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Re: Call for review of WCAG 2.0 draft

From: William Loughborough <love26@gorge.net>
Date: Thu, 15 Feb 2001 18:25:53 -0800
Message-Id: <5.0.2.1.2.20010215174017.02b101a0@mail.gorge.net>
To: Anne Pemberton <apembert@erols.com>, <w3c-wai-gl@w3.org>
At 07:27 PM 2/15/01 -0500, Anne Pemberton wrote:
>Is your point is that we first have to devise the guidelines so "we" can 
>understand them, then we set about the task of making them understood by 
>the web-making public

Nope.

"We" *are* the "web-making" public. The "tree" I think Steven refers to 
springs from roots of abstract notions whose trunk/limbs/leaves can be 
understood at different levels by differently-indoctrinated climbers. Like 
a musical score can be as abstract as is permitted by the knowledge of the 
musicians.

The lengths to which one's explanatory efforts must go to get across the 
idea of such arcane notions as repurposing/transformation/equivalency 
depend on whether the reader is already aware of what is meant by "backward 
compatible" and "device independence" or how much experience she's had with 
synchronization of elements in a multimedia presentation.

When your sisters visit our site as people who have certain background 
information about Web design, the most important key to communicating with 
them is IMO that the site itself is "comfortable" and to this end I find 
something like http://rdf.pair/xguide.htm to be a more useful approach than 
http://www.w3.org/WAI/GL/WCAG20/ but others may do even better in that regard.

The document itself can be as impenetrable on its own as any "standard" 
written for specialists but just as the Declaration of Independence 
resonates better than the Constitution, they are both needed.

I hope there will be a guide that explains accessible Web design for 
first-grade students as well as one (probably a different one?) for 
computer science graduate students. Both will adhere to the same 
guidelines/checkpoints we're working on. The latter group are as put off by 
too-elementary a document as the former are by polysyllabic obfuscations 
engendered by...

The railroad drawing of an "annotated bogie" you pointed me to is an 
example of something that would be of little use to someone who already 
knows the field and is designing an integral part of a railroad truck, I 
think. However, it is very good for introducing a little down-to-earth 
orientation in the subject for people like hubby?

At any rate I've already forgotten exactly what I was trying to say in the 
subject email except that "to some extent" was what I thought of as an 
escape hatch. *I* am working on both of the above-referenced things and 
will probably try to make one that is at yet another level, perhaps even 
more fundamental?

One problem is that there is a level at which one must assume some 
"technical" know-how. The Authoring Tools Working Group is trying to get 
the tools positioned to automatically help produce accessible sites, e.g. 
when one uses a page layout or word processing program and "saves to Web", 
the user need not even know what <img alt="text"> means but will be asked 
for some words to explain what the image is to convey for those who won't 
see it or presents an array of icons/illustrations where appropriate.

The nature of WCAG is that it is written for people who design the tools, 
not *just* use them. The latter shouldn't even know that the engine has 
connecting rods, pistons, and a crankshaft - the former must have access to 
the particulars of designing those elements.

This is pragmatism, not elitism.

--
Love.
                 ACCESSIBILITY IS RIGHT - NOT PRIVILEGE
Received on Thursday, 15 February 2001 21:28:41 GMT

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