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WCAG Compliance Levels

From: Kynn Bartlett <kynn@idyllmtn.com>
Date: Sun, 02 May 1999 23:17:14 -0700
Message-Id: <>
To: w3c-wai-gl@w3.org
Is it appropriate to voice a concern about the compliance
levels as written?  This is from experience with explaining
the WCAG "single A, double AA, triple AAA" system recently
at FedWeb.

The problem is CSS.

It's a priority 2 checkpoint to use CSS:

  3.6 Use style sheets to control layout and presentation.
      [Priority 2]

Many people will be reluctant to do this at this stage, which
means that they will be unable to achieve double AA rating.

Which is not bad in and of itself, except when it causes them
to say, "oh, well, if that requires CSS, then we won't choose to
do a double AA rating, we'll just go for single A compliance."

Which means plenty of other good and useful priority 2 checkpoints
_will_ be ignored.  Many people -- especially those in government 
as I found last week -- want very precise boundaries on what does
and does not need to be done.  If you require something that they
will NOT want to do as part of double AA compliance, then they will
likely not do ANYTHING that's a P2.

This is a concern to me from a practical standpoint, as one who
has to deal with many other web authors, some of whom are not
nearly as idealistic as I am.  I don't give a whit for compliance
ratings, I'll strive to make a page accessible regardless.  But
I have met many people who have flat-out said "well, if I can't
get double AA compliance without CSS, then I'll just have to go
with single A compliance."

Apologies for not realizing this sooner and raising the point
sooner; this was the first time since the compliance language
was finalized that I taught a course to web authors and realized
the potential problem.  I figured you would rather hear it now,
even if it's too late for an "official" change, than to not hear
it at all.

Suggestion:  Perhaps allow an optional "Plus" rating for anyone
who meets all of one compliance level and half of the next; so
if I meet all P1s and most P2s, I can have "single A plus (A+)
compliance"?  Basically I want to be able to encourage people to
meet as many checkpoints as they can, even if there may be one or
a few of a given priority level that they are _unable_ to meet.

(Apologies if this has already been raised; after about 15 minutes
of looking I haven't yet found this issue addressed on the GL
site or the archives for the list.)

Kynn Bartlett  <kynn@idyllmtn.com>                   http://www.kynn.com/
Chief Technologist, Idyll Mountain Internet      http://www.idyllmtn.com/
Become AWARE of Web Accessibility!                  http://aware.hwg.org/
Dan Shafer likes AWARE, so will you!          http://www.kynn.com/+shafer
Next Trip:  Toronto, Canada (13 May-17 May)              http://www8.org/
Received on Monday, 3 May 1999 02:20:45 UTC

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