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Scope and exceptions in WCAG 2.0

From: Jason White <jasonw@ariel.ucs.unimelb.edu.au>
Date: Thu, 17 Jun 2004 21:40:50 +1000
Message-ID: <16593.33602.764860.515381@jdc.local>
To: w3c-wai-gl@w3.org

In the discussion of scope, two options are under consideration for
each success criterion to which the issue applies:

1. Providing no explicit exceptions, but offering guidance (perhaps in
   a document for policy making) on what content should be excluded from the
   scope of conformance claims, under specific circumstances.

One consequence of this approach is that the content which is deemed
to be out of scope, need not conform to any other success criteria at
the relevant level. For example, if it is decided that certain content
should not be required to meet a certain success criterion at level 2
and is therefore out of scope for a level 2 claim, then the excluded
content need not meet any other level 2 success criteria either.

At level 1 this means that the excluded content need not conform to
any of the guidelines (i.e., it is not covered by any conformance
claim at all). I think this all-or-nothing outcome is an inevitable
consequence of having minimum conformance requirements, but that
developers should still be encouraged to meet as many success criteria
as they can even in content that doesn't satisfy the minimum.

2. Introducing qualifications and exceptions to restrict the
   application of individual success criteria, often on
   policy-oriented grounds. I don't like this approach for several
   reasons:

a. It complicates the guidelines by adding detailed exceptions and
qualifications to individual success criteria.

b. It runs the risk of entering into the field of policy-making,
exceeding the technical role of the working group and creating
additional controversy.

c. It runs the risk of creating exceptions that are too narrow or too
broad and which operate in undesirable and unanticipated ways in
situations that haven't been foreseen.

d. It allows content to conform without achieving the minimum level of
accessibility that would otherwise be prescribed by the guidelines,
i.e., it allows misleading conformance claims to be made which cover
content that isn't accessible in those respects for which the level 1
success criteria provide.

I would very much like the qualifications and exceptions, especially
those related to matters that are considered to be a lot of work or
otherwise undesirable on policy grounds, to be separated out of the
guidelines and dealt with in other ways, for example scoping or any
other mechanism that may be agreed upon.
Received on Thursday, 17 June 2004 07:40:55 GMT

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