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Comments on 12 January 2001 WCAG 2.0

From: Ian Jacobs <ij@w3.org>
Date: Tue, 16 Jan 2001 10:44:30 -0500
Message-ID: <3A646C5E.9AD6EA37@w3.org>
To: w3c-wai-gl@w3.org

I just skimmed the 12 January 2001 draft of WCAG 2.0 [1].
The document seems to be advancing very well. I do have 
a couple of comments:

1) Guideline 1 reads "Design content that can be presented 
   according to the needs and preferences of the user
   and to the capabilities of the user agent and the device(s)."

   How about:

   "Design content that allows presentation according to
    the user's needs and preferences, and the capabilities
    of the user's environment."

2) Checkpoint 1.5: "Separate content and structure from
   presentation". I've mentioned this previously: UAAG 1.0
   uses the term "content" to mean "everything in the
   document object". I understand that WCAG 2.0 may use
   the term content with another meaning. Still, I would
   encourage harmonization in the use of terms. How about
   something like:
     "Organize your ideas first, then design
      their presentation (on screen, on paper,
      as audio, as speech, etc.)."

3) Checkpoint 1.7: "Ensure that content transforms gracefully." 

   I think this checkpoint is so broad as to be 
   very problematic. For instance, must I ensure 
   that my HTML content transforms into plain text 
   gracefully if the user's user agent strips 
   out all markup?  How does the author decide
   what is allowed to break down (markup language, 
   style sheets, scripts, HTTP, character encoding, 
   etc.)? Also, the term "gracefully" is lovely,
   but maybe something more concrete could be used.

   How does this checkpoint interact with checkpoint
   4.2 (use markup, etc. according to specification).
   If I write perfect HTML and CSS, I'm not in the
   clear because checkpoint 1.7 says that I also
   have to ensure that this content transforms
   What do you do in the case of presenting an XML
   document without style sheets? How does that
   transform gracefully without style sheets?

   I don't have a counter-proposal for this checkpoint.
   I agree with the goal, but I think that it's
   important to be more specific in stating
   what's required of the author.

Guideline 2: "Design content that can be interacted
with according to the preferences and needs of the user."

   I think that Guideline 2 and Guideline 1 statements
   should be harmonized. Based on my G1 proposal:

   "Design content that allows interaction according to
    the user's needs and preferences.

4) Checkpoint 2.2: "Minimize content that will 
   interfere with the user's ability to focus."

   Since in UAAG 1.0 we use the term "focus" to
   refer to the thing that designates the current
   focus, this might lead to confusion. Also, I
   think that "minimize" and "avoid" share the
   same problems that the WG has discussed.

   Going way out on a limb here:

   "If your content might disorient the user 
    (e.g., due to blinking or animations),
    ensure that the user can control the
    disorienting content, or provide an
    alternative that will allow the user
    to concentrate on the important content."

5) Checkpoint 2.3: "Give users control of mechanisms 
   that cause extreme changes in content."

   Are the differences between 2.2 and 2.3 clear 
   enough to merit their separation? Or are both
   about "Don't do what may disorient the user."?
   I'll bet the WG chose to separate these on
   purpose, and I do see some differences between them,
   but I'm not clear why they need to be distinct.

6) Checkpoint 4.3: "Design assistive-technology compatible

   "Designing interfaces" sounds like this is for user
   agent developers. Should this be "use interfaces" like
   checkpoint 4.2 says "use languages, APIs, and protocols"?
Thank you,

 - Ian

[1] http://www.w3.org/WAI/GL/WCAG20/WD-WCAG20-20010112.html
Ian Jacobs (jacobs@w3.org)   http://www.w3.org/People/Jacobs
Tel:                         +1 831 457-2842
Cell:                        +1 917 450-8783
Received on Tuesday, 16 January 2001 10:44:35 UTC

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