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Proposal for Guideline 2 as well as a proposal to trim WCAG 2.0 to 3 guidelines (won't william be glad?)

From: Wendy A Chisholm <wendy@w3.org>
Date: Wed, 03 Jan 2001 15:44:17 -0500
Message-Id: <>
To: w3c-wai-gl@w3.org
Happy New Year!

This e-mail contains some reasoning about why, how, and where I ended up at 
a proposal for trimming our draft to 3 guidelines.  At the end is a 2 
question questionnaire that I would appreciate responses to.

There were several proposals about how to reword Guideline 2, as well as a 
couple threads about the myth of separating content from 
presentation.  I've been trying to synthesize all of this information into 
the new draft.

Another aspect I've been considering is ensuring that we answer the "who, 
what , why, where, how" questions.

If we look at Guideline 1, I think it generally states "what needs to be 
done."  The checkpoints under Guideline 1 state "how to do it" and the 
explanatory text of the checkpoints elaborate on the "how" as well as "why 
do it" and "what it means."  The techniques will further describe "how to 
do it" at a technology-specific level.

Therefore, in looking at Guideline 2 it currently reads:  "Separate content 
and structure from presentation."  This sounds more like a "how" than a 
"what."  I am also concerned about the myth of separating presentation from 
semantics, but I won't discuss that here.  I want to focus on the mechanics 
of the document.

We are also trying to create something that is easy to understand by 
less-technical or non-technical people.

With all of this in mind, it seems that Guideline 2 should describe what 
needs to happen to make the structure accessible.

The checkpoints describe how:
1. Use markup languages according to specification
2. Use style languages to control layout and presentation.
3. Use markup or a data model to provide the logical structure of content.

What do these things accomplish?  We are asking the designer to expose the 
structure of the document.  What is structure?  Structure primarily 
describes relationships between different size "chunks" such as a heading 
to a paragraph,  n number of chunks that make up a chapter.  Hierarchy.

The "what" is that we need to know the logical order in which to navigate 
the relationships of the document or application.

While Guideline 1 says, "Design content that can be presented visually, 
auditorily or tactually, according to the needs and preferences of the 
user."  Guideline 2 should say, "Design content that can be navigated and 
presented according to the needs and preferences of the user."

Checkpoint 2.2 really falls under Guideline 1.  In fact, I think everything 
can fall into 3 basic categories:

Guideline 1: Presentation (combine with parts of 5 - device independence, 
and 6 - graceful transformation)
Guideline 2: Interaction (combine with 4 - browsing and navigation and 
parts of 5)
Guideline 3: Comprehension

In a sense this is separating presentation from structure, behavior, and 
content along the lines of the Model/View/Controller paradigm.

Therefore, here is a rough reformulation of WCAG 2.0.  I have combined some 
of our existing checkpoints, subsumed others.  I have not made a map 
between them.  The checkpoints are probably not technically complete.  The 
idea is to test the new structure not determine if the wording of each 
checkpoint is exactly as it should be.  If the structure seems ok, then I 
propose to take another pass at wording, adding back the examples and 
rationales.  This is just a sweep to look at the mechanics and structure of 
our document.

Guideline 1. Graceful transformation. Design content that can be presented 
visually, auditorally, or tactually, according to the needs and preferences 
of the user.

1.1. Provide a text equivalent for all non-text content
1.2. Synchronize text equivalents with multimedia presentations (captions).
1.3. Synchronize a description of essential visual info with multimedia 
presentations (auditory descriptions).
1.4 Use style languages to control layout and presentation (create for 
specific devices if able).
1.5 Ensure that content transforms gracefully (no matter what technology 
the user has or doesn't have, they are able to interact with your content)

Guideline 2. Device independence. Design content that can be interacted 
with without a mouse, only with a keyboard, only through voice, without 
voice, or with or without other devices, according to the needs and 
preferences of the user.

2.1 Use markup languages according to specification.
2.2 Use markup or a data model to provide the logical structure of content.
2.3 Minimize the use of or give the user control of content that may 
interfere with their ability to focus (animations, blinking text, scrolling 
banners, etc.)
2.4 Give the user control of mechanisms that cause extreme changes in context
2.5 Provide consistent interaction behaviors (navigation mechanisms, 
interface controls)
2.6 Provide various search options
2.7 Give users control over how long they can spend reading or interacting 
with content.
2.8 Use device independent event handlers
2.9 Design assistive-technology compatible user interfaces

Guideline 3. Comprehension. Design content that is easy to understand.

3.1 Use consistent presentation
3.2 Emphasize structure through presentation, positioning and labels
3.3 Divide information into smaller, more manageable chucnks
3.4 Write clearly and simply
3.5 Use graphics to illustrate concepts
3.6 Summarize complex information
3.7 Define key terms, abbreviations, acronyms, and specialized language

Please complete the following questionnaire:
Question 1: Does this proposal oversimplify the guidelines, creating 
something that is too general to understand?
yes __
no __

Question 2: should we proceed with a trimmed down structure similar to the 
one proposed in this e-mail in the next draft?
yes __
no __


Thank you,
wendy a chisholm
world wide web consortium
web accessibility initiative
madison, wi usa
tel: +1 608 663 6346
Received on Wednesday, 3 January 2001 15:40:38 UTC

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