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RE: Problems with guideline 4.1

From: Michael Cooper <michaelc@watchfire.com>
Date: Wed, 28 Jul 2004 16:12:00 -0400
Message-ID: <A0666B3C59F1634290FDC88674D87C3206DEAA@1WFEMAIL.ottawa.watchfire.com>
To: "Web Content Guidelines" <w3c-wai-gl@w3.org>

I agree with most of what Jason has said here. But I have a concern with #2:

> 2. Suppose the content is written, in part or in whole, in a format
>    for which no specification exists. Does this mean it fails
>    guideline 4.1? If the specification exists but hasn't been
>    published, does this count? If so, how can I ever know whether an
>    unpublished specification for a technology I happen to be using,
>    exists?
> 
> pROPOSAL: "Specification" means a published specification which is
> available to any member of the public for free or at a 
> reasonable cost.

Public specifications, e.g., W3C specs are easy to accept.

Non-public but published specifications are also reasonably easy to accept, e.g., PDF. 

But I interpret Jason's proposal as excluding non-public, non-published specifications. Sorry to keep coming to this example, but it's Flash that immediately jumps to mind. The spec is not published (gosh I wish it were), and is maintained in a proprietary manner. However it does have accessibility features and I guess in principle if not often in practice can be fully accessible (platform issues aside). The above definition of "specification" would exclude content in such formats from ever being able to qualify for WCAG conformance. I certainly advocate the use of open standards on the Web but have come to accept that there are some proprietary formats in common use and would rather that those formats be considered in the scope of WCAG. If not, manufacturers and a lot of authors may simply say "I guess WCAG conformance is not achievable then" and leave it at that. Then whole swathes of the Web may simply ignore even attempting to be WCAG conformant.

Michael
Received on Wednesday, 28 July 2004 16:12:00 UTC

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