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RE: conformance

From: Anne Pemberton <apembert@erols.com>
Date: Sat, 13 Oct 2001 16:51:12 -0400
Message-Id: <>
To: Charles McCathieNevile <charles@w3.org>, Cynthia Shelly <cyns@microsoft.com>
Cc: <w3c-wai-gl@w3.org>

         Unless I missed something in your description, it seems that these 
conformances will make it easier for a caregiver to help a disabled person 
find relevant content, but it would be problematic for the disabled persons 
him/herself to accomplish this objective .... This is a nice interim place 
to be ... but not the long term solution ...


At 03:40 PM 10/13/01 -0400, Charles McCathieNevile wrote:
>I have discussed Cynthia's message a bit below (basically I agree with what
>she says, and added some comments) but I would like to make a proposal that
>has four parts:
>1. There are two ways of recording conformance.
>2. One way is simple with at least one, and at most 5 possible levels of
>claim, with associated icons and human-readable text.
>3. The other way is designed to be machine readable, and to provide as much
>granularity as possible.
>4. Expressing a claim of conformance to the specification is only considered
>valid for the levels provided by the simple version.
>For the average person looking for a target to meet in a policy (especially
>a long-term target), or for a level they want to find content at, it is
>helpful to have a small number of options to choose from. It is also easier
>for a W3C Recommendation to pass its review requirements if it is clear about
>what needs to be done to implement the specification - if nothing at all is
>required, then it need only be a Note, and if there are too many possiblities
>then interoperability will fail.
>It is useful for all kinds of scenarios to have a more granular,
>machine-readable reporting format. In addition, one already exists (EARL) and
>other W3C work is looking at how to improve on its usefulness and its
>incorporation into tools (Evaluation tools, Authoring Tools, and things that
>have nothing to do with accessibility).
>In practise, a granular reporting format will enable the re-use of reporting
>done for conformance to other sets of requirements such as Section 508
>purchasing requirements in the US. For international development this is
>important - the US Federal government has differnt requirements from those in
>most of the rest of the world, and in some organisations there are in fact
>508 requirements and WCAG conformance requirements operating at the same
>time. Doing one set of testing for things that the requirements have in
>common is helpful to developers and purchasers alike.
>On Thu, 11 Oct 2001, Cynthia Shelly wrote:
>   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".
>   If we were to publish a metadata scheme for conformance claims today, it
>   would be immediately useful.
>CMN: http://www.w3.org/2001/03/earl (I could delete the page and republish it
>today.. would that help? We are about due to update the page anyway <grin/>).
>Actually this is a draft proposal - there is some implementation to the 0.95
>version, like there was some for the stuff that was being done a couple of
>years ago <http://www.w3.org/1999/11/conforms/>. But it should give you the
>   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.
>CMN This is also being used by developers of accessibility testing tools.
>   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.
>CMN Correct. At least I agree with you here <grin/>.
>   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.

Anne Pemberton

Received on Saturday, 13 October 2001 16:53:32 UTC

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