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Audience and Language Mismatch for WCAG 2.0

From: Wayne Dick <wed@csulb.edu>
Date: Fri, 16 Feb 2007 22:29:54 -0800
To: Judy Brewer <jbrewer@w3.org>,EOWG <w3c-wai-eo@w3.org>
Message-ID: <web-12102453@remus.csulb.edu>

WCAG 2.0 has a mismatch between the 
actual audience and
the intended audience.  The actual 
audience appears to be evaluation tool 
developers, but the real intended 
audience is broader.

WCAG differs from other standards 
because it is not a technology 
specification, and it cannot be 
expressed using formal specification 
languages like BNF or DTD. The problem 
is that evaluation tool developers 
need a formal language specs to to 
code unambiguous software. WCAG 2.0 is 
written in a formal structure that 
supports this goal as much as 
possible. While the language in WCAG 
2.0 is English, it is so rigidly 
structured that it reads link a formal 
language not natural language.

The difference between WCAG 2.0 and 
the technology specifications is the 
technology specifications are aware 
that their formal languages  are 
almost unreadable.  So, they accompany 
formal grammatic specifications with 
natural language descriptions.  These 
are just as accurate as the formal 
structures, but they are readable by 
experts. The problem is that WCAG 
mistakes its near formal language 
descriptions for  natural English. 
 What is needed is a true natural 
language description like the ones 
given for HTML or CSS objects along 
with their formal descriptors.
Received on Saturday, 17 February 2007 06:30:03 GMT

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