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RE: WCAG and "undue hardship"

From: Charles McCathieNevile <charles@w3.org>
Date: Wed, 31 May 2000 17:15:25 -0400 (EDT)
To: Greg Gay <g.gay@utoronto.ca>
cc: w3c-wai-gl@w3.org
Message-ID: <Pine.LNX.4.20.0005311704090.7673-100000@tux.w3.org>
There are several issues arising here:

1. What is the baseline capability that we are aiming at?

This has been identified by the group already as something taht needs to be
specified in a revision of the guidelines.

2. Should the guidelines be written based on what is "reasonable effort"

This has been discussed before, over the last couple of years. I would
suggest that the status quo - that the checkpoints are described in terms of
user needs, rather than what is seen as relatively feasible, since that
changes extremely rapidly, and depends on where you start - one man's
impossible is another woman's product, or so I have seen it happen.

3. Should we be writing guidelines to be used in a legal setting?

Any W3C specification has to meet a standard of being interpretable,
implementable, and leading to the interoperability of the web. It has to
acheive consensus in the w3c process. However, it is not issued by a
government. It should be appropriate as a basis for a government to use as a
description of what will make content accessible, but decisions about what is
undue burden vary from place to place and situation to situation. I would be
extremely unhappy if the levels applied in the USA were used by us in such a
way that the Australian government (which sets higher standards in some
areas) ended up having a lower standard, or vice versa.

just my personal thoughts

Charles McCN

On Tue, 30 May 2000, Greg Gay wrote:

  Jason White wrote:
  > The concept of undue hardship is relevant in the courtroom (or in a
  > tribunal hearing), but not in the guidelines.
  I have to disagree. The WCAG is currently being used widely to judge
  accessiblity and guide the development of web accessiblity legislation
  Canada, the US, and Australia ( and probably elsewhere).. It is only a
  of time before the WCAG is used in an accessibility related litigation.
  > I agree with an earlier observation from Charles that we do need to
  > establish the minimal requirements that can be expected of a user
  > for purposes of the guidelines, and these are likely to be rather
  > XHTML Basic, now available as a public working draft, provides
  > insight into what are thought to be the minimal capabilities of user
  > agents, including emerging mobile devices, and can obviously serve as
  > starting point for further discussion.
  Accessibility with regard to disability, and accessiblity with regard to
  agents are two different issues which need to be distinguished when
  to notions such as undue hardship. Laws have been put in place to ensure
  people with disabilities are not excluded. There will be no such laws
  put in
  place to ensure that web content is accessible to a person accessing it
  through their cellular phone. User agent accessiblity will be design
  Yes, the two are not mutually exclusive.
Received on Wednesday, 31 May 2000 17:17:26 UTC

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