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Declaring educational level

From: Jason White <jasonw@ariel.its.unimelb.edu.au>
Date: Fri, 13 May 2005 12:18:30 +1000
To: Web Content Guidelines <w3c-wai-gl@w3.org>
Message-ID: <20050513021830.GA4721@jdc>

John proposed that the educational level of content be declared. Gregg 
rightly pointed out that WCAG can't require content developers to make 
declarations for legal and policy reasons. There are further problems 
with the proposal however.

Interpretation 1: the proposal requires authors to identify the 
educational level of their intended audience. If this were to be 
determined accurately, a survey or other form of research would need to 
be carried out of prospective users of the Web content. Furthermore, the 
proposal doesn't specify whether the educational level is to be taken as 
the minimum educational level, the mean educational level as calculated 
statistically, or the maximum. If the minimum, what proportion of the 
audience would have to lie at the minimum?

Interpretation 2: the proposal requires authors to declare the intended 
educational level of their intended audience. Under this interpretation, 
anyone who wants to render the success criterion trivial can simply 
declare their intentions as being whatever educational level the content 
demands, i.e., write the content, assess its level and declare 
accordingly. With this interpretation the proposal becomes trivially 
satisfiable.

I agree with John on an important point, that having knowledge of the 
educational level of prospective users of Web content is a valuable 
technique to be used in designing that content appropriately. I don't 
see how it can be used effectively in the success criteria however, 
while acknowledging that it is largely testable, to the extent demanded 
by our testability definition.
Received on Friday, 13 May 2005 02:19:28 UTC

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