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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 11:36:08 -0700
To: "WAI Guidelines WG" <w3c-wai-gl@w3.org>
Hi, Marc. Thanks for the post.

It is interesting that you view a split in the guidelines as adding
complexity. I view it as simplifying.

To my way of looking at it, most of the device-independence stuff (access)
and most of the navigation stuff revolve around code. But I think that the
heart of comprehensibility lies in the content itself. This is what makes
Checkpoint 3.3 so important (and so difficult to pin down).

Pulling the comprehensibility part of the guidelines out into its own
guideline would actually simplify the access and navigation portions,
allowing them to be implemented quickly. And it would allow us to really
delve into content issues in the comprehensibility guidelines (and to
consider just what it is that we are asking web site developers to

So a big part of my reason for suggesting this split is to separate content
from structure (code).

I have read Charles' points about possible overlap between split guidelines
and the confusion it might produce and he has half convinced me. But only
half. If the split is more between code and content, maybe we could
eliminate overlap.

Of course, we could also do a bit of reorganizing of the current document
instead. Part of my enthusiasm for splitting the documents was to give us
more time on the comprehensibility part while still getting something out in
a timely manner. If we are going to keep everything together, then I would
submit that we haven't really reached consensus on Guideline 3 (or even 1
and 4, according to Anne), and that we're sort of giving up on consensus and
sending it out for public comment in the hope that someone will rescue us.
At least, that's the impression I get.

Chas. Munat

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Marc David Johnson [mailto:mjohnson@marcdavidjohnson.com]
> Sent: Monday, August 20, 2001 6:08 AM
> To: Charles F. Munat; WAI Guidelines WG
> Subject: Re: A PROPOSAL TO SPLIT THE WCAG IN THREE. Please read this.
> I'm serious.
> 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 14:33:50 UTC

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