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Re: Granularity of conformance claims

From: Kynn Bartlett <kynn-hwg@idyllmtn.com>
Date: Sun, 25 Jul 1999 11:18:56 -0700
Message-Id: <4.1.19990725110814.009b41d0@mail.idyllmtn.com>
To: Jason White <jasonw@ariel.ucs.unimelb.edu.au>
Cc: Web Content Accessibility Guidelines <w3c-wai-gl@w3.org>, kynn@hwg.org
At 12:00 AM 7/22/1999 , Jason White wrote:
>I agree with Charles that there are substantial reasons which favour
>confining conformance claims to the categories defined in the document;
>but this issue should at least be discussed further in the long term.

Here's my take on it.

We present a number of Guidelines, which are great.  They are 
prioritized, which are great.  They have abundant techniques, 
which is great.

However, when it comes to implementation, the Guidelines as written
only present three suggested plans for implemenation of these
very valuable guidelines:

Either:

(a) Implement all priority one checkpoints, or
(b) Implement all priority one and two checkpoints, or
(c) Implement all checkpoints.

It strikes me that none of these are reasonable implementation plans
for any "real life" website.  None are usable for the corporation,
government agency, or educational organization who is seeking advice
and guidance on creating an accessible web site.

This is where we have our breakdown -- we don't give good 
implemenation advice.  Without the single-A, double-AA, triple-AAA
levels concept, we fall back to "must", "should", "may", which 
actually _is_ an acceptable, but loose, plan for implementation.
Adding on the levels, however, moves us past "must", "should", 
and "may" and recommends an _implementation plan_ (or at least,
something that will be taken as such) which is completely
nonsensical.

A rationally crafted implemenation plan by a company (org, school, etc.)
will include checkpoints of all levels, depending on their ability,
focus, time, and desires.  Any good plan MUST include all priority
one checkpoints, but may still remain accessible if only a subset
of level two or three is included.

However, the current "levels" system does _not_ encourage the creation
of a rational implementation plan by companies and agencies, but
instead encourages braindead implementation strictly along priority
levels.

<EM>THIS IS VERY DANGEROUS AND WILL HURT THE ACCESSIBILITY OF THE
WEB IN THE LONG RUN.</EM>  We do _not_ want to be encouraging blind
obedience to "shoulds" and overlooking of "mays" -- we _want_ to
encourage web site managers to take a serious look at the issues
and create a web site accessibility policy that works _for them_.

In summary:  The "three levels of compliance" will be taken as 
implemention plans; all of them, by not encouraging thoughtful
application of the WCAG, make very bad implemenation plans.  We
should not encourage braindead implementation; the levels of
compliance are a threat to what we're trying to do here.


--
Kynn Bartlett                                    mailto:kynn@hwg.org
President, HTML Writers Guild                    http://www.hwg.org/
AWARE Center Director                          http://aware.hwg.org/
Received on Sunday, 25 July 1999 14:22:30 GMT

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