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Re: New Version

From: Ian B. Jacobs <ij@w3.org>
Date: Mon, 10 Aug 1998 11:25:04 -0400
Message-ID: <35CF10D0.C30A0B71@w3.org>
To: po@trace.wisc.edu
CC: "GL - WAI Guidelines WG (E-mail)" <w3c-wai-gl@w3.org>
Gregg Vanderheiden wrote:
> There is a new version of the Guidelines Working Draft up on the GL website
> http://www.w3.org/wai/gl/
> as before there is a table version and a linear version of the guidelines.
> Table version is http://www.w3.org/WAI/GL/19980806.htm
> The linear version is http://www.w3.org/WAI/GL/19980806txt.htm


I think the guidelines are looking great. Here are a few comments.
The ones marked [Editorial.] do not refer to the guidelines as such
but rather the prose or organization of the final easier-to-read

0) [Editorial.] Some words should be defined, such as:
     a) "equivalent" (as in what makes two forms of information roughly
     b) "modality"  (B.1, Rationale)
     c) "collate" (A.4, Technique 3)
     d) "link phrases" (D.5)

1) Rating and Classification

 - Instead of "implementing" a guideline (presumably with 
   one or more techniques), I suggest using a different expression,
   including "follow a guidline", "observe a guideline", "respect
   a guideline", or even "comply with a guideline". I like the latter,
   but realize that it's much stronger language that may scare off
   some readers.

 - In the paragraph following the priorities: "For Techniques, 
   there may be a number of techniques..." This should be fixed.
   [Editoria.] I think that the differences between a guideline and a
   should be more clearly spelled out.

 - [Editorial.]
   In the introduction to the guidelines, a statement should be made
   authors should keep in mind that some of their audience is required
   override and ignore the intended layout and design of the page. Many
   of the guidelines (those for sense-independence and
   are motivated by that fact.

2) Section A.

 - "Provide alternative representations of all non-text information so
    a page may be perceived and used without needing to be seen and
    needing to be heard."

   Perhaps some explanation should be given about when alternative
   are and aren't helpful.  For instance:

   1) Text is almost always useful as it may be read or spoken. However,
      text may confuse a user when it is presented improperly by a UA.
For instance,
      tabular text, spaces between words, or ascii art read by 
      a screen reader may lead to confusion.

   2) Sound is useful to describe visual information (images, video,
      However, sound must be complemented by text.

   3) Images are useful, however (1) they must be complemented by text
      and possibly sound (2) some people may have difficulty seeing them
      in some contexts.

   ...and so on. I'm not sure whether saying something like this steals
   the thunder of the guidelines or whether it complements them by 
   comparing the alternatives in one place. Maybe this could appear
instead in
   a central reference document.
 - Guideline 5. "Use HTML in a way that allows you to provide
       presentations easily." My first reaction to this was "This
       in the techniques section." After a good night's sleep, I have
       changed my mind (for now!). Perhaps what struck me was the word
       in the guideline. I think it's the only guideline to refer to
       explicitly (although some refer to some HTML features). I propose
       removing HTML from the guideline and saying something like:
       "Design documents that readily lend themselves to alternative

3) Section B.

   - Guideline 2: "Use elements and attributes appropriately." Define
     (e.g., "as specified").

4) Section C.

  - Guideline 2. "Enable keyboard operation of all page elements." Why
all? Does this
    mean active (links, controls) elements? Should be defined.

  - Guideline 3. "Provide interim solutions to facilitate operation ..."
       "Solutions" strikes me wrong here. Instead, I propose echoing the
       of A.5 (minus the "HTML" part): "Design documents that are
       to users with older browsers and assistive technologies." 

5) Section D.

 -  Guidelines D.1 and D.3 are similar. Perhaps a more abstract
       guideline would be: "Group document components into semantic
       units and clearly label those units." Under this guideline,
       would refer to form controls, lists, and frames. I realize that
       frames may be an important enough subtopic to merit its own

 -  Guideline 5. "Create link phrases that strike a balance between
being an
       accurate description of the link, even when read out of context
       at the same time, not being too long." Proposed: "Create link
       phrases that (1) do not repeat on a page and (2) are meaningful
when read
       out of context and (3) are terse." Note: Since the technique for
       guideline is the same as the guideline, perhaps the technique
should be
       changed. For example, one technique might be to avoid phrases
       as "Click here."

6) Section E.

 -  I think E.1 should say more specifically : "Do not use elements or
   attributes unless they are defined in a W3C Recommendation 
   (HTML 2.0, 3.2, or 4.0)." Note the addition of "W3C" and
  - Proposed guideline: "Avoid deprecated features of a language." The
    HTML 4.0 spec says that authors should avoid deprecated features (as
    are likely to be dropped in future versions and with the advent of 
    new technologies).

That's all for now!

 - Ian

Ian Jacobs (jacobs@w3.org) 
Tel/Fax: (212) 684-1814 
Received on Monday, 10 August 1998 11:30:11 UTC

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