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RE: RE 3.1 proposal - first half

From: Gregg Vanderheiden <gv@trace.wisc.edu>
Date: Fri, 27 May 2005 13:16:19 -0500
To: "'Ineke van der Maat'" <inekemaa@xs4all.nl>
Cc: <w3c-wai-gl@w3.org>
Message-Id: <20050527181618.0907560C155@m18.spamarrest.com>

Hi Ineke,

I'm sorry that you feel that the provisions have not taken things like the
challenge of the Dutch language into account.   Although only a couple of
our committee speak Dutch - we do try to create provisions that work for
Dutch and Hebrew and Arabic and Japanese, Chinese etc.   It is a real
challenge for us.  Even those from the Netherlands etc.   We each know our
own and not the other.  Together we are trying to figure this out.  It is
good to have you on board.  And thanks for the challenging questions you
raise     (your country isn't the only one that experiences them (though it
is one of the most interesting I have heard of). 

Doing cross language and cultural guidelines is extremely difficult.  But
the alternatives (which is to not have any or to have different ones for
each country) are worse.  The first results in lack of access and the latter
is a nightmare for companies and authors that must deal with different

The provisions around making content understandable are the toughest of the
tough.   Many have just (some say wisely) ignored the area - even though it
is the largest group of people having trouble.  We are trying to figure out
how to do things that do not affect the way things are written directly (so
people can express themselves as they wish) but does provide a mechanism for
those who have trouble to be able to understand things.  

Everything we do in this area is frontier.  We are trying many things and
rejecting many things.  Nothing that we have is written in stone and the
only way to explore things is to bring them up and discuss them.  Many good
ideas are badly proposed and refined til they fly.  Airplane designs and
plowshares all start out in crude form and are hammered into shape.   Don't
judge things by their initial shape - and don't throw rocks at the
blacksmith when the plowshare is still being forged.  Providing polite
comment if you thing the blacksmiths have missed something is always
appreciated though.  Cause the blacksmiths are trying to create a plowshare
to work in many different types of fields. 


The provision (limiting it to languages that have central dictionaries) of
the SC was added specifically for countries/languages like the Netherlands /
Dutch where there is not a dictionary in the conventional sense since the
language is so dynamic, borrowed and generative (as in words are created
from other words and segments from multiple languages continually).  

If your country/language doesn't have a dictionary (or range) that covers
the majority of the words in the content - then it is exempt from the
provision - or that is the intent. 

Same would be true of a page written in street slang if no dictionary
existed.   If one existed though - then it should be linked.  

In your country I would think that many pages, including government pages
that describe services etc, would use language that might be in a
- If not then they would be exempt too.    
- If so then special words that the government used to describe its services
might be in a separate dictionary that is in the list of dictionaries (and
supplements) associated with the page(s). 

Remember also that this whole guideline is still in rough form - and your
country is a great example to test the language and make sure it is flexible
enough.  Your comments are very helpful in that regard.  

RE - the comments about just making the guidelines simple because people
don't have enough money to do too much - 

This is a matter for public policy in your country.  We are creating 3
levels in the guidelines so that countries can choose lower or higher
levels.  They can also choose to not mandate anything.  But if it is
determined that people with disabilities need to have access - then we do
need to make sure the guidelines describe what is necessary to do that. 

On the other side - I think we need to be sure that we limit ourselves as
much as possible to those things that are really necessary today - or with
emerging technologies.  I'm trying to see where we can slim down and move
some things into the 'additional advice' section of the Guide Doc.   

3.1 is the toughest.  And different languages make it tougher.  

So keep the comments coming.  


 -- ------------------------------ 
Gregg C Vanderheiden Ph.D. 
Professor - Ind. Engr. & BioMed Engr.
Director - Trace R & D Center 
University of Wisconsin-Madison 
Received on Friday, 27 May 2005 18:16:26 UTC

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