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Re: Rewrite of Introduction: Purpose

From: Jo Miller <jo@bendingline.com>
Date: Fri, 17 Aug 2001 09:07:45 -0400
Message-Id: <p0510032ab7a2b99e399f@[]>
To: "Charles F. Munat" <chas@munat.com>, "WAI Guidelines WG" <w3c-wai-gl@w3.org>

Thanks for undertaking the rewrite (and so quickly!). And by the way, 
thanks again to Wendy for laboring so hard even on her birthday.

A couple of comments:

>This document outlines design principles for creating accessible Web sites.

Agree with the omission of "attractive," which you raised in 
yesterday's telecon. So far I'm with you on omitting "usable" as 
well, because WCAG 2.0, while it touches on a number of sound 
usability principles, is not primarily about usability, nor does it 
claim to cover that topic thoroughly. As we discussed yesterday, a 
designer could follow all the guidelines and still create an ugly 
site. She could follow all the guidelines and still create a site 
that falls short in terms of usability, for this group has not been 
tasked with writing a thorough treatment of user-interface design. 
But someone following the guidelines will not fail to create an 
accessible site--at least, that's our aim. These are just my 
thoughts. I know you have a lot to say on the subject of usability 
and I look forward to reading it.

The point that attractiveness (or appealing design, or whatever you 
want to call it) and accessibility are not mutually exclusive 
certainly deserves to be made. And it's also true that following 
accessibility principles--particularly as they've been presented in 
WCAG 2.0--will almost inevitably produce dramatic improvements in a 
site's overall usability. But I think you're probably right that the 
place to make these points is not in the sentence that states the 
purpose of the Guidelines.

I would add that when we find ourselves needing to use italics for 
emphasis in a sentence, it's usually (though not always) a sign that 
the sentence is weak and needs to be rewritten. I think your rewrite 
is stronger.

>  By making content
>accessible to a variety of devices, the content is now accessible to people
>in a variety of situations.

This sentence, which is from the current draft, is ungrammatical. 
Were we trying to avoid using "you"? Or could we say something like 
"By making content accessible to a variety of devices, you make that 
content accessible to people in a variety of situations as well"?

>  For example, many bar owners enable the captions
>on the television sets in their bars because the background noise in the bar
>makes hearing the television impossible.

Pulling this analogy up into the paragraph preceding was a good move, 
I think, but "For example" is not the right introductory phrase, 
because captioned television is not an example of a web-enabled 
device. The television thing was brought in as an analogy or parallel 
from another area of life where accessibility measures make something 
more usable, convenient, or accessible for non-disabled people. (The 
wheelchair-ramp analogy is often used in this way.) Calling it an 
example in a paragraph devoted to web content is therefore confusing.

Adding an example of web accessibility just before the television 
analogy might help, and in fact I think a web example may be needed 
to clarify what we're talking about in the sentence about "people in 
a variety of situations." (We've enumerated devices but not 
situations.) What do people think about this?
Jo Miller
Received on Friday, 17 August 2001 09:08:19 UTC

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