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Re: Should we consider factors other than accessibility [was Textual Images vs. Styled Text

From: Charles McCathieNevile <charles@w3.org>
Date: Wed, 29 Nov 2000 17:11:13 -0500 (EST)
To: "Leonard R. Kasday" <kasday@acm.org>
cc: Kynn Bartlett <kynn-edapta@idyllmtn.com>, William Loughborough <love26@gorge.net>, "'WAI-GL'" <w3c-wai-gl@w3.org>
Message-ID: <Pine.LNX.4.30.0011291652330.23730-100000@tux.w3.org>
As I understand the work of this group, it is to develop a technical
reference which outlines the requirements for content to make it accessible.

I do not think this group should attempt to describe the state of the art of
accessibility in technology around the world, cost it out, and then determine
that we know what makes sense for exception cases.

It is not the remit of this group (or any W3C group) to determine what
particular people who have to design web pages for a living actually do. In
some cases, this document is used by governments or purchasers who say "Do
what is in this document, because that defines accessibility". In other cases
(for example the Australian government, and the Australian Human Rights and
Equal Opportunities Commission) they say "Make the site accessible. The WCAG
specification tells you what you need to know, better than anything else, so
that is a good palce to start".

If we try to determine what we think are acceptable exception cases, then we
will not have a reference for what makes content accessible, beyond WCAG 1.0,
and I think that would be a shame. It is also a disservice to the communities
we are trying to serve.

At the Web Accessibility Summit held in Australia recently, co-sponsored by
the W3C Australian Office, the Deputy Commissioner for Human Rights
(disability), Graham Innes, said that the Commission's view was simple: use
the WCAG guidelines.

In response to a specific question about whether this was a guarantee that
you would not be discriminating, he said that it was not a guarantee, it was
simply the best advice the Commission had about what to do to ensure
accessibility. If a site that was triple-A was not accessible to someone, and
could be made so, the commission would normally order the changes to be made
(like many such bodies, the commission exempts certain cases on the basis
that it would pose an unreasonable hardship to comply). Likewise, it is not
possible to proceed against a site becuase it does not meet WCAG, it is
necessary to show that there is an actual problem.

This is what I consider a good use of the guidelines in a legal or paralegal
situation. The fact that the people who have actually gone to the extent of
handing down a finding consider that the WCAG is the best reference available
suggests to me that we are on the right track.

Charles McCN

On Wed, 29 Nov 2000, Leonard R. Kasday wrote:

  Shades of meaning aside, this is an issue we need to face head on.

  WCAG 1 priorities, and therefore compliance, are based explictly only on
  accessibility:  P1, P2, P3, correspond to whether

        "one or more groups will find it impossible/difficult/somewhat
  difficult to access information in the document"

  There is no explicit refererence to any perceived or real tradeoffs against
  non-accessibility factors that this involves, although   some folks have
  read implicit references into some guidelines.

  As I understand it this was a considered, deliberate decision for WCAG 1.0,
  and I agree that we need to have such a standard, one that only deals with

  However, I also agree (with e.g. Kynn) that these tradeoffs have to be
  explicitly considered _somewhere_ . If WAI doesn't consider the tradeoffs,
  someone else will, and we may not like what they come up with.

  Do we want to consider the tradeoffs here in GL?  If not then indeed, its a
  WAI coordination group issue.
Received on Wednesday, 29 November 2000 17:11:58 GMT

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