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ERT WG proposal for discussion at F2F

From: Wendy A Chisholm <wendy@w3.org>
Date: Thu, 15 Feb 2001 15:03:34 -0500
Message-Id: <>
To: w3c-wai-er-ig@w3.org

I am having a hard time summarizing our discussion from Monday as a 
proposal for discussion at the F2F with WCAG and AU.  here's what I've 
got.  Help?

The ERT WG has been working on an Evaluation and Repair Language 
(EARL).  The goals of this language are twofold:
1. to be generated by authoring, evaluation, and repair tools to track the 
accessibility of a page or a site.
2. to be shared between authoring, evaluation, and repair tools so as not 
to replicate work or to build on each other's work.

Other applications:
1. To search for sites that conform to WCAG or that do not have certain 
accessibility issues.
2. To make conformance claims on any set of guidelines (i.e. could use for 
ATAG or UAAG conformance claims as well).

More information is available at [1] (thanks to Sean Palmer)

At Monday's telecon [2], we discussed various claims that someone might 
make about an attribute or an element on a site or page.  For example, 
someone or some tool might say, "image x has an alt attribute.  the 
contents of the alt attribute are acceptable."
Or "image x is missing an alt attribute."
or "image x does not have a longdesc attribute and needs one"
or "image x does not have a longdesc attribute and does not need one."
or "the alt-text for image x is ok, but I suggest that you use this text 
Or, "the alt-text for image x  is ok, but could be better."

This lead to a discussion of rating scales.  For example, one complaint 
that I have heard from people implementing WCAG 1.0 is: I have followed all 
of the priority 1 checkpoints and all but 1 of the priority 2 checkpoints 
yet I can only claim Level A conformance.  In other words, it is all or 

Perhaps in WCAG 2.0, using EARL someone could claim they have met Level A 
as well as checkpoints x, y, z.

On an individual checkpoint level, there are many subjective checkpoints in 
WCAG.  These require a human "rating" of sorts.  A rating implies that a 
scale is being used.  The scales might be:
verbosity ("the longdesc needs more detail"),
appropriateness ("this alt-text is not equivalent"),
simplicity ("the language is too difficult"),

Perhaps we should associate a scale and a test procedure that someone can 
follow to help them determine if they have met each technique/checkpoint?
(Aside: I still find it very hard to distinguish between checkpoints and 
techniques - i still think these need to be called like technology-specific 
checks or something)

Previously, people felt that we could use a point system for each 
checkpoint. People would add up their points to determine their level of 
accessibility.  This was discounted with the argument that someone could 
have a high point total but not be accessible.

What the ERT WG is asking is "can we only answer yes or no or not 
applicable for a checkpoint?"

The ERT WG proposes that we discuss conformance issues at the joint meeting 
between AU WG, WCAG WG, and ERT WG during the afternoon of March 1 rather 
than AERT open issues.

If others from the AERT WG would like to help me clarify our questions, I 
would appreciate it.  I know we have talked some about ratings and decided 
not to do that for WCAG, but we are not talking about something a bit 
different this time.

[1] http://www.w3.org/WAI/ER/IG/#earl
[2] http://www.w3.org/WAI/ER/2001/02/12-minutes.html
wendy a chisholm
world wide web consortium
web accessibility initiative
madison, wi usa
tel: +1 608 663 6346
Received on Thursday, 15 February 2001 14:55:07 UTC

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