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RE: Audience and Language Mismatch for WCAG 2.0

From: Welsh, Jack R <jack.r.welsh@boeing.com>
Date: Sat, 17 Feb 2007 13:40:39 -0800
Message-ID: <81E4B91C20FFA547B5E6351911AABB3D02CF8971@XCH-NW-2V1.nw.nos.boeing.com>
To: "Wayne Dick" <wed@csulb.edu>, "Judy Brewer" <jbrewer@w3.org>, "EOWG" <w3c-wai-eo@w3.org>

Wayne,

Great description of the problem and insightful diagnosis of how it
could be addressed.

Judy,

Will you make sure that this gets passed on the Helle so she can include
with the minutes?

Thanks.

Jack . 
(206) 679-7453 

-----Original Message-----
From: Wayne Dick [mailto:wed@csulb.edu] 
Sent: Friday, February 16, 2007 10:30 PM
To: Judy Brewer; EOWG
Subject: Audience and Language Mismatch for WCAG 2.0
Importance: High


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 21:40:53 GMT

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