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Re: awareness

From: Kynn Bartlett <kynn-edapta@idyllmtn.com>
Date: Mon, 10 Dec 2001 08:53:10 -0800
Message-Id: <a05101004b83a96cfef48@[]>
To: jonathan chetwynd <j.chetwynd@btinternet.com>, Jason White <jasonw@ariel.ucs.unimelb.edu.au>, Web Content Accessibility Guidelines <w3c-wai-gl@w3.org>
I originally considered sending this to a broader group, such as IG, as
this thread rapidly became something not about a specific WCAG 2.0 proposal
for "tone" but about the nature of the W3C/WAI.  I am leaving this on
GL for now.

At 8:40 AM +0000 12/10/01, jonathan chetwynd wrote:
>This as true of metaphor as it is of tone.
>Communication is very much more difficult and diverse than the current rather
>tecchie version w3c/wai supports. I find it impossible to contribute to eo
>documents, they support a heirarchic and business approach, which I believe
>is antithetical to the meaning of accessibility. It would appear to exclude
>all but the 'power brokers'. For me this is merely an indication of how
>incapable our efforts are of appealing to the masses, our end users, and an
>attempt at a rationalisation.

Very interesting criticism.  I think you may be correct here, but I also
think that if you expect anything DIFFERENT from the W3C, you will
probably continue to be disappointed...the W3C's primary (only?)
strength is in issuing technical recommendations such as XML specs or
CSS specs and the like.

The W3C has no proven track record (nor mandate, nor expertise) in
doing much of anything else -- the W3C is not a policy institute, and
is not a business research thinktank, and is not a social activism
organization.  Whenever we try to do more than what this organization
is good at -- which is "creating technical specs" -- we get into gray
uncomfortable zones.

W3C is an organization designed to speak to the technical developer,
and specifically one with a high level of technical knowledge and
motivation.  The W3C fails at everything else.

In a perfect world (as imagineered by me), the W3C would set the
technical requirements for accessibility and some other organization
would step forward to deal with each other issue that arose -- the
business case for accessibility, the guide to policy creation,
the stylistic rules on "how to write" rather than "how to do
markup and encoding for the Web."  Unfortunately those organizations
do not exist (or if they do, they're not taking those roles) and the
WAI instead is trying to serve that function.

I believe that this has produced many of the problems we're looking
at now -- for example, trying to force consideration of metaphor and
writing style and tone into a technical document is doomed to fail
for the same reason that we don't expect the W3C to produce etiquette
modules for XHTML 1.1.

This is not to say that technical specifications are a bad thing --
in fact, I think they are vitally important and form the core of
accessibility techniques for implementation by web developers.  But
trying to force everything in the accessibility world into the W3C's
model of XML specs only does disservice to the Internet community
and the disabled user sub-communities.


Kynn Bartlett <kynn@idyllmtn.com>
Received on Monday, 10 December 2001 11:58:39 UTC

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