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

From: Marc David Johnson <mjohnson@marcdavidjohnson.com>
Date: Mon, 20 Aug 2001 09:07:34 -0400
Message-ID: <005c01c12979$1464b350$08c818ac@ncua.lan>
To: "Charles F. Munat" <chas@munat.com>, "WAI Guidelines WG" <w3c-wai-gl@w3.org>
Hello everyone,

I wanted to take this (your) time and introduce myself a bit.

My name is Marc David Johnson and I am a little confused. :-)

I have been following this working group for a couple weeks, no posting or
participating, just lurking. I am not quite sure where I fit into these
discussions (as I had applied to be a member of the WAI working group but
never heard anything and wasn't sure if my inclusion on this list meant I
should voice my opinions, etc. or whether I was simply allowed to watch from
the sidelines).

So, I am taking a little initiative and stating my opinions so far.

Breaking up the guidelines into separate sections, while not a bad idea for
readability, would confuse readers more I believe. 1.0 is organized fairly
well IMHO, but many people at my location can not find the samples, follow
the links well, etc. and I had to design a condensed (20 pages isn't
'short', but it is shorter than the full 1.0) version for them to
understand. It has been very well received here and on my website
(http://www.marcdavidjohnson.com/accessibility.asp) - even though my own
personal web site isn't 100% accessible (slowing bringing things around).

Perhaps 'chapterizing' the guidelines would enable the both of best worlds.
Each chapter could contain a general theme (Accessibility, Navigability,
Technology, Comprehensibility, etc.) but would fit into the overall theme of
the 'book' (the guidelines) and sections could be cross-referenced (sorry,
my database mind wants to relate everything <grin>). I could easily see a
part on using ALT text for images in how it provides relevant information
(Accessibility), enables those with images turned off to use the site
(Navigability), Works with UAs (Technology) and makes a possibly
incomprehensible image understandable (Comprehensibility - by providing a
relevant textual description - albeit not as detailed as a [D], but some
text description is better than none).

I see accessibility as something that must be thought of 'as a whole' when
designing a site. Sure, it is fairly easy to patch up a site and get a
'Bobby Approved' label, but that doesn't take into account the small things
that could be done to help the majority of visitors with some form of
impairment from using the site. A little planning ahead can make a site both
visually appealing (to those that have the capacity to view it) and
accessible.

One of the things that has helped the CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) movement
on the web is the use of templates. Here developers new to CSS have a good
starting point on which to build their sites. This is one area I found
lacking when I went looking for accessible information a couple years ago.
Real world examples are great but I think a sample site (or better yet a few
different accessible templates) would be a welcome addition. Dreamweaver and
FrontPage became popular because they brought web publishing to the masses
in something easy to use and understand (well, sort of). They don't create
very good code, but the idea itself (of making it easy to create) is good.
If I, as a webmaster, had to make a site accessible and had just whipped
something up using one of those products, I would most likely be SOL -- BUT,
if I could download a few templates (that have some stock images, navigation
structures, content, lists, etc.) and simply populate them with my
ramblings, items for sale, whatever, it would make my pages accessible, I'd
be learning a little bit about accessibility, and people could now access my
site regardless of their abilities.

Okay, I have probably rambled quite enough for an initial post. Perhaps
someone would clear up whether I am actually a member of the group however
and if so, should I join in the weekly meetings, etc. and annoy everyone
with my ramblings <grin>.

Thanks for reading and have a great day. :-)

Marc David Johnson
mjohnson@marcdavidjohnson.com
http://www.MarcDavidJohnson.com
A little bit of everything ... and a whole lot of nothing.
Received on Monday, 20 August 2001 09:08:59 GMT

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