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Re: Action Item: 3.3 Proposal (Writing Style)

From: Matt May <mcmay@bestkungfu.com>
Date: Mon, 12 Mar 2001 17:01:53 -0800 (PST)
To: Anne Pemberton <apembert@erols.com>
Cc: Kynn Bartlett <kynn-edapta@idyllmtn.com>, w3c-wai-gl@w3.org
Message-ID: <Pine.NEB.4.21.0103121617110.10454-100000@byz.org>
On Mon, 12 Mar 2001, Anne Pemberton wrote:

> 	Don't throw out the checkpoint. It is very, very necessary, even if it
> takes a lot of words to make room for the valid exceptions you make.

I don't think it's possible to formulate a normative checkpoint out of
"write clearly and simply." If you thought creating a user-agent baseline
was fun, creating a language baseline which this could satisfy would be a
blast. Not only would we need to define what constitutes accessible
authoring in multiple languages and media, we'd have to prescribe
appropriate levels for every scenario in order to measure compliance.

In relating your story about the government webmaster, I think you pointed
out one major problem with leaving the checkpoint in: the webmaster
believed the site was compliant because it met the terms that were
verifiable, while you felt it wasn't because it failed to meet terms
that were vague. Since the decision to claim compliance rests with a
site's designers, I think it's imperative that the bar they're reaching
for is well-defined, or they won't try at all. (I see similar issues
with 3.4 ["Use Multimedia to illustrate concepts"] and 3.7 ["Divide
information into smaller, more manageable units"].)

Another trouble spot in applying rules to grammar within content is
that content aggregators (which is to say, every portal and news site, not
to mention every site with a guest book or bulletin board) have no shot at
complying, because they don't control the content they present.

I do think, though, that there needs to be somewhere to put strongly
worded suggestions that are as important to accessibility as anything that
can be measured. I can only suggest a "design principles" document, and a
checkpoint that says, "read _this document_."

Received on Monday, 12 March 2001 20:03:55 UTC

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