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Re: EARL 0.95 Available

From: Charles McCathieNevile <charles@w3.org>
Date: Tue, 29 May 2001 17:14:37 -0400 (EDT)
To: Kynn Bartlett <kynn@reef.com>
cc: Joe Clark <joeclark@qube.seeto.com>, <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Message-ID: <Pine.LNX.4.30.0105291708030.31043-100000@tux.w3.org>
This is a pretty good summary of what EARL does. Indeed it does allow for
different people to make statements which can be identified, and therefore to
balance information against "whom you trust". (For instance you might say
that in the absence of any other information you will accept what I have
written, but if anyone disagrees with me you believe them instead)

Another important use case is that you may have several sources of EARL
information about a document you are editing, and how it conforms to WCAG
level-A and the US federal government "section 508" purchasing requirements.
(These are two slightly diffferent sets of requirements). An EARL-aware
authoring tool would be able to take account of the information you have
previously supplied. For example, there are four images, and it is noted in
EARL that three of them don't need long descriptions, but that one does. You
would then be prompted for a long description only for the one that needed
it, instead of getting asked every time you run a check.

something like EARL is already in use in several accessibility checking
systems - the value of having a single syntax is that the final use case
outlined above, as well as Kynn's final use case, becomes possible.


Charles McCN

On Tue, 29 May 2001, Kynn Bartlett wrote:

  At 09:05 AM 5/29/2001, Joe Clark wrote:
  >Um... WTF is EARL, OK?

  It's a language for making statements about the accessibility of
  something, in a standard machine-readable (and human-displayable)

  For example:

  * I could run a program like Bobby or the W3C validator, and get back
     a report in EARL which records those things Bobby or the validator
     can measure.

  * I could sit down and test a site, and record my results in a format
     that gets changed into EARL (maybe by a script prompting me for

  * I could use a nifty new editor which, on demand, generates an EARL
     statement about the code it is creating for me.

  * I could then combine all of the above EARL statements into a composite
     and see how the site measures up against various W3C specifications,
     such as WCAG or XHTML.  Failures to comply could also be noted in
     EARL as well.

  EARL is "just" a common language and syntax for expressing things that
  we current talk about in English, such as "this page is single-A accessible
  and it includes D-links" or "this fails checkpoint 2.1" or "alt text
  exists, but William Loughborough doesn't think they're adequate."
  (The last one is not a tongue-and-cheek joke; EARL, as I understand it,
  does indeed allow for value judgments and identification of who made
  those calls.)

Charles McCathieNevile    http://www.w3.org/People/Charles  phone: +61 409 134 136
W3C Web Accessibility Initiative     http://www.w3.org/WAI    fax: +1 617 258 5999
Location: 21 Mitchell street FOOTSCRAY Vic 3011, Australia
(or W3C INRIA, Route des Lucioles, BP 93, 06902 Sophia Antipolis Cedex, France)
Received on Tuesday, 29 May 2001 17:14:42 UTC

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