W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > w3c-wai-ig@w3.org > April to June 2000

Kynn's Proposal on Implementation Plans (was: To stray or not stray...)

From: Kynn Bartlett <kynn-edapta@idyllmtn.com>
Date: Fri, 5 May 2000 12:01:02 -0700
Message-Id: <a0431010eb538c6995f3f@[10.0.1.2]>
To: Melinda Morris-Black <melinda@ink.org>, Accessibility Listserve <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
At 12:58 PM -0500 5/05/2000, Melinda Morris-Black wrote:
>The members have been bringing up some salient points that will affect
>our education outreach efforts. I currently dread pointing people to the
>W3C guidelines, as they are very intimidating to the uninitiated.

Melinda, I share your concerns myself -- I feel that the WCAG
is the -definitive- work but is not the best -introductory- work
on the topic.  In fact, when I teach my online web accessibility
class (http://www.hwg.org/services/classes/catalog/d201.html), I
don't actually introduce the students to WCAG until week three of
the six week course.

>The more discussion I read on this issue, the more I think we need our
>own guidelines, separate from the W3C.
>Just my two cents. Any thoughts?

In my opinion, there are two ways to go about this -- the wrong way
and the right way.  These mainly differ in process and approach,
rather than in the actual end product.

THE WRONG WAY

The wrong way to do this is to set up "our own guidelines" as something
separate and distinct from the WAI guidelines -- as "something else"
with no relationship to the WCAG, or worse, as an "alternative" to
the WCAG.

There is a definite benefit to both the "cause" and the "community"
of having one clear, definitive document and message -- and that's
embodied in the WCAG.  From a web designer's standpoint, if we are
all learning from the same curriculum and the same source material,
then our skills can be applied across many sites and many jobs.

If, on the other hand, the message is "fractured", and there are
a number of guidelines thought of as "competing" with each other,
this will "dillute the market" and "confuse the message", which can
lead to less understanding of what web accessibility is all about.

So, we'd obviously like it if everyone did this...

THE RIGHT WAY

The right way is to *use* the WCAG to build your own *implementation
plan* for web accessibility -- as I described yesterday in email
to this list.  A web accessibility implementation plan should
*always* be based on the WCAG at the core (although you should, in
my opinion, -never- follow the WCAG's "de facto" single-A,
double-AA, triple-AAA plans).

For example, the HTML Writers Guild's accessibility standard is
entirely dependent upon the WCAG, and that's done on purpose.  The
HWG has no desire to set up our own "guidelines", but rather to
establish for our internal use -how- we will use the existing
guidelines.  Our depency on WCAG is clear -- see the policy at
http://www.hwg.org/opcenter/policy/access.html  (Note also that the
HWG policy "rewrites" WCAG for our audience, rather than just
cutting-and-pasting.)

HOW THE WAI CAN HELP

The Web Accessibility Initiative -- through the Education and
Outreach working group -- needs to actively encourage the use of
the WCAG in exactly this way:  As the base building blocks that
are used to produce web accessibility implementation plans which
are appropriate for the organization or company in question.

To that means, the E&O should consider drafting a document that
lays out the steps necessary to construct such a plan (and yes,
I'm willing to do the work on this -- and can we draft someone
from IBM/SNS who worked on theirs?), and also consider linking
to any known implementation plans which are based on the WCAG.

THE INTERNAL CHALLENGE

The big problem for us in the WAI will be when we actually have
to confront the fact that we're going to say "it's okay to
ignore certain parts of the WCAG."  But ultimately, that bitter
taste is one we'll have to try soon enough, because any practical
implementation of WAI guidelines will have to make that kind of
decision.

Rather than leaving it up to the individual implementors to make
that decision (or simply trusting in the blind faith approach of
the inadequate single-A, double-AA, triple-AAA conformance levels
which do NOT work in the real world), the WAI E&O working group
should be providing technical policy makers with the information
and tools they need in order to set a reasonable and implementable
goal for increasing the accessibility of their sites.

--Kynn
-- 
--
Kynn Bartlett <kynn@idyllmtn.com>
http://www.kynn.com/
Received on Friday, 5 May 2000 15:07:17 GMT

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.2.0+W3C-0.50 : Tuesday, 19 July 2011 18:13:48 GMT