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

From: Charles F. Munat <chas@munat.com>
Date: Mon, 20 Aug 2001 05:30:54 -0700
To: "WAI Guidelines WG" <w3c-wai-gl@w3.org>
Wow, Charles, you make up your mind quickly. Willing to mull it over for a
day or two?

I agree with your points, but not your conclusion. I think that the concerns
you raise (which I raised a bit less succinctly in my post) need to be
addressed. But I'm not ready to toss out the idea of splitting the
guidelines that quickly. Are there other ways to address these issues?

Also, your comments give me pause. Are we designing guidelines or
regulations here? This is another area that I think has resulted in no end
of controversy on this list. Everything we do has to be viewed with an eye
to future regulations, it appears.

Frankly, I think this ties our hands rather severely. Instead of writing
true guidelines in which we show people how to make sites as accessible as
possible, we second guess everything by trying to figure out how it will
look in Section 508, the sequel.

Did I miss something, or does Section 508 only apply to AMERICAN web sites
and then only to government sites? What about all the sites in other
countries? What about all the sites that aren't government sites?

It seems to me that we should be thinking about our audience: people who
build web sites. They come first.

Let's fight the legal battles where they need to be fought: in government,
in the press, in the courts if need be, in people's minds. For the
guidelines, let's ask "What is the BEST way to organize this data to ensure
that everything gets the level of detail it deserves?"

This also gets into what I've been saying about removing advocacy from the
guidelines. If we are saying that we can't split the guidelines because the
government might not put all of them into their next set of regulations,
then aren't we saying that the guidelines are an advocacy tool intended to
help us sell accessibility to the government?

The more I think about this, the more questions it raises. I need to get
some sleep, but I hope we can discuss this more tomorrow. I'll have some
more questions for you then.

Chas. Munat

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Charles McCathieNevile [mailto:charles@w3.org]
> Sent: Monday, August 20, 2001 4:47 AM
> To: Charles F. Munat
> Cc: WAI Guidelines WG
> Subject: Re: A PROPOSAL TO SPLIT THE WCAG IN THREE. Please read this.
> I'm serious.
> 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 08:28:57 UTC

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