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[wcag2] Definition of 'complex content'

From: Jens Meiert <jens.meiert@erde3.com>
Date: Wed, 30 Jun 2004 15:29:14 +0200 (MEST)
To: "W3C WAI-GL" <w3c-wai-gl@w3.org>
Message-ID: <16518.1088602154@www12.gmx.net>

The WCAG 2.0 glossary [1] defines 'complex content' as:

'Content is considered complex if the relationships between pieces of
information are not easy to figure out. If the presentation of the
information is intended to highlight trends or relationships between
concepts, these should be explicitly stated in the summary.

Examples of complex information:

    * data tables,
    * concepts that are esoteric or difficult to understand,
    * content that involves several layers'

Since 'are not easy to figure out' is not very precise, and since, for
examples, data tables are not necessarily complex (and thus difficult to
understand), I propose to reformulate this definition. I found the 
following definition of 'complex' [2]:

'complex (vs. simple) -- complicated in structure; consisting of
interconnected parts; "a complex set of variations based on a simple folk
melody"; "a complex mass of diverse laws and customs"'

Consequently (and please correct me if I'm wrong), 'complex content' must be
content which has a difficult to grasp structure (and thus breaks some WCAG
guideline yet), and/or which consists of various media (for example, it
shows a movie in an <iframe />), and/or even uses a high amount of

Also, we should consider (like the 'structure' example shows) that there
(only?) is 'complex content' if the corresponding page breaks existing
guidelines. This means, after having applied all guidelines a page cannot be
complex anymore (but, ha, this might be too theoretical right now ;).

-- Nonetheless, I hope we think about a new definition of this term.

All the best,

[1] http://www.w3.org/TR/WCAG20/#d0e2515
[2] http://www.cogsci.princeton.edu/cgi-bin/webwn?stage=1&word=complex

Jens Meiert
Interface Architect (IxD)

Received on Wednesday, 30 June 2004 09:29:45 UTC

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