of web content (e.g. some collaborative tools). For these authoring tools, conformance to Part B of ATAG 2.0 may involve some combination of support before (e.g. for preparing slides), during (e.g. for live captioning as WCAG 2.0 requires at Level AA) and after the live authoring session (e.g. the ability to add a transcript to the archive of a presentation that was initially published in real-time). For more information, see the Implementing ATAG 2.0 - Appendix E: Authoring Tools for Live Web Content.
*	Examples of software that may usefully be considered authoring tools under ATAG 2.0:
o	web page authoring tools (e.g. WYSIWYG HTML editors)
o	software for directly editing source code (except simple text editors, see below)
o	software for converting to web content technologies (e.g. "Save as HTML" features in office suites)
o	integrated development environments (e.g. for web application development)
o	software that generates web content on the basis of templates, scripts, command-line input or "wizard"-type processes
o	software for rapidly updating portions of web pages (e.g. blogging, wikis, online forums)
o	software for generating/managing entire web sites (e.g. content management systems, courseware tools, content aggregators)
o	email clients that send messages in web content technologies
o	multimedia authoring tools
o	software for creating mobile web applications
*	Examples of software that are not usefully considered authoring tools under ATAG 2.0:
o	simple text editors: ATAG 2.0 is not intended to apply to simple text editors that can be used to edit source, but that include no support for the production of any particular web content technology. In contrast, ATAG 2.0 can apply to more sophisticated source editors that support the production of specific web content technologies (e.g. with syntax checking, markup prediction, etc.).
o	e-commerce order form: ATAG 2.0 is not intended to apply to software that is primarily intended to gather data, even if the data collected from the order form results in web content such as online tracking pages, etc.

[3] ALSO: 

- I'm also thinking that it might help to work in a distinction between "Authoring" and "Recording" (e.g., taking a picture on my camera phone, the act of recording a video)  but I haven't had time to fully think it through.

- AND in some sense the author needs to be on board with the idea that their content is for "useful" use by other people...a hacker who subverts an authoring interface should not be considered an author.

Just some food for thought...


(Mr) Jan Richards, M.Sc.
jrichards@ocad.ca | 416-977-6000 ext. 3957 | fax: 416-977-9844 Inclusive Design Research Centre (IDRC) | http://inclusivedesign.ca/ Faculty of Design | OCAD University
Received on Friday, 28 January 2011 23:11:32 UTC

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