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Re: Audience (was Re: More useful information for 3.3)

From: Charles McCathieNevile <charles@w3.org>
Date: Thu, 14 Mar 2002 13:21:36 -0500 (EST)
To: Jason White <jasonw@ariel.ucs.unimelb.EDU.AU>
cc: Web Content Guidelines <w3c-wai-gl@w3.org>
Message-ID: <Pine.LNX.4.30.0203141308360.32523-100000@tux.w3.org>
I agree that in so far as we are determining what is required for a content
provider to make sure that anyone can use their content, ther is no concept
of "intended audience" that can be restricted beyond "everyone".

And I believe that we should be writing our guidelines with this in mind, and
explain what is needed so everyone can use the content. Beyond that, we
should explain why particular requiremetns are there.

In the real, cold hard world where most sites are developed by someone who is
doing it for money, and where the money and time are not infinite, people
will prioritise between different groups, or between different requirements,
according to various factors.

  * What is the audience i *MUST* reach? (think of sites designed for people
with cognitive disabilities, or for people who are Deaf)
  * How many of my audience are relying on particular software? (The Web is
designed to be universal, but unfortunately not all software is yet)
  * What are the things that I can learn how to do within the lifetime of the
project? (Designers are not born knowing about how to design for the Web, let
alone about all the accessibility issues. But they still need the job, and
people still need to get someone to do what they can.)
  * What are the resources and expertise available? (Experts in issues for
people who rely on keyboard use may not be good at graphic design, or at
producing textual equivalents, or whatever)
  * What is the state of the art?

None of these are things we can pin down in the guidelines, and I do not
think we should try to. We should point out that in general the expected
audience is everyone (this is really what the EO group do) and the various
things that can be done. We should describe as much of the reasoning behind
each requirement as possible, so people can reproduce the thinking and apply
it to their own situation.

In particular we should emphasise how often it is possible to meet the needs
of everyone - providing clues other than colour alone is a requirement for
some, using colour to distinguish things is a requirement for others. Using
it right, so the maximum number of people can make use of it directly, is
something that takes particular expertise, and guidance, which we should be

And if other people need to prioritise between one group and another, then
they need to decide who they are excluding.


On Thu, 14 Mar 2002, Jason White wrote in his usual thoughtful style leading
to the conclusion that:

  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 Thursday, 14 March 2002 13:21:40 UTC

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