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RE: [171] accessible rebroadcasts

From: John M Slatin <john_slatin@austin.utexas.edu>
Date: Wed, 25 Jun 2003 08:33:15 -0500
Message-ID: <B3DC65CD2AA7EF449E554548C6FE1111135683@MAIL01.austin.utexas.edu>
To: <jasonw@ariel.ucs.unimelb.edu.au>, "Web Content Guidelines" <w3c-wai-gl@w3.org>

The approach that Jason recommends (allowing resource providers to
exempt certain specific content from their conformance claims) sounds
reasonable.  However, difficulties arise if the content in question is
central to the purpose of the site.  

For example, suppose an instructional site at a university acts as a
pass-through for rebroadcast video material that does not have
synchronized captions or descriptions.  This material is required
viewing/hearing for students enrolled in the course.  In my mind, it
makes no sense to allow this instructional site to make a conformance
claim if it's core instructional content is inaccessible.  An accessible
shell around inaccessible content is sometimes worse than an
inaccessible shell; and a shell that *claims* accessibility (except for
the stuff at the heart of the matter) seems downright misleading.

I suppose this same principle extends to other kinds of material.  For
example suppose a university registrar's home page is accessible, but
the forms that students have to complete in order to register for
courses are not accessible.  Is a conformance claim limited to the home
page permissible? What does it say: "Content of the page you are on
conforms to WCAG 2.0 at minimum level.  Beyond this point there be


John Slatin, Ph.D.
Director, Institute for Technology & Learning
University of Texas at Austin
FAC 248C
1 University Station G9600
Austin, TX 78712
ph 512-495-4288, f 512-495-4524
email jslatin@mail.utexas.edu
web http://www.ital.utexas.edu

-----Original Message-----
From: Jason White [mailto:jasonw@ariel.ucs.unimelb.edu.au] 
Sent: Wednesday, June 25, 2003 3:25 am
To: Web Content Guidelines
Subject: Re: [171] accessible rebroadcasts

Here is an alternative solution intended to cover this and other cases.


1. Recognizing that this working group is not in a position to weigh
   in balance the many factors that influence policy decisions
   regarding what content is required to be accessible, and under
   which circumstances, we should state the checkpoints without
   qualification. That is, for checkpoints 1.1 and 1.2, content does
   not conform to the guidelines unless it has associated captions and

2. We should allow the scope of a conformance claim to be defined
   flexibly. Thus, if it is decided on policy grounds that certain
   content doesn't need to meet the guidelines, then, under the
   circumstances defined in the policy, the developer should be able
   to exclude that content, and only that content, from the scope of a
   conformance claim.

3. We could, if desired, introduce statements into the guidelines
   explaining that various factors may make it impracticable or
   undesirable for all content to conform to the guidelines under all
   circumstances, and that policy makers may opt to allow exclusions,
   but this can only be done by exempting certain content from the
   scope of the conformance claim, and not by claiming conformance
   with respect to content that only satisfies a subset of the core
   checkpoints. This of course leaves open the possibility that the
   exempted content may happen to conform to some other set of
   guidelines or standard, for example that of the television industry
   in the case of rebroadcast multimedia - in which circumstances a
   conformance claim to that effect could be made, but not a WCAG 2.0
   conformance claim.

4. I don't think this is necessary, but we could also include
   non-normative notes at certain points in the document, directed at
   policy setters (whether they be governments or internal policy
   bodies within an organization) indicating why we think there may be
   difficulties in applying certain checkpoints universally, that is,
   under all circumstances, and giving examples of possible problems.
   By being non-normative, these statements would call attention to
   the issue without making a policy decision that affects
Received on Wednesday, 25 June 2003 09:33:25 UTC

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