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RE: conformance

From: Cynthia Shelly <cyns@microsoft.com>
Date: Thu, 11 Oct 2001 12:09:04 -0700
Message-ID: <7164D4266FD7B94CA59D551C7FE6618D0278C0FD@red-msg-08.redmond.corp.microsoft.com>
To: <w3c-wai-gl@w3.org>
On the issue of levels of conformance:

Speaking as someone who implemented WCAG 1.0 on a major site, I would
have to say that my issues with the conformance scheme weren't that it
had three levels, but that it had ONLY 3 levels.  There was no way to
say "I did this one, and that one, and I kind of did this, but I
couldn't do that and here's why".

As Kynn (and others) have pointed out many times, if an author can't do
one pri 2 item (and there are quite a few that are very hard), there is
absolutely no incentive for him to any other pri 2 items.  He won't get
credit for them.

On the issue of the usefulness of metadata:

If we were to publish a metadata scheme for conformance claims today, it
would be immediately useful. 

1) A search engine could start using it tomorrow. The search engine
could do this entirely in server-side code, and users would not need to
download or install anything. Search engines use metadata for a variety
of tasks already. This is not vaporware.

2) An entry-level programmer could write, in about a week, an
accessibility aid that filtered on conformance to checkpoints.  Users
would have to install that, but they have to install screen readers too.


3) Browser manufacturers could incorporate filtering technology into
their next releases.  They can't do that if there isn't a spec for it.

While it's true that the PICS scheme for accessibility was not widely
adopted, I think that was primarily an issue of it not being evangelized
(Charles, correct me if I'm wrong here).  I implemented 1.0, and read
many, many documents, but I was not aware of its existence until
Charles' recent post.

On the issue of understandability by users:
Perhaps it would be useful to give an example of another metadata scheme
that is in widely adopted - content ratings.

There is a PICS scheme defined for rating the naughtiness of a web site.
This scheme is used by a variety of filtering programs, including one
built into Internet Explorer.  If you go into the tools menu in IE, pick
Internet Options, and click the Content tab, you will see something
called "Content Advisor".  This allows you to tell your browser you
don't want it to display anything dirty (using a 1-5 scale for language,
nudity, etc).  How does your browser know something is dirty?  It looks
at metadata.  You, as a user of this software, don't have to understand
the metadata.  In fact, unless you've read the spec for the RSACi PICS
tag, you won't understand it.  As tags go, it's pretty cryptic.  Most
Web authors (even experienced ones) have to look it up.  However, that
in no way prevents it from being useful to the end user. Some sites also
display a logo, and post text describing how squeaky clean they are, but
that is NOT how the browser knows.  

-----Original Message-----
From: Anne Pemberton [mailto:apembert45@yahoo.com] 
Sent: Thursday, October 11, 2001 6:51 AM
To: w3c-wai-gl@w3.org
Subject: Re: conformance


Charles,

     Unless my perception isn't accurate, the version
1.0 plan of three levels didn't work since few if any
people bothered with level three. So why have three
levels. It seems that two are enough. It's not that P3
was ignored because it was the cognitive needs, but
because the indication was that few people were
supposed to be left out at the P3 level. Whoever's
needs are in P3, unless they are purely fluff (gee it
would be nice's), are going to be ignored.

    Yes, I have said it would be nice if folks could
find the pages that meet their needs, but from what
I've seen of the reporting schemes, this information
will not be accessible to the ordinary user. Therefore
the reporting schemes would not satisfy the need for
users to be able to find content that suits their
needs. Again, I see no audience for the reporting
scheme and it seems a waste of time. Maybe it could go
in the "it would be nice if you did it" category, or
in the "when user agents can use it" category.
Remember that the reporting scheme needs to be fully accessible, usable,
and understandable, if it is ever to be used by users.




--- Charles McCathieNevile <charles@w3.org> wrote:
 > The problem of most accommodations for cognitive
 > disabilities being only P3
 > will not be solved by removing the priority level,
 > it can only be solved by
 > changing the priority of individual requirements.
 > This is not to say that we
 > should not consider a two-level scheme, just that
 > the argument you give here
 > doesn't justify it.
 >
 > You then identify one need for a reporting scheme -
 > the desire to start with
 > a base level, and support for known audience (e.g.
 > there is one blind student
 > in my class so it is more important to add the
 > things that student definitely
 > needs than things that someone might need one day).
 >
 > Of course, in a perfect world, all material will be
 > "completely" accessible,
 > but we don't live there yet - and won't until the
 > tools people use to make
 > Web content do most of it for them.
 >
 > Which leads to another audience for a reporting
 > scheme. People in the process
 > of producing content, especially where there is more
 > than one person involved
 > in the production, as is the case for many large
 > sites, need to know what
 > they have done and what still needs doing. A
 > reasonably standard method would
 > enable people producing content to more easily use
 > different tools, each for
 > what they do best.
 >
 > I don't think this group needs to develop a
 > reporting mechanism (in part
 > because other groups in W3C are working hard on it,
 > including the people who
 > produce tools like Bobby, aprompt and the various
 > plugins for assessing
 > accessibility in authoring tools, who all believe
 > they have an audience). But
 > it is important that the guidelines document at
 > least enables such a scheme.
 > Fortunately this is not hard, and it would be hard
 > to produce a document that
 > met our own requirements and did not do this.
 >
 > (Technically, what it requires is that each
 > checkpoint have a URI, and with
 > Xpath or Xpointer that means that each checkpoint is
 > a seperate element,
 > although ideally it would have an ID attribute. We
 > need that to make the
 > techniques documents useable anyway, and already
 > have it in all the drafts
 > we have produced to date. So in many ways it is a
 > moot point.)
 >
 > Finally, given a decent reporting scheme we will
 > enable people to find
 > content that works for them, whether or not it is
 > "completely accessible" - a
 > need that you have often identified.
 >
 > Charles McCN
 >
 > On Thu, 11 Oct 2001, Anne Pemberton wrote:
 >
 >   In the triple-layer scheme, the accommodations for
 > cognitive disabilities
 >   were only required at the top level which conveyed
 > a sense that they were
 >   basically unnecessary, barring a lot of people
 > from using sites. Reducing
 >   the conformance to two levels eliminates the level
 > no one ever strives for ...
 >
 >   Using the purpose of a site to determine what
 > conformance level to use
 >   makes the most sense to me. If a site has a
 > limited audience, go for
 >   minimum and add only what you need to serve your
 > known audience .... but if
 >   your site is for the general public, then it must
 > comply such that everyone
 >   can use it and none have the empty plate. To do
 > anything less is to consign
 >   some users to only using entertainment sites and
 > never getting at any meat.
 >
 >   I see no need for a reporting system since there
 > is no audience for the
 >   reports. It's a waste of time.
 >
 >
 > Anne
 >
 >
 >


=====
Anne Pemberton
Computer Teacher
Southside Elementary School
Dinwiddie, VA, USA 23894
apembert45@yahoo.com

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Received on Thursday, 11 October 2001 15:10:05 GMT

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