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Comments on Rating and Classification

From: Gregg Vanderheiden <po@trace.wisc.edu>
Date: Wed, 28 Jan 1998 23:48:31 -0600
Message-ID: <01BD2C47.3E4EE560.po@trace.wisc.edu>
To: "'GL - WAI Guidelines WG'" <w3c-wai-gl@w3.org>
We have received several comments (12) about changes to ratings and
classifications.  Most of these request an upgrade of a guideline from
"recommended" to "required."  Based on the discussion from the meetings in
Austin we pared the four level rating system (required, strongly
recommended, recommended, helpful) down to a two level.  This resulted in
the following definitions of "required" and "recommended."

[REQUIRED]   Required for some groups of users to access the information on
a page.

[RECOMMENDED]  Makes page easier to understand and use.

Thus, in order for something to be rated as "required"
a person would be unable to use a page at all if the guideline was not
followed. It was also our understanding that the set of "required" 
should be kept as small as possible.

Several suggestions for upgrades do not appear to meet
this definition.  For example,  "Section 2 recommendation 5: Provide
descriptive titles for all images used as links." As long as alt-text is
provided for these images, users will be able to use these images as links.
 Descriptive titles will increase the usability. Therefore this would 
appear to
be a [RECOMMENDED] item.

There were also suggestions for "downgrading" several recommendations.  For
example, that until support of style sheets is "mature" it is unrealistic 
to require people to use them.

All of the items are listed below with their comments.    This is an 
excerpt from the new action log
that we are using to keep track of discussions, resolutions, and to do's. 
 This log will be found at www.w3.org/wai/gl/

A couple additional notes on the Ratings

At one time we had talked of a 3 level system so that we could have
1 - REQUIRED:  Required for some people to use
2 - HIGHLY RECOMMENDED:   Very important item.  Difficult for people to use 
3 - RECOMMENDED: Makes page easier to understand and use.

But the consensus was that we should try to get by with two levels so that 
is what we have now.

So here is what we have at this point.   Be sure to send in comments if you 
have them for any of the items.

Issue 1
Current: Section 1 Recommendation 1:  Use style sheets to position text and
objects, etc...

Discussion: I think it is not reasonnable to mark as "required" not using
table to layout things, and to put it in the same bullet list as horrible
things like converting text to image or using 1pixel gif. CSS2 positioning
will provide better support for absolute position of boxes on page and
there is already some floating properties in CSS1, but we're still far from
the implicit-rescaling and the simple layout model provided by table rows
and columns. Plus there are thousands of such tables out already and I
don't see them moving to any kind of positioning anytime soon (W3C being on
my top list).
I would argue for talking about TABLE in the table section only, while
exposing the details of making TABLE (even used for layout) accessible.
More comments there.

Action: Changed from required to recommended

Issue 2
Current:  Section 2 recommendation 5: Provide descriptive titles for all
images used as links.

Discussion: Upgrade from [RECOMMENDED]  to [REQUIRED].

Action: No action taken at this time.  Does not meet the current definition
of "Required."

Issue 3
Current: Section 8 Recommendation 1: Create link phrases that make sense
when read out of context.

COMMENT 1: Change this item from Recommended to Required
Even though this is something the browser could have a say about, and help
with, I think we should make it a required as it is really a very important
navigability issue
COMMENT 2: Should this be required?   Does it prevent the use of the page 
or only make it harder.  Also, it is not always possible to create
link phrases that make sense when read out of context is it?

Action: No action taken at this time.

Issue 4
Current: Section 5 Recommendations 1,2,3. HTML structural elements are only
used to convey meaning, not presentation.   HTML presentational elements
are only used to convey presentation, not meaning.   Headings are nested
properly and are not used for layout.

COMMENT 1: Change all 3 From Recommended to Required, they need to be at 
the same level as using SS at the beginning.
COMMENT 2: If SS are moved from required to recommended,
does this comment still apply?
COMMENT 3: If these are not followed will the page be inaccessible or just 
less usable?  I guess in some instances, not following this will make the 
page inaccessible (or at least very difficult to access).   I could agree 
with moving this up, do others agree?
COMMENT 4: Shouldn't item two say "HTML presentational elements
are only used to convey presentation, not structure."  since most all
presentation contains some type of meaning?

Action: Moved from recommended to required.  Item two also edited to say 

Issue 5
Current: Section 5 Recommendation 4: Avoid blinking or scrolling text.

Discussion:  Make this one required.

Action: Changed to required.

Issue 6
Current: Section 6 Recommendation 1. List structure and list items are
correctly encoded.

Discussion: From Recommended to Required - same thing as above.

Action: Changed to required.

Issue 7

COMMENT 1: In the Applet section, I think there is too much Required.
Given that Java Accessibility is going to be a reality, we should force
people to transcribe their applet in some other formats.
COMMENT 2: Java Accessibilty is not now a reality and it is not clear when 
it will be (or how successful or how universal the accessibility will be)
COMMENT 3: Not all browsers support Java

Action: No action taken.

Issue 8
Current: Avoid using tables to arrange text documents in columns or
otherwise layout a page. [New] Authors should use style sheets to position
graphics and text.

Discussion: I think it's OK to say that here after we've talked about TABLE
markup. I'd make this one a Recommended though, just to be realistic.
I think there are 3 kinds of table (not 2 as previously mentioned by
others): the first kind if real "table", showing real table data (expense
report, travel schedule, etc), the second and the third are table used for
layout, but I'd made a difference between simple 2 to 3 columns table used
for very simple layout and 5+ X 5+ cells table used as a mosaic/tile
framework to build complete new 2D rendering engine.
I think it's OK to allowed the simple layout kind, providing the
linearization is trivial.

Action: Broke this up into two guidelines.
1.  [Required] Avoid using tables to arrange text documents in columns.
2.  [Recommended] Avoid using tables to layout a page.  [New] Authors 
should use style sheets to position
text and graphics.   Also note that further down in the list is:
[Recommended] For tables of text and numbers, provide an alternative page
that presents the table information in a linear fashion.  These have all be
grouped together.


Issue 9
Current: Provide a <NOFRAME> option for each <FRAMESET>. When using the
<NOFRAME> option it is easiest to include all essential information on the
bottom of the main frame.
Title each frame.[New]

Discussion: Adding a title is Required, adding a longdesc is recommended.

Action: Made "title" required, "longdesc" was already recommended.

Issue 10
Current: Section 9 Recommendation 1: Ensure that your pages are readable
and usable without frames.

COMMENT 1: From Required to Recommended, or an Interim. A browser issue
COMMENT 2: <NOFRAME> does not seem to be an interim
solution.  Currently, if  NOFRAME is not provided, the page is inaccessible
(thus required).

Action: No action taken at this time pending more discussion.

Issue 11
Current: Testing tips:  To predict how one of today's screen readers might
read your table,  hold a piece of paper up to your monitor. As you slide
the paper down   the monitor, read the words above the line the paper
creates as a  sentence. Ask another person to listen as you read the page
out loud without pausing for column gaps. Can he or she make sense out of
what you have read?

COMMENT 1: Interim testing tips, it should say so.
COMMENT 2: It says, "To predict how one of *today's* screen
readers..."  therefore would seem to already imply interim.  (also testing 
tips are not otherwise labeled).

Action: No action taken. References:

Issue 12
Current: Include a phone number, e-mail address, postal address or fax
number  for submitting information.

COMMENT 1: Interim.
COMMENT 2: Isn't it always a good idea to include this
information if someone is having problems accessing the information.

Action: No action taken pending further comment.

Gregg and Wendy

Received on Thursday, 29 January 1998 00:56:56 UTC

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