W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > w3c-wai-gl@w3.org > January to March 2002

Audience (was Re: More useful information for 3.3)

From: Jason White <jasonw@ariel.ucs.unimelb.edu.au>
Date: Thu, 14 Mar 2002 13:20:04 +1100
Message-ID: <15504.2260.665394.136985@jdc.local>
To: Web Content Guidelines <w3c-wai-gl@w3.org>
goliver@accease.com writes:
 > Hi Jo
 > My take on all this is as follows....
 > If your audience includes people with intellectual
 > disabilities, then either 

The above statement raises once again the question concerning the
relevance of audience to checkpoint 3.3 and to the guidelines more
broadly. This is an unresolved and contentious point. To what extent,
if any, should the author's "intended audience" be taken into account
in defining what it means to satisfy checkpoint 3.3, or indeed to
conform to the guidelines as a whole?

On the one side, there are those who worry that audiences can too
easily be defined in such a way as to exclude arbitrarily persons with
disabilities, and consequently that notions of audience should play no
part in determing to what extent particular content has met the

On the other side there are members of the group who maintain, just as
adamantly, that decisions with respect to audience are fundamental to
the design and preparation of web content and that accessibility can
best be judged with reference to a particular, intended audience.

One of the problems, I think, is the discomfort which arises from the
observation that concepts of "audience" and "intended audience" are
concerned with inclusion and exclusion. If I assert that my document
is written for a specific audience, then what I am saying, in effect,
is that I don't care (or at least care somewhat less) if it is
incomprehensible, in whole or in part, to people who don't fall within
the stipulated class. The underlying question, then, is to what extent
and in what ways is it legitimate for developers, while conforming to the guidelines at
some level, to make such inclusion and exclusion decisions? Arguably,
this lies at the core of much of our conformance discussion.

I think there is consensus to the effect that it would not be
legitimate for a developer to define the intended audience as "all
persons in category x, except those in category x who have a
(specified or unspecified type of) disability". Beyond that, however,
there is no agreement on the relevance of audience to the
guidelines or what types of inclusion/exclusion, on the part of the
author, are legitimate for conformance purposes.
Received on Wednesday, 13 March 2002 21:20:15 UTC

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.3.1 : Tuesday, 16 January 2018 15:33:40 UTC