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Re: A PROPOSAL TO SPLIT THE WCAG IN THREE. Please read this. I'm serious.

From: Charles McCathieNevile <charles@w3.org>
Date: Mon, 20 Aug 2001 07:46:44 -0400 (EDT)
To: "Charles F. Munat" <chas@munat.com>
cc: WAI Guidelines WG <w3c-wai-gl@w3.org>
Message-ID: <Pine.LNX.4.30.0108200733550.27912-100000@tux.w3.org>
This is an interesting proposal. In effect, it mirrors a lot of how I think
and talks about the general requirements of accessibility (and in clearer and
simpler terms than I usually manage <grin/>). I also think Charles is right
in recognising that our problems with the current checkpoints on
comprehensibility is that they are way behind the checkpoints on ensuring
"device independence" (which is how I would describe what he calls "access")
in terms of having good understanding of method, etc.

I think if we look at these three areas somewhat seperately we may be able to
focus work as suggested by Charles, and get results in each area faster. But
I think it is critical that each kind of work is informed by the others.
There is little point having a "device independence" group produce a
checkpoint aying "if you provide a text-only version that is enough" and then
having a comprehensibility group saying "text alone is insufficient".

And here we come to one of the reasons why I am not in favour of the
proposal. It would make it too easy for outside bodies to interpret just one
set of requirements, and assume they are accessibility requirements. This
would be more likely if we called one of them access requirements. The US
Government already managed to suggest that requiring a text-only version of
content (as they do in their "section 508 rules") is equivalent to requiring
an accessible version of content (as WCAG 1 does in checkpoint 11.4), and
that their requirement is the same as ours.

I would be happy with Techniques documents that looked at accessibility from
different functional aspects (we go some way towards that already) but I
think it is important that as far as possible the WCAG is a complete
guidelines covering the various parts of the accessibility puzzle. I realise
that this slows the release of the whole thing, but I think that the
interdependence of the various parts means that is not a bad thing, and
avoids the risk of putting out one document that then has to be revised
later.

I think the idea (and more particularly the underlying ideas) is worth
discussion still, but at this stage I think the benefit of getting out one
part of the document faster is outweighed by the risk that this will lead to
misunderstanding of the importance of the other parts.

cheers

Charles McCN

On Mon, 20 Aug 2001, Charles F. Munat wrote:

  >From a previous post:

  "If it were up to me, I would break out [navigability] and
  [comprehensibility] and make three guidelines: WCAG, WCNG, 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."

[rationales]
Received on Monday, 20 August 2001 07:46:46 GMT

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