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Re: 1.6 (was 1.5) cleanup proposal + proposal to merge with 2.4

From: Joe Clark <joeclark@joeclark.org>
Date: Tue, 2 Mar 2004 15:29:26 -0500 (EST)
To: WAI-GL <w3c-wai-gl@w3.org>
Message-ID: <Pine.BSO.4.53.0403021517461.1626@mail.veldt.ca>

> Guideline 1.6 Make structure perceivable through presentation. [level 2
> guideline]

Why, exactly? Why is that the designer's problem?

Are we in favour of the separation of structure and presentation or not?
Here you're *requiring* that structure and presentation *be linked*
through the requirement that they be "perceivable." You're micromanaging
people.

Can proponents of this measure point me to five semantic, valid-(X)HTML
Web sites in which structure is not perceivable?

> 1.      The structural elements present have a different visual appearance
> or auditory characteristic from each other and from body text. [V]
>
> Editorial Note: We need to define "structural elements" in the above
> criterion.

You need to throw this whole idea out! It's flat-out insane.

Are you saying that authors must somehow set up a stylesheet that makes
<em> and <i> appear different? (<em> always appears as italics by default
in graphical browsers.) How about <strong> and <b>?

What *exact* settings does this guideline require for abbr, acronym, dfn,
code, var, samp, ins, del, and similar inline elements? Are you really
saying that every single author everywhere has to write one or more
stylsheets that makes each and every one of those elements distinguishable
from one another? No two can be alike?

But how are the learning-disabled people, for whom people like Lisa Seeman
want to simply overthrow the existing Web, going to tell them apart
without a scorecard?

Why is WCAG WG always simultaneously clueless about *and hostile to* Web
design? Why is it unable to think its own proposals through?

This idea stinks.

> 1.      Structural emphasis is evident on at least the following displays:
> a.      black and white monitor,
> b.      low resolution screens  (160 x 160 pixel) ,
> c.      "mono" audio playback devices.

Please point me to known groups of people who use genuine B&W monitors
(1-bit color), 160-pixel-square screens (we're designing for disabled
people, not their cellphones), and "'mono'" audio playback devices.

What *are* you trying to do here? Do you even know? And what does it have
to do with actual disabled people?

> Presentation that emphasizes structure

is simply none of WCAG WG's business. The designer can design as he or she
pleases as long as valid, semantic code underpins the design. (The Working
Group continues to pretend the concept of "semantic code" doesn't exist.)
If someone wants or needs a different presentation, AS EVER the designer
can provide alternate stylesheets, the user can deploy his or her own
stylesheets, and/or the user can get a different browser or device.
Don't be trying to dictate how people design their pages *in this way*.

> *       Example 3: an audio presentation.
>
> An audio rendering of a document, generated according to a style sheet,

Aural CSS was a non-starter and has been deprecated.

The rest of the proposal is littered with somebody's file:// URLs and is
no better.

> Editorial Note: Are there any others?

Any other what? Cockamamie ideas? Yeah, lots, and they're swallowed
wholesale as long as someone like Gregg puts them out.

As ever, my advice is simple: Write better guidelines. At least pretend to
think them through.

--

  Joe Clark  |  joeclark@joeclark.org
  Author, _Building Accessible Websites_
  <http://joeclark.org/access/> | <http://joeclark.org/book/>
Received on Tuesday, 2 March 2004 15:25:28 UTC

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