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Re: unifying the output of different groups

From: Jason White <jasonw@ariel.ucs.unimelb.EDU.AU>
Date: Fri, 12 Dec 1997 14:07:01 +1100 (AEDT)
To: HTML Guidelines Working Group <w3c-wai-gl@w3.org>
Message-ID: <Pine.SUN.3.95.971212134050.13066G-100000@ariel.ucs.unimelb.EDU.AU>
Please excuse me if these comments are a restatement of the obvious, but I
was unable to attend the WAI meetings and have thus been living at the end
of what has been aptly described as a rather narrow information pipe.

The purpose of the GL group, as I understand it, is to develop guidelines
which treat those access issues that can best be addressed at the level of
HTML markup. These guidelines will set out appropriate markup practices
which, if correctly followed, will ensure that HTML documents contain all
of the semantic and structural content required to permit a rendering in
different media. Admittedly, this requirement is complicated by the well
known circumstance that today's HTML user agents and adaptive technologies
for the most part do not work together in such a way as to take full
advantage of the structural information provided by HTML. This is one
reason why some guidelines are needed today which are not likely to be
necessary in the future as the supporting technologies evolve; and it is
also a reason why the UI group is to be formed.

The intended audience for the markup guidelines includes HTML authors and
authoring tool manufacturers, as well, of course, as the other WAI working
groups, for instance AU and RC. Given the close interconnections between
markup, authoring tool and user interface guidelines, there must be close
cooperation between these groups, which, I would submit, should so far as
possible confine their actual work to their respective areas of activity.
This means that the GL group would concentrate on answering the question:
in what does good HTML markup practice consist, with regard to
accessibility? Produce markup guidelines for now and for the future, with
appropriate gradations of priority. The authoring tool group would then
refer to these guidelines in recommending appropriate practices to
authoring tool developers, and consider those aspects of an authoring
tool's operation and user interface which need to be addressed so as to
provide authors with opportunity and guidance in creating accessible HTML
documents. Likewise, the UI working group would consider how the markup
practices developed by GL are to be manifested in the user interface and
how adaptive technologies can take advantage of them. This also connects
with the DOM work which is part of the PF activity.

The question which remains unanswered is: who will bring the various
guidelines documents together and create a unified W3C guidelines site,
replete with examples as well as the normative documents themselves? Could
it be accomplished via the coordination group, or by cooperation between
the chairs of GL, AU and UI?

I think it would be helpful to make clear at the outset the precise scope
of each set of guidelines and how the respective documents will relate to
each other. A site map will help but it is not the same as a clear
statement of what the scope of each document should be. I am sure that
such issues will be more easily grasped once the charters of the various
groups have been completed. I hope that the charters can be made available
to all of the participants so that the members of each group are aware of
precisely what the others are intended to deliver.

Some cross-posting of messages between the various groups and mutual
interaction is to be expected.
Received on Thursday, 11 December 1997 22:07:28 UTC

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