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RE: Guidelines or Standards

From: Christophe Strobbe <christophe.strobbe@esat.kuleuven.be>
Date: Mon, 12 Dec 2005 14:34:09 +0100
Message-Id: <>
To: w3c-wai-gl@w3.org

Hello Bruce,

At 13:38 12/12/2005, you wrote:

> > So I think we are in a situation where we must:
> > - focus on writing a good technical guideline standard (called a 
> recommendation in W3C parlance).
> > - wording it in a form most appropriate to this task;
> > - but keeping in mind that others may be using it for guidance for 
> regulatory activity and we don't want to write it in a way that makes it 
> hard for them to do that well.
>Thinking about this some more, it seems to me that WCAG (1.0 and 2.0) are 
>very different than the other W3C Technical Recommendations with which I 
>am familiar.

I agree, and naming often clarifies this: "Specification" vs. "Guidelines", 
"Techniques", etc.
The distinction is also obvious when one develops test suites:
- in a test suite for a technical specification, the metadata for a test 
reference an element, attribute or other type of feature from the 
- in a test suite for something like WCAG, the metadata for a test should 
reference both the element, attribute or other type of feature from the 
technical specification (e.g. HTML 4.01), AND the guideline, success 
criterion, etc against which you are testing the use of the feature.

>For lack of better terminology, WCAG is along the lines of usage whereas 
>HTML, XML, CSS, SVG, etc. are all very much detailed definitions.  This 
>leads me to a few questions:
>(1) Does the W3C have guidance as to the format of TR, especially the 
>"lowest level" parts (the success criteria in the case of WCAG 2.0)?

Do you mean beyond the QA Framework (http://www.w3.org/QA/Library/)?

>(2) Are there other W3C TR that are along the lines of useage in a fashion 
>similar to WCAG?

I think some documents from Internationalization fit this category (e.g. 
Authoring Techniques for XHTML & HTML Internationalization: Specifying the 
language of content 1.0: http://www.w3.org/TR/i18n-html-tech-lang/). Some 
technical specifications (XML Schema - 
http://www.w3.org/TR/2004/REC-xmlschema-0-20041028/, RDF - 
http://www.w3.org/TR/2004/REC-rdf-primer-20040210/, SOAP - 
http://www.w3.org/TR/2003/REC-soap12-part0-20030624/) have a "Primer"; 
XHTML 2 might also get one.
The documents in the QA Framework (http://www.w3.org/QA/Library/) are 
probably not in the category you have in mind.

>(3) Does W3C differentiate between these two categories of standards (what 
>I have characterized here as usage versus definitive)?

As far as I can see (as non-W3C member), the difference is in the title of 
these documents.

>(4) I am still looking for an example from WCAG 1.0 or 2.0 that is harmed 
>(or is made less accurate) by being rephrased in statutory language.

I can't help you here.


Christophe Strobbe

Christophe Strobbe
K.U.Leuven - Departement of Electrical Engineering - Research Group on 
Document Architectures
Kasteelpark Arenberg 10 - 3001 Leuven-Heverlee - BELGIUM
tel: +32 16 32 85 51

Disclaimer: http://www.kuleuven.be/cwis/email_disclaimer.htm
Received on Monday, 12 December 2005 13:36:06 UTC

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