W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > w3c-wai-gl@w3.org > July to September 2001

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

From: Anne Pemberton <apembert@erols.com>
Date: Mon, 20 Aug 2001 07:45:45 -0400
Message-Id: <>
To: "Charles F. Munat" <chas@munat.com>, "WAI Guidelines WG" <w3c-wai-gl@w3.org>

         As it is, we have four guidelines 1) accessibility, 2) 
navigability, 3)comprehensibility, and 4) technology

         You suggest moving the technology checkpoints under which?

         Why not simplify further ---- two guidelines: 1) insure that all 
content is accessible and comprehensible
and 2) insure that users can navigate the page/site.  There will be too 
many cross links between accessible and comprehensible, and they both have 
a common goals -- for the user to be able to use the content.


At 04:30 AM 8/20/01 -0700, 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
>I continue:
>I don't expect to convince many, but I'm going to state this for the record.
>The best we're going to do on the WCAG if we try to include navigability and
>comprehension in with accessibility (strict sense meaning ability to "get
>to" the data) is half-assed. More likely quarter-assed. It's just too much
>for one document.
>IF (big IF) we split the documents:
>1. We could have the WCAG 2.0 ready to go in a week (and with almost NO
>quarrelling over the details -- this stuff is mostly old hat).
>2. The Web Content Navigability Guidelines could be done fairly quickly, I'd
>imagine. A few months?
>3. The Web Content Comprehensibility Guidelines would take a while. At least
>a year, I'd think. BUT (big BUT): We could issue a temporary set containing
>the comprehensibility checkpoints currently in WCAG 2.0 (including the
>dreaded 3.3 and 3.4). They would be without official status (whatever that's
>worth) but would be enough to get people thinking about it. We could also
>promote them and try to get people thinking more about comprehensibility.
>1. We get access out of the way. This would refocus our goal. No longer
>would there be the tug of war between access advocates and comprehensibility
>2. A new, small, fast-working group could be formed to handle the
>navigability guidelines. Without the burden of having to figure out
>comprehensibility (a much more difficult proposition) or simple access,
>these guidelines could be produced quickly.
>FOR ATTENTION. This group could morph into the Comprehensibility WG, minus
>those people who are more interested in access or navigation. The group
>would be focused on ONE goal. Better still, we could PROMOTE this idea more
>effectively because comprehensibility is more *comprehensible* when were not
>trying to call it accessibility. Finally, we could go out and actively seek
>experts on comprehension (and cognitive disabilities) to join the experts
>already in this group, bringing in fresh blood and new ideas and
>rejuvenating the group. Who knows, maybe without the drag of constant access
>vs. comprehensibility wars, the WCCG could be completed in record time.
>The only detriments I see are these:
>1. It takes longer to get the comprehensibility guidelines out. As I see it,
>this delay would be more than compensated for by the MUCH clearer nature of
>the WCCG guidelines. And, when users looked to the WCCG, there would be no
>doubt about what they were trying to accomplish (e.g., a person who just
>wants to ensure access to users with visual disabilities will not look
>there). Another mitigating factor would be the temporary stop-gap measure of
>an "unofficial" release of "methods to aid comprehensibility while waiting
>for the release of the WCCG 2.0."
>2. Without the "accessibility" angle, comprehensibility might lose some
>leverage. Solution: Define accessibility twice (as we already have, I
>think). GENERAL accessibility includes SPECIFIC accessibility, navigability,
>"There are three parts to ensuring an accessible Web site. First, users must
>be able to access the site. Second, they must be able to navigate the site,
>to find the data they're looking for. Finally, they must be able to
>comprehend -- to understand -- the data once they've found it. The W3C
>provides three sets of guidelines related to Web site accessibility: the Web
>Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG), the Web Content Navigability
>Guidelines (WCNG), and the Web Content Comprehensibility Guidelines (WCCG).
>All three sets of guidelines are necessary to ensure accessibility on the
>This gets us out of the "usability" trap. It clarifies (and actually
>simplifies) the guidelines. It refocuses the guidelines by allowing each set
>to concentrate on one area.
>There could be overlap. A checkpoint that affected access and navigability,
>for example, could appear in both. The non-normative data could explain how
>it affected access in the WCAG version and how it affected navigability in
>the WCNG version.
>Another option is to reorganize the current guidelines into access,
>navigability, and comprehensibility sections, but this is much less
>desirable. I envision a significant expansion of the comprehensibility (and,
>to a lesser extent, the navigability) portion. This is going to take some
>time. If we keep them in one document, we will delay the access portion by
>quite some time. Why? Let's get it out of the way. Then let's create a set
>of comprehensibility guidelines that will blow the lid off this subject and
>will focus everyone's attention on the need to make sites comprehensible to
>everyone. (Note to Anne: this puts the needs of people with cognitive
>disabilities front and center.)
>I ask everyone in this group to think seriously about this idea. WE CAN DO
>THIS. IT IS NOT TOO LATE. WCAG 2.0, stripped of nav and comp can sail
>through to recommendation status and we can give the remaining two aspects
>of accessibility the attention they truly deserve.
>Since the current draft is scheduled to go public in the next 48 hours, if
>you think that this is worth at least a telecon, please SPEAK NOW.
>Chas. Munat

Anne Pemberton

Received on Monday, 20 August 2001 07:53:09 UTC

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.3.1 : Tuesday, 16 January 2018 15:33:38 UTC