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[techs] Summary of Face to Face, 08 and 09 September 2003

From: Michael Cooper <michaelc@watchfire.com>
Date: Fri, 12 Sep 2003 12:02:45 -0400
Message-ID: <D9ABD8212AFB094C855045AD80FB40DD017E0B8A@1WFMAIL>
To: "WAI GL (E-mail)" <w3c-wai-gl@w3.org>

This is a summary of the Techniques Task Force Face to Face meeting in
Toronto, Ontario, Canada, 08 and 09 September 2003, hosted by the Adaptive
Technology Resource Centre of the University of Toronto. Detailed discussion
history is in IRC logs at [1] and [2].


Ben Caldwell
Alan Cantor (part of meeting)
Wendy Chisholm
Joe Clark
Michael Cooper
Tom Croucher (part of meeting, by phone)
David MacDonald
Chris Ridpath
Roberto Scano (part of meeting, by phone)


We spent most of the first day of the meeting working on action items which
need completion for us to publish a revised draft of the HTML Techniques.
This involved cleanup of the draft, testing with user agents, and drafting
content for techniques. There are a number of things we still need to do
before we release a draft. We hope to have a draft ready to show the larger
WCAG group by 26 September.

Chris Ridpath gave a short presentation of an evaluation tool he's working
on that allows the checks to be defined in an XML file. They're planning to
make the tool open source and more information should be available soon.

We also discussed test files, joined for part of that discussion by Jan
Richards from the Authoring Tools Working Group. We looked at the
characteristics of various known test suites, and also came to the
conclusion that WCAG test files would substantially (although not 100%)
overlap with Authoring Tools test files, allowing us to pool resources. We
will want to collate test files from existing resources and expand it to
meet WCAG and AU needs. Wendy has a contact who might be able to help with
much of the legwork. We hope to coordinate work in a joint conference call
within the next couple months.

On the second day, Alan Cantor made a presentation about his work on data
tables and how he explains the issues to people who aren't familiar with
accessibility. His concrete recommendations seemed compatible with ones that
we have worked out over the past couple months (which helps us to know we're
on a reasonable track), but the approaches to education were novel to us and
seemed very useful. We transitioned into a more general discussion about how
to educate Web developers about the issues, and thought about how much our
techniques would support this and how much work of the Education and
Outreach Working Group would support it. The importance of real world
examples became clear, and we also thought it was a good idea for people
with examples and suggestions to post them on their sites (we generally
can't post them on the W3C site) and then discuss via the WAI lists.

Then we discussed checklists, one of the major ways we expect people to use
the techniques. Some complexities are that techniques may be optional or two
techniques may be in an "OR" relationship in which only one is required, and
some techniques may be not applicable because a particular feature was not
used. Representing all this is a challenge. We thought dynamic checklists
that adapt themselves according to user responses would be a very useful
tool, though we'll also have to tackle static print checklists and make them
workable. Joe had contacts that might be able to help with the creation of
dynamic checklists, and modeling the decision trees involved.

Use cases for techniques was next. The discussion centered mainly around the
use cases submitted by Tom Croucher, perhaps in part because they were
formatted prettily <grin>, though a couple other people submitted use cases
too (thank you). We found them very helpful in understanding what needs we
would need to support in the techniques, and want to continue to keep use
cases in mind formally as we develop further. We also need to develop a more
internationalized set of use cases.

Joe Clark then presented his thoughts on multimedia and color contrast
techniques - notes at [3]. He discussed the landscape of accessibility for
these technologies, suggested specific techniques, and outlined what should
not be techniques, for reasons such as technology support, difficult of
implementation, etc. The discussion around all this was interesting (and
hard to summarize). The discussion on multimedia seemed like something the
larger group should hear and consider, so we want to invite Joe to present
this again at a Thursday call. We decided to draft content for techniques
based in large part on Joe's proposal and our discussion, and although the
initial result probably won't be perfect either in Joe's eyes or in ours, it
will serve as a good basis for further discussion.

By this time we were pretty tired, and a brief discussion on Gateway
techniques yielded one decision: the document will now be called "Techniques
Gateway". This emphasizes that this document is the first level of detail
under the guidelines, checkpoints, and success criteria, provides background
information, and points people into appropriate technology-specific

Finally we identified next steps for the next couple months: publishing the
next draft of HTML Techniques, developing the checklist view of techniques,
continuing the Techniques Gateway work, starting the development of other
technology-specific techniques, working on test files, sending feedback to
the larger GL group, and coordinating with the AU and EO groups.


* Ben: Create user agent issues info for OBJECT & title
* Wendy: Talk to Jenae about test files work
* Alan: Write stuff about tables for public consumption & discussion
* Joe: Forward examples 
* Editor: Document dependencies between techniques
* Editor: Write out decision trees for each technique in a future draft
* Michael, Joe: Recruit Joe's friend Rudy to help us data model decision
* Ben: Create a draft checklist
* Tom, David, Alan: Develop more use case personae
* (Unassigned): Survey deaf-blind people about need for access to multimedia
* (Unassigned): Look for examples of Flash/SVG that merit captions and/or
audio descriptions (outside of embedded multimedia)
* Michael: Get Joe on agenda to present on captions at a Thursday call
* (Unassigned): Check if there cases of colors that can't be overridden by
* (Unassigned): Create techniques around text in images (including image
* Michael, Chris: Create techniques for text color based on Joe's proposal

[1] http://www.w3.org/2003/09/08-wai-wcag-irc.html
[2] http://www.w3.org/2003/09/09-wai-wcag-irc.html
[3] http://joeclark.org/f2f/recommendations.html

Michael Cooper
Accessibility Product Manager, Watchfire
1 Hines Rd, Kanata, ON  K2K 3C7, Canada
+1 (613) 599-3888 x4019

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Received on Friday, 12 September 2003 12:02:49 GMT

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