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Re: [Gallery] More thoughts...

From: Judy Brewer <jbrewer@w3.org>
Date: Fri, 13 Sep 2002 00:09:15 -0400
Message-Id: <5.1.0.14.2.20020912233307.00b02ef8@localhost>
To: Sarah.Horton@Dartmouth.EDU (Sarah Horton)
Cc: EOWG <w3c-wai-eo@w3.org>

Sarah,

Thanks for commenting more on the gallery concept. Some thoughts in 
response below.

At 12:10 PM 9/9/2002 -0400, Sarah Horton wrote:
>Hi, all. I've been thinking more about the gallery idea since our 
>discussion on Friday, and here are some thoughts.
>
>When I think about what we are trying to deliver with a gallery, and the 
>goals we outlined at our meeting, two things jump out. One is that we want 
>to have a way to showcase organizations or individuals who are making 
>significant efforts. Second is that we want to include interest and 
>implementation, and discuss processes. Alan mentioned the idea that we 
>might not focus on implementation, but instead process and initiative. And 
>Doyle mentioned creating a showcase, which to me feels different from a 
>gallery.

I'm unclear how a showcase differs from a gallery; they seem to be 
different words for the same thing, e.g., a space in which one shows things 
that have been selected according to some kind of criteria to illustrate 
some theme or point that one has in mind.

In looking at the five goals that we listed,
http://www.w3.org/WAI/EO/Drafts/gallerychangelog.html
the commonality that I see among the first three
         "1. demonstrate that there is both interest and implementation
         2. showcase organizations that are succeeding at this, with intent 
to influence others
         3. show accessibility with a variety of good design examples"
is a focus on implementation: in [1] interest and _implementation_; in [2] 
organizations that are _succeeding_ at this; and [3] 
_accessibility_..._good design examples_.

I heard the focus on process as a secondary, not primary, emphasis.

>What if the WAI Gallery was place you visit to see what people are doing 
>to make their sites accessible, not where you go to view accessible Web 
>sites? I don't think anyone is really prepared to say their site is fully 
>accessible (it is impossible to predict all needs and design to 
>accommodate them).

In our discussion last week we clarified that what we meant was conformance 
with WCAG, not blanket accessibility, e.g.
         "clarify accessibility disclaimer: wcag 1.0 aa yes, absolute 
accessibility no"
Some people are willing to say that their sites conform to WCAG 1.0 AA, and 
to have their sites evaluated for conformance.

>But many individuals and organizations are more than ready to say that 
>they are working to make their sites accessible. Why not do as Alan 
>suggests, and focus on intent and process instead of the finished work (to 
>use our favorite baking analogy, focus on the ingredients and the steps 
>instead of the tasty result).
>
>This approach has the benefit of allowing groups into the gallery that 
>have excellent accessibility initiatives and processes. Alan mentioned 
>using a questionnaire to collect information about process. We could 
>showcase the efforts, provide details about the implementation process, 
>and link to the Web site. And with this link, WAI is not then saying, here 
>is an accessible Web site. Instead, WAI is saying, here is an individual 
>or organization that is attempting to develop an accessible site, and here 
>is how they are doing it.

I'm wondering how we would select the processes to showcase. Wouldn't the 
best selection criteria be processes that resulted in accessible Web sites, 
if making Web sites accessible is our goal?

We've just put a year of energy into the implementation resource suite, 
which focuses on process. If the overall goal of WAI was solely to convince 
people to develop processes relating to Web accessibility, it would be 
logical to focus all of our Education and Outreach efforts on process alone.

But if what we want to do is to actually make the Web accessible, it seems 
worthwhile to demonstrate that outcome by showing accessible Web sites.

I wish I could equate organizations having involved processes focusing on 
accessibility with having good outcomes with regard to accessible products, 
services, technologies, buildings, etc. But this is not always the case. 
Some organizations talk about accessibility for years but nevertheless 
produce inaccessible products and services. If we're interested in the 
result, e.g., in this case accessible Web sites, why not show the results?

>Also, I thought of another thing we need to consider in our goals 
>discussion. We covered WAI goals and gallery nominee goals, but we need to 
>think about user goals: what do users visiting the gallery want? One thing 
>I'm sure one audience wants is accessible code, but we discussed that and 
>I understand that that will go with templates. What can we offer our 
>disperate audiences in the WAI gallery that will be useful and applicable 
>to their work? I cannot think that links loaded with disclaimers is of 
>much use to the general user. That is useful to us to have somewhere to 
>point when someone asks for an example of an accessible site, and it is 
>useful for the individual or organization that is included.

I agree that we're going in a direction that's too heavy on disclaimers. 
I've gotten some advice on how we might handle that, that I will report & 
we can discuss at the meeting tomorrow.

I think that each one of the gallery goals that we discussed at the last 
meeting meets different kinds of user needs:

"demonstrate that there is both interest and implementation" -- users want 
to see and be able to point to a selection of wcag-conformant web sites in 
action
"showcase organizations that are succeeding at this, with intent to 
influence others" -- users want sites to point to when they are advocating 
with other organizations who question whether this is possible & whether it 
is being done
"show accessibility with a variety of good design examples" -- users want 
to be able to point to sites proving that accessibility does not have to be 
dull & boring text-only sites
"provide real world picture, not limited and static" -- users want to show 
that accessibility can be maintained over time
"point to the organizational processes & practices" -- users want to show 
some of the supporting practices that help get one to the point of having 
an accessible Web site -- though I would argue here that if the process 
doesn't result in an accessible site, it is not worth our while to point 
people to

>Many evaluation tools promote the notion that there is a lovely moment 
>that you can say, Voila! An accessible Web site! But making a site 
>accessible is an ongoing and interative process that requires resources 
>and personnel to monitor and update and refine. The WAI Gallery could 
>reinforce that message by shifting our focus from a gallery of accessible 
>sites to a gallery of accessibility initiatives.

On the other hand though, if the WAI Gallery only showed people trying, and 
not the actual accessibility of Web sites that is our goal, then it seems 
we would be sending a message that accessibility is not possible -- a 
message that I do not believe is accurate.

- Judy

>That's all for now! Thanks for listening!
>
>Best,
>Sarah

-- 
Judy Brewer    +1.617.258.9741    http://www.w3.org/WAI
Director, Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI), World Wide Web Consortium (W3C)
MIT/LCS Room NE43-355, 200 Technology Square, Cambridge, MA,  02139,  USA
Received on Friday, 13 September 2002 00:08:43 GMT

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