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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 15:59:48 -0400
Message-Id: <>
To: "Charles F. Munat" <chas@munat.com>, "WAI Guidelines WG" <w3c-wai-gl@w3.org>

         The idea of re-organizing the guidelines is a good one if it helps 
you to better understand the relationships among them. If it works for you 
it may benefit others ...  I look forward to reading rewrites and 
re-organizations ... One such last week (I think by Jo Miller, apologies 
for my aging memory) helped me see the connections between 1.5 and 4.4 and 
possible conflict with 3.4 (if 3.4 ends up clearly stating to include 
illustrations) ...

         Something may come out of the idea of separating content and code. 
When someone is building a web site they are going to collect the content, 
decide how to structure and present it, then worry about coding it.  There 
may be completely different people doing the coding from those doing the 
content, but they may be the same person in the case of a small 
owner-authored site. Perhaps considering content as a whole instead of 
fragmenting it will help us re-balance the needs for all modalities.


At 11:36 AM 8/20/01 -0700, Charles F. Munat wrote:
>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.
> >
> >
> >

Anne Pemberton

Received on Monday, 20 August 2001 16:55:35 UTC

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