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Why we will never find a good version of 3.3 (and what's wrong with WCAG 2.0)

From: Charles F. Munat <chas@munat.com>
Date: Mon, 20 Aug 2001 03:13:26 -0700
To: <w3c-wai-gl@w3.org>
Message-ID: <LHEGJAOEDCOFFBGFAPKBEEOACIAA.chas@munat.com>
Kynn Bartlett wrote:
> Well, we really mean,
>
>       Write simply enough to be understood.
>
> Let's be careful about getting too far away from remembering what we're
> trying to say, while trying to figure out how to say it.

I reply:

First, let's look at 3.3.

CHECKPOINT 3.3 DECONSTRUCTED:

Write clearly and simply =>
Write simply enough to be understood =>
Make it understandable =>
Ensure comprehension

THE PROBLEM WITH CHECKPOINT 3.3 IS THAT IT SAYS NOTHING. WE HAVE SIMPLY
RESTATED THE GOAL, WE ARE NOT PROVIDING ANY NEW INFORMATION.

What we need are METHODS for making content clear, simple, and
understandable.

Al Gilman already stated this, and he is right on the money.

But wait! There's more...

As I mentioned before (I think), I view our efforts here as trifold:

1. To ensure access
2. To ensure navigability
3. To ensure comprehension

This group seems to have combined 2 and 3 and called them "usability." (I
view all three as part of usability, which means that usability supplants
accessibility in its general sense and subsumes accessibility in its
specific sense. But since we already refer to these three as "accessibility"
[what I call the "general" sense], I suggest we just drop the word
"usability" with all it's baggage and say that accessibility [general] is
composed of accessibility [specific], navigability, and comprehensibility.)

We had #1 (access) pretty much down in WCAG 1.0. All we've done is a little
polishing and some generalizing in WCAG 2.0. (I say "we" recognizing that I
have contributed very little to this effort so far.)

#2 (nav) and #3 (comp) are really more than we can handle in a document of
this size. Jakob Nielsen has a whole site devoted to these (and I'm not sure
how much he covers comprehensibility). Hell, he's got a whole career devoted
to these. How, then, are we going to cover so much ground in half a dozen
checkpoints?

If it were up to me, I would break out nav and comp and make three
guidelines: WCAG, WCNG, and WCCG, for Accessibility, Navigability, and
Comprehensibility respectively. If we did this, I expect that WCAG would be
slightly smaller, WCNG would be of moderate size, and WCCG would be as large
or larger than the current guidelines. That's how much attention
comprehensibility deserves (hell, needs).

OK, everyone gasp and yell "NO WAY!"

This is important, so I will start a new thread for it. And yes, I'm
serious.

Chas. Munat
Received on Monday, 20 August 2001 06:11:07 GMT

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