W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > w3c-wai-gl@w3.org > October to December 2006

Copy of Letter of invitation - Re Cognitive Language and Learning aspects of WCAG 2.0

From: Gregg Vanderheiden <gv@trace.wisc.edu>
Date: Wed, 29 Nov 2006 19:44:28 -0600
To: <w3c-wai-gl@w3.org>
Message-ID: <001201c71421$15cb26a0$116fa8c0@NC84301>
Here is the letter of invitation and attachments that were sent out last
week regarding a meeting on cognitive issues.   

FYI - There is an error in document A.  The definition of dyslexia was meant
to be deleted as it was too narrow. But it got missed.  We avoided all
definitions since there are so many different ways the terms are used.  But
one was evidently missed from an early draft. 

 -- ------------------------------ 
Gregg C Vanderheiden Ph.D. 




 Sofia Celic        <Sofia.Celic@visionaustralia.org>
 Jonathan Chetwynd  <j.chetwynd@btinternet.com>
 Jan Dekelver       <jan.dekelver@khk.be>
 Chuck Hitchcock    <chitchcock@cast.org>
 Hiroshi Kawamura   <hkawa@rehab.go.jp> 
 Gez Lemon          <gez.lemon@gmail.com>
 Clayton Lewis      <clayton.lewis@colorado.edu>
 Gian Sampson Wild  <gian@tkh.com.au> 
 Roberto Scano      <rscano@iwa-italy.org>
 Lisa Seeman        <lisa@ubaccess.com>
 Stephen Shore      <info@autismasperger.net>
 John Slatin        <jslatin@mail.utexas.edu>
 Keith Smith        <k.smith@bild.org.uk> 
 Nancy Ward         <nward@thedesk.info>
RE: Letter of invitation to two phone meetings on Cognitive Issues and WCAG

A number of comments have been filed as well as a formal objection [1]
regarding the coverage (or lack of coverage) of cognitive, language and
learning accessibilities issues in the 27 April 2006 draft of  W3C Web
Content Accessibility Guidelines version 2.0 (WCAG 2.0).   There was also a
concern that developers might make a WCAG 2.0 conformance claim and believe
that all of the requirements for cognitive disabilities have been covered,
and that no additional support is needed beyond the guidelines.  

This letter is to provide some background information on what we have done
so far to address these and to invite you to a meeting with us to discuss
this topic, concerns that have been raised, and ideas for what we can do in
both the WCAG guidelines themselves and in the related support and
application materials. We are inviting representatives of the group that
signed the formal objection, as well as additional people with expertise in
the area of cognitive disabilities including members of the working group.

The Working Group recognizes that the guidelines do not address all the
needs of cognitive (or any other) disabilities. However, we feel that the
current draft of WCAG 2.0 includes success criteria that do address many
aspects of cognitive disabilities directly or via assistive technology.
Given this, we believe it would be inaccurate to remove any claim of
addressing cognitive, language and learning disabilities (CLL), but we
certainly agree that it should be clear that the guidelines do not cover all
access issues for any disability - including cognitive, language and
learning.   The Working Group has been reviewing the ways in which WCAG 2.0
addresses different types of CLL disability so that we can characterize more
carefully which requirements are addressed and which are not. 

We wish to work together with people inside and outside of the working group
with expertise in this area 

1) to be sure that WCAG describes its reach accurately, 

2) to explore whether we can increase the scope of WCAG's coverage, and 

3) to encourage additional work on guidance that would not be bound by the
constraints that exist for WCAG.

As background, we would like to review some of the principles guiding our
work on WCAG.  It is the expectation of the W3C that WCAG will be used as a
primary international accessibility standard. Therefore, it must be
applicable to all Web content and achievable on all sites.  This is
particularly true for levels 1 or 2.  Furthermore, it must be possible to
verify a site's conformance to WCAG, so WCAG requirements must be testable.
In WCAG 1.0, provisions that could not be verified were largely ignored.

These constraints have certainly impacted WCAG 2.0 as it exists today. Many
success criteria have been proposed that the Working Group agreed were
important principles of accessibility, but could not think of ways to
reliably verify their conformance and therefore could not include them in
the guidelines.  This was true across all disabilities. 

In spite of this, in a close review of the needs of cognitive accessibility
and the provisions of WCAG, we have come to the conclusion that there is
substantial support for cognitive accessibility in the WCAG success
criteria. This support is detailed in the attached draft of a companion
document A, "Cognitive or learning disability.doc". Much of the support
comes from features that support assistive technologies specialized to the
needs of people with cognitive disabilities. (The difference between direct
access and access via assistive technology is described in the draft
companion document B, "Direct Access and Special UA.doc") Other support
comes from requirements to provide a consistent design on the site and to
relieve time limits on activities, distraction, etc. 

We have also been careful to structure the success criteria so they don't
prevent authors from following additional cognitive-specific accessibility
guidelines. Where possible, we provide our own additional recommendations in
the form of advisory techniques that go beyond the WCAG success criteria and
often include important but not testable advice.  (Note: Most advisory
techniques (for all disabilities) exist only as titles and [Future Links] in
the current draft.  We are getting to these support documents as quickly as
we can given our small group.  We are always interested in others who would
like to help.)

In addition to these features of WCAG 2.0, we plan to provide some
additional resources to support understanding of the relationship of WCAG to
cognitive accessibility. A number of subject-specific "Application Notes"
are planned, and an Application Note about cognitive accessibility is an
opportunity to detail the special issues involved, describe how authors
should implement their WCAG conformance with cognitive accessibility in
mind, and point out additional techniques, ideas and resources. (See
attachment C "Going Beyond WCAG 2.doc".)  We also believe there is need for
further research into effective means of addressing the needs of individuals
with cognitive disabilities. Eventually we would expect to incorporate this
research into future accessibility guidelines.  We would like your ideas and
help with these two documents as well.  
Moving forward we would like to schedule a meeting on the topic.  The
purpose would be:

1) to review the attached materials (including additions or corrections)

2) to identify any additional measures that can be taken with WCAG2.0 itself
(given its constraints)

3) to identify other ways to advance cognitive, language and learning access
beyond that which can go into WCAG 2.0. 

We are hoping to meet via teleconference on Dec 5 from 20:00 til 22:00 UTC,
with a follow-up meeting on Dec 19 at that same time.   We know the time is
a bit early or late for some of you but it is the only time the spans Europe
to Australia and doesn't hit anyone at 1 to 6 in the morning.   We hope that
you will be able to join us for these meetings.  Could you advise us if you
would be available?

Thanks much

Gregg Vanderheiden & Loretta Guarino Reid WCAG Co-Chairs  
Michael Cooper WCAG Staff Contact
Judy Brewer WAI Director 

[1] The formal objection can be found at 

Received on Thursday, 30 November 2006 01:44:57 UTC

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.3.1 : Tuesday, 16 January 2018 15:34:01 UTC