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RE: Mail order catalogues was Re: Cognition Simulation

From: Jason White <jasonw@ariel.ucs.unimelb.edu.au>
Date: Tue, 4 Sep 2001 14:12:43 +1000
Message-ID: <15252.21691.887529.122241@gargle.gargle.HOWL>
To: Anne Pemberton <apembert@erols.com>
Cc: "Charles F. Munat" <chas@munat.com>, "WAI GL" <w3c-wai-gl@w3.org>
Anne Pemberton writes:
>  I 
 > spent the weekend getting better acquainted with a programmer who is also a 
 > skilled graphical designer (in bytes, not on paper) .... She had to study 
 > the "guidelines", probably version 1.0 in her course work, and was truly 
 > shocked that the W3C's WAI may be having difficulties accepting the basic 
 > needs for graphics, especially in the disabled population (she was a 
 > teacher before she became a programmer), but in the educational community 
 > and general public as well.

I think it would greatly facilitate the discussion if participants
were to avoid making assertions to the effect that the W3C/WAI is
having trouble accepting the need for graphics. This need is
acknowledged even in version 1.0 of the guidelines, albeit at a priority 3
level.

Further reflection since WCAG 1.0 was published has shown that there
are several factors which, individually or combined, can make content
comprehensible or incomprehensible to certain identifiable groups of
users. These include writing style and language usage (checkpoint 3.3)
and the appropriate use of non-text (auditory and/or graphical)
supplements as means of conveying information and concepts (checkpoint
3.4). Consistency of presentation and of responses to user action,
have also been cited as important factors in determining the cognitive
demands which web sites impose upon their users.

No one within the working group, so far as my reading of these
discussions reveals, disagrees with the foregoing observations. The
issues which remain controversial appear to be the following:

1. How the access implications for people with cognitive disabilities
   summarised above, should be taken into account in the priority and
   conformance scheme.

2. Exactly what should be required in order to satisfy the checkpoints
   under guideline 3, especially checkpoints 3.3 and 3.4. That is,
   what should be the success criteria, if any, and how should the
   checkpoints themselves be formulated in order to characterize, as
   clearly as possible, what is needed? One of the difficulties here
   is that of formulating checkpoints that can be applied across a
   broad diversity of web content.

To address issue 2 effectively we need to bring considerable expertise
to bear upon the problem, and it may be desirable to write a separate
document (i.e., a techniques document) for this purpose; but the
checkpoints themselves, and any success criteria, must still be as
clear and precise as is possible under the circumstances.

Several proposals have been offered in response to the first issue,
including the idea of what I would call a "multidimensional"
conformance scheme, in which comprehension and device/modality
independence, for example, occupy separate categories, and
implementors can make distinct conformance claims with respect to each
of these dimensions.

At this point I would like to suggest focusing the discussion on the
issues outlined above in a cooperative effort to find appropriate and
defensible solutions.
Received on Tuesday, 4 September 2001 00:12:58 GMT

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