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conformance level proposal

From: Matt May <mcmay@w3.org>
Date: Thu, 26 Feb 2004 10:52:45 -0800
Message-Id: <F6C8B593-688C-11D8-B715-000393B628BC@w3.org>
To: w3c-wai-gl@w3.org (WCAG WG)

I'm in the middle of reviewing the latest WCAG draft. It occurs to me 
(again) that the concept of A+ conformance in the middle of A-AAA is 
confusing in the current scheme. I think I have a fix for this, and I'd 
like this to be discussed on a future conference call.

We have A, double-A, and triple-A levels of conformance. However, most 
Americans equate ratings like A+ with grades received in school (where 
A+ is usually 100%). In this case, someone who sees an A+ rating for 
accessibility would assume that the site has done the maximum for 
accessibility, where in actuality this is far from the case. And 
authors may be more interested in displaying A+ than, say, AA.

I present an alternative that solves this and the following problems 
with the current formulation:
- screen reader pronunciation of A, AA and AAA as similar sounds
- mnemonic for B = Basic, A = Advanced, which translates at least into 
Spanish (básico/avanzado) and French (base/avancé or augmenté), which 
is as far as I go linguistically
- eliminates the red-herring AAA conformance level by producing a top 
level of conformance that is capable of being achieved

B - Basic accessibility - all guidelines met at Level 1
B+ - Meets all guidelines at Level 1 plus six (of 13 applicable 
guidelines) at Level 2
A - Meets all guidelines at Level 1 and Level 2
A+ - Meets all guidelines at Level 1 and Level 2, plus six (of 12) at 
Level 3

As for the +n situation, I still believe that anyone who wants to claim 
how many items they conform over and above a given priority should do 
so in metadata alone. The value of enumerating which checkpoints a site 
claims to conform to should go to users determining which sites they 
can used based on that metadata. Additionally, the more different 
variables added to the conformance claim, the harder it will be to 
explain to the audience of users, and thus the weaker the branding of 
WCAG.

I'm very familiar with the argument that certain companies can't make 
that claim for legal reasons, and that's fine -- they can stick with B 
or A, if they make a claim at all. (Right now, most larger companies, 
even those who have accessibility practices in place, make no claims, 
and nothing will cause that to change.) The important part of the 
conformance scheme is that it provides an easier step up for sites that 
want to become progressively more accessible.

Thoughts?

-
m
Received on Thursday, 26 February 2004 13:52:25 UTC

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