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RE: Key results and recommendations from Face to Face

From: Gregg Vanderheiden <gv@trace.wisc.edu>
Date: Sat, 26 Mar 2005 00:45:10 -0600
To: <jasonw@ariel.its.unimelb.edu.au>
Cc: "'John M Slatin'" <john_slatin@austin.utexas.edu>, "'Al Gilman'" <Alfred.S.Gilman@IEEE.org>, <w3c-wai-gl@w3.org>
Message-Id: <20050326064503.E947C60C15D@m18.spamarrest.com>

Hi Jason,

More confused now.

    The discussion below starts with assuming that we require something that
can't be done.  Then define a technique in the techniques doc to do it.  But
it still can't be done yet because User Agents don't support the technique.
But because there is nothing else - this is the only way to do it so it is

    I'm sure I did this wrong but that is what I got.   

Let me explain some things and see if it helps focus the discussion.

    First - we can't put something in guidelines that can't be done.  But
perhaps you mean it can be done with one technology but not another. So lets
work with that.  

    If it can't be done with this "second" technology - then the way to
advocate for it would be in papers or other standards. Or working with user
agent manufacturers.  We shouldn't put something in the techniques doc as
required if it can't already be done.   

    If we did put something in techniques that isn't already a standard, it
would be advisory.  Because the techniques cannot make something 'the
standard way'.   It can only list it as a suggestion.  And the guidelines do
not require that you follow the techniques.  the techniques help you
understand what the guidelines require and give you some techniques for
doing it.  It cannot require any technique be used.  If there is only one
way that satisfies the guideline (SC) then the techniques doc can inform
authors of it.  But it cannot require it.  And if there is another technique
that is not in the techniques doc that would satisfy the SC then it still
would satisfy the SC even if it is not in the techniques doc.  That is - the
techniques doc can neither make something 'required' by including it or make
it not acceptable by omitting it. 

   Does this make sense now?

   Do you see a hole I don't see?



 -- ------------------------------ 
Gregg C Vanderheiden Ph.D. 
Professor - Ind. Engr. & BioMed Engr.
Director - Trace R & D Center 
University of Wisconsin-Madison 

-----Original Message-----
From: w3c-wai-gl-request@w3.org [mailto:w3c-wai-gl-request@w3.org] On Behalf
Of Jason White
Sent: Friday, March 25, 2005 6:39 PM
To: Gregg Vanderheiden
Cc: 'John M Slatin'; 'Al Gilman'; w3c-wai-gl@w3.org
Subject: RE: Key results and recommendations from Face to Face

Gregg Vanderheiden writes:
 > Hi Jason,
 >  I still don't follow your thoughts.   Help me here.
 >   If there are several acceptable methods then there are several
 > methods. 
 >   If there is only one - then there is only one.
 >   What is in the techniques doc does not change that fact.   Being in the
 > techniques doc may make one approach more known.   And it may give the
 > of the technique more evidence that it is a good technique.  And it may
 > used more.  (is that what you mean by de-facto standard?).   But it does
 > make it normative.  And it does not require the user to use it to

Perhaps an example would help to clarify the distinctions. Suppose we
decided that we wanted a means of distinguishing "layout" tables in HTML
from genuine data tables. The HTML spec doesn't provide for this, and in
order to be practically useful the chosen technique would have to be adopted
by authors and authoring tools. It would also have to be recognized by user
agents and assistive technologies.

What is needed, then, is an agreed upon technique that content and software
developers could implement, each under the expectation that the other
parties would support it. The question, then, is how this technique would be
chosen, given that there are various ways (consistently with the HTML spec)
of glossing the semantics of table markup.

Now if WCAG techniques were to step in at this point and recommend one usage
as the norm, then we would be trying to set a standard in the techniques
rather than recording established facts, with the expectation that software
and content developers would follow what was in the techniques. Of course it
might be argued that the techniques would just be making one of these
methods better known; but the problem is that there aren't really, in this
case, two or more acceptable methods; the technique will only work if it's
adopted by tool and user agent developers. Having an agreed upon technique
is almost more important than what the technique is. The issue I understood
Al to be raising is how these issues would be settled at the
technology-specific level if WCAG didn't provide normative requirements at
this level. Such a problem is distinct from the so-called "baseline" issue,
but it does raise important questions.
Received on Saturday, 26 March 2005 06:45:06 UTC

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