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Re: Conformance Ideas Collection #2

From: Wendy A Chisholm <wendy@w3.org>
Date: Thu, 18 Oct 2001 15:20:00 -0400
Message-Id: <>
To: <w3c-wai-gl@w3.org>
These ideas are from the developers point of view and perhaps also policy 
maker.  The other audience of conformance will be the user.  For example, 
when someone wants to search for content that meets their needs - such as 
illustrating text with graphics and multimedia or providing text for all media.

These needs are implied in the following conformance ideas, but I think we 
need to state them explicitly.  Perhaps we need to list the possible 
benefits for each conformance idea?

I have made an initial attempt below.

I also have a few comments on some of the ideas that I've stated inline.

>1.1.  We have layers of conformance (A, Double A, Triple A).

Developer benefit: help prioritize where to start working.
User benefit: help find sites that do minimal amount of work versus those 
that try to go further.

>1.2.  You cannot claim level of conformance below A.  It is the

User benefit: encourage minimum level of accessibility

>1.4.  Individuals doing more than A would claim A+.  Clicking on the +
>would take them to a list of the items covered by the +.

Developer benefit: able to get credit for moving beyond minimal conformance.
User benefit: encourages developers to do more than minimum, widening the 
accessibility techniques employed on a site (rather than discouraging 
developers to only to minimum)

>1.6.  All items are currently self-report, but normative items are

Unrelated to benefits - I thought we were going to modify this statement 
since it is saying two things.  The second part, "normative items are 
testable" is a consensus item.

>1.7.  Conformance to informative items would simply be by assertion.
>People conform if they assert that they conform.  Items should be worded
>such that this makes the most sense.  This sounds problematic.  [Is
>there an alternative?]

Unrelated to benefits - It sounds odd to say "conformance to informative 
items."   In the midst of the "what does normative mean" debate, here is a 
defn that takes into account both Anne's perspective and the usage by the 
W3C and other standards bodies:

I don't see how we can have "conformance to informative items."  As Gregg 
notes, "This sound problematic." I agree and think this item should be 
removed from consideration.

We do need to think about the role informative information will play, but I 
don't think it can be part of conformance.

>2.1. The working group should define one or more "standard formats" to
>    be followed in making conformance assertions.

Developer benefit: can use the one that makes most sense to them.
User benefit: by having standard formats, tools can be used to search 
conformance claims.

>2.2. More than one format may be necessary due to the diverse
>    technologies which may be used to construct web content. For
>    example, text accompanied by a raster image icon may be the norm in
>    HTML, but inappropriate in SVG, PDF or other formats.
>2.3. The working group should permit EARL (the Evaluation and Report
>    Language) to be used to make conformance claims, in addition to or
>    in place of a human-readable conformance assertion.

Developer benefit: can make very granular claims.  Can store progress in 
machine-readable form.  Progress tracked.  Reports can be automatically 
generated.  See http://www.w3.org/WAI/ER/Overview.html#earl for scenarios 
and other benefits.
User benefit: tools can be used to search conformance claims.  Part of this 
could be to advocate how many sites are conforming to which checkpoints, 
point developers to sites that do good things (make it easier to find those 
good examples), help policy makers make decisions.

>3.1    A conformance scheme should be a meta-conformance scheme that
>allows policy makers to describe their policy in WCAG 2.0 (and gives
>guidance to minimum policy requirements), instead of serving as a policy
>itself.  WCAG 2.0 conformance should not look like policy, but should
>look like a toolkit for building policy.  This philosophy is in line
>with the goals and aims of WCAG working group charter, as we are not
>"writing laws" but we are writing primary material to be used by policy
>setters (as well as providing technical documentation for developers).

Here's a benefit for policy makers!

>Another possibility for conformance which is an amalgamation of a few of
>the approaches already put forward is.

These benefits are similar to #1.  Incidentally, I like this scheme best.

>4.1 Create a 'Minimum Standard' of accessibility. In order for a site to
>be considered accessible a site must meet this minimum standard. A
>predetermined number of Guidelines.
>4.2 It is possible to exceed the 'Minimum Standard' by adhering to the
>guidelines which exist beyond the 'Minimum Standard'.
>4.3 The 'Minimum Standard' should be high (higher than current Single
>This approach is similar to that used in New Zealand for building
>It has the advantage of being conceptually very simple and also of
>raising the 'Minimum Bar'.
>Any Level of Conformance must be able to respond to the swift level of
>technological change by either being easy to review or as independent as
>possible from the underlying technology.

wendy a chisholm
world wide web consortium
web accessibility initiative
seattle, wa usa
Received on Thursday, 18 October 2001 15:15:07 UTC

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