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RE: Conformance Testing Proposal

From: John M Slatin <john_slatin@austin.utexas.edu>
Date: Mon, 5 Apr 2004 11:09:12 -0500
Message-ID: <C46A1118E0262B47BD5C202DA2490D1A1E30DE@MAIL02.austin.utexas.edu>
To: "Chris Ridpath" <chris.ridpath@utoronto.ca>, "WAI WCAG List" <w3c-wai-gl@w3.org>

Thanks, Chris. I agree that something like this will be helpful for many
developers who want to do the right thing.

Some questions:
1. Is this list intended as a preliminary proposal for a
technology-specific checklist? If not, what relationship does it have to
such a checklist?
2. Can this checklist be numbered consistently with WCAG 2.0 to make it
easier for developers to tell when they're meeting WCAG success
3. Why is it still necessary to require redundant text links for
client-side image maps? Are there still user agents that don't support
client-side image maps that have valid alt attributes for <area>

Some comments about longdesc and d-links:
1. We should not *require* redundant use of longdesc *and* d-link for
<img> elements that need additional description.   If support for
longdesc isn't widespread enough to be reliable, we should require that
descriptions be provided either on-page or in a separate, linked
2. On pages that display multiple images that require description,
link-text pointing to the descriptions should identify the image to
which the description refers.


"Good design is accessible design." 
Please note our new name and URL!
John Slatin, Ph.D.
Director, Accessibility Institute
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.utexas.edu/research/accessibility/


-----Original Message-----
From: w3c-wai-gl-request@w3.org [mailto:w3c-wai-gl-request@w3.org] On
Behalf Of Chris Ridpath
Sent: Monday, April 05, 2004 10:26 am
Subject: Conformance Testing Proposal

Page authors need to know what they must do in order to conform to the
WAI guidelines. We must spell out in clear terms what must be done to
achieve compliance.

The current situation is that nobody really knows if their site's
content complies or not. This is because the WCAG 1 was open to
interpretation. Interpreting the guidelines has been an impediment to
page authors performing the simple but necessary things that make
content accessible. Current research has been critical of the WCAG 1
because of the way that people must interpret the guidelines.

The current state of accessibility conformance "I can't define it, but I
know it when I see it" must be changed.

My proposal is that we state, for each technology, the things that must
be done in order for a page to claim conformance. This is possible and
practical and is what page authors require.

For example we require that, in HTML, all IMG elements have an ALT
attribute. If any IMG element does not have an ALT attribute then the
page cannot claim conformance.

The list of requirements would be subject to periodic change by the WAI.
For example in 2004 we require a d-link for any IMG element that has a
LONGDESC attribute. In 2005 or 2006 as the LONGDESC is better supported
the d-link requirement would be dropped. As better tests for semantic
content are developed they could be added as requirements.

The initial list of requirements would likely not cover 100% of
accessibility problems but it would improve over time and would be much
better than the current situation. Simply because we can not define all
accessibility requirements now is not a good reason for being vague.

A clear list of requirements would ensure that page authors know exactly
what to put in their web pages. It would increase web accessibility.

Clear requirements would mean that people, or machines, could actually
test for compliance with the guidelines. Many authors want to do the
right thing but don't know how.

As a starting point, here's what I think the WCAG 2 requirements for

I'm sure that this list has errors and omissions but it proves that we
can do this.

We can, and must, clearly describe what the guidelines mean.

Received on Monday, 5 April 2004 12:09:52 UTC

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