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

From: Kynn Bartlett <kynn-edapta@idyllmtn.com>
Date: Mon, 20 Aug 2001 08:38:48 -0700
Message-Id: <a05100307b7a6dcbf200d@[]>
To: "Charles F. Munat" <chas@munat.com>, "WAI Guidelines WG" <w3c-wai-gl@w3.org>
At 5:30 AM -0700 2001/8/20, Charles F. Munat wrote:
>Also, I'd like to see a lot more focus on comprehension. And I
>have some questions, such as, How do we measure success?

Part of the danger here is that we are going to always be behind on the
comprehension checkpoints for a variety of reasons:

(1) We've been working on access for blind people for years now; in fact,
     our checkpoints relating to access by people who can't see are pretty
     much unchanged since prior to the WAI's creation, modulo some refinement
     and changes in technological specs (such as HTML 4.01).  On the
     other hand, the comprehension issue has only recently been addressed;
     there is not the huge amount of content and research available within
     the body of knowledge considered "web accessibility".

(2) As the audiences who could benefit the most from accessibility
     techniques to make text most accessible would -- by definition --
     have difficulty in participating in a mailing list of this sort,
     we have no "self-advocacy" the way that someone such as Gregory
     Rosmaita can directly articulate his own needs as a person who
     is unable to see.  This makes us dependent on "advocates" in way
     that we not been before.

(3) It is harder for most people -- especially those of us in this group
     who tend to be overwhelmingly brilliant (as well as passionate) --
     to visualize cognitive disabilities.  Close your eyes, cover your
     ears, don't move your hands, and you can approximate -- and thus
     personalize -- the challenges faced by specific disability
     groups.  (This technique, while limited, is still highly useful
     as I've found in my online class.)  You can't do that with
     cognitive disabilities; it's hard to imagine "not reading well" or
     "not understanding".  Thus we can't rely on our own intuition.

So what's my point?

It may be unreasonable for us to expect that in WCAG 2.0, we address
issues of access for all disability groups equally well.  It may not be
a good expectation that we'll have as comprehensive a set of techniques
to make content more understandable as we to do make content available
to people who cannot see.  We may have to say "this is the first
version which strongly addresses these needs, and future releases may
do better."


Kynn Bartlett <kynn@reef.com>
Technical Developer Liaison
Reef North America
Accessibility - W3C - Integrator Network
Tel +1 949-567-7006
Received on Monday, 20 August 2001 11:58:33 UTC

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