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Reapproaching WCAG 2.0

From: Sean B. Palmer <sean@mysterylights.com>
Date: Mon, 22 Jan 2001 01:27:11 -0000
Message-ID: <011201c08412$a7cece80$0e9e2cc3@z5n9x1>
To: <w3c-wai-gl@w3.org>
Cc: "Wendy A Chisholm" <wendy@w3.org>, "Jason White" <jasonw@ariel.ucs.unimelb.edu.au>
I recently recieved a private and heartfelt, well-written email concerning
the WCAG 2.0 guidelines and the general WAI atmosphere, which forced me to
take another long look at the guidelines themselves from a completely
different perspective.

The first thing that I noticed was the difference between the guidelines
and the checkpoints. At the moment there is *very* little explanation or
theory behind the generic guidelines (the 4 basic principles), and one has
to ascertain the meaning of them through the checkpoints. I submit that
more prose be added in an attempt to explain and clarify the meaning and
purpose of each guideline, and then have the checkpoints follow that.

For example, you get: "Guideline 1. Design content that allows presentation
according to the user's needs and preferences" and then a lot of
checkpoints to check that you are achieveing this. But before that, I want
to know *why*. Why should I bother designing content that allows
presentation according to the user's needs and preferences? More
philosophy, please.

The next thing that I noticed was a lack of a summary... a lack of
terseness. WL want some way to fixing that with his approach on describing
the current structure of WCAG 2.0.

However, the main point I noticed was the importance of the final
guideline: "Guideline 4. Design for compatibility and interoperability". I
think that this is an excellent guideline, but the words have been taken
out of context slightly and misinterpreted in the checkpoints. One of the
most important things about accessibility (as Kynn will tell you) is
delivering the appropriate content to the appropriate people; based on
their needs. This is an expression of guidelines 1 and 2... but they stem
from Guideline 4: why do we need to base things on the users needs? For
interoperability; so that it operates on as many platforms, and to as many
people as possible. People with disabilities often have customized set-ups
to help them use the WWW... if something is compatable and interoperable
with these set-ups, then the WWW works, and is accessible!

The conclusion I reached was that really there are only two core WAI
tenets: interoperability, and comprehension.

I'm not sure what action this would neccesitate - I only expect some useful
discussion about this point.

Kindest Regards,
Sean B. Palmer
@prefix : <http://infomesh.net/2001/01/n3terms/#> .
[ :name "Sean B. Palmer" ] has :homepage <http://infomesh.net/sbp/> .
Received on Sunday, 21 January 2001 20:29:07 UTC

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