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Re: Meeting agenda

From: Charles McCathieNevile <charles@w3.org>
Date: Thu, 12 Apr 2001 07:16:03 -0400 (EDT)
To: Jason White <jasonw@ariel.ucs.unimelb.edu.au>
cc: Web Content Accessibility Guidelines <w3c-wai-gl@w3.org>
Message-ID: <Pine.LNX.4.30.0104120700390.4297-100000@tux.w3.org>
Oooh, I am glad I am not in Australia <grin/>

My thoughts on teh agenda items interleaved below:

On Thu, 12 Apr 2001, Jason White wrote:

  1. Verifiability of compliance with checkpoints in WCAG 2.0. As noted in
  earlier working group discussions, it is easier to verify compliance with
  some checkpoints than with others. How should this difference be addressed
  in the further development of the guidelines? Should certain checkpoints
  be removed, or reduced in status, simply on the ground that it may be
  difficult to determine whether conformance has been achieved?

We should not downgrade the status of a requirement just because we can't
work out how to express it. That would change the document from a resource
that describes the things that are needed by people with various disabilities
into a list of things we know how to do, which while interesting is hardly
what I understood that we were trying to produce.

Besides, the provision of equivalent alternatives is just as subjective and
difficult to verify as the clarity of language - perhaps even more so since
there are many automatic strategies for assessing language clarity but almost
none for actually providing text equivalents (except speech-to-text
technology, which is in its infancy, and Optical Character Recognition which
is only useful in what are already trivial cases).

Unfortunately it is simply the case that some requirements rely on the "I
don't know how to describe it, but I know it when I see it" type of reasoning
that is the basis of Common Law (the technical term Common Law, as opposed to
Statute Law), but of which we are so afraid. Actually this is also an extreme
statement - in general we are capable of describing the problem, what we are
attempting to achieve with a solution, and providing some examples of
solutions with explanations of how they achieve (or not) the goals we have.

  2. The use of auditory/graphical illustrations in WCAG working group
  documents.

Yes, we need them. Most particularly in documents published for public
comment. The Web is a multimedia medium, and we need to show that we
understand that and how to deal with it.

Unfortunately it is true that they are time-consuming and difficult to create
in many cases. But then, we have spent a lot of time on our text too.

cheers

Charles
Received on Thursday, 12 April 2001 07:16:07 GMT

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