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508 RE: Disability statistics

From: Charles McCathieNevile <charles@w3.org>
Date: Sun, 16 Dec 2001 20:09:40 -0500 (EST)
To: Denise Wood <Denise_Wood@operamail.com>
cc: <Vadim.Plessky@operamail.com>, <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Message-ID: <Pine.LNX.4.30.0112161956250.26451-100000@tux.w3.org>
Hi folks.

Please note: the following is my personal opinion only, and is not endorsed
by WAI, W3C, or anyone I know.

The source for the claim below about the similarities and differences between
section 508 and WCAG is the section 508 rules and explanatory
material themselves, but please note that there are people (I am one) who
think that some of this is factually incorrect. For example standard (o) is
claimed to have no equivalent in WCAG. But examine carefully:

Paragraph (o) "A method shall be provided that permits users to skip
repetitive navigation links."
http://www.access-board.gov/sec508/guide/1194.22.htm#(o)

This is almost exactly the same as

13.6 "Group related links, identify the group (for user agents), and, until
user agents do so, provide a way to bypass the group."
http://www.w3.org/TR/WAI-WEBCONTENT/wai-pageauth.html#tech-group-links

As far as I can tell the only requirement in 508 that isn't in WCAG is
paragraph (k), which requires a text equivalent for an inaccessible page.
Compare:

Paragraph (k) "A text-only page, with equivalent information or
functionality, shall be provided to make a web site comply with the
provisions of these standards, when compliance cannot be accomplished in any
other way. The content of the text-only page shall be updated whenever the
primary page changes."
http://www.access-board.gov/sec508/guide/1194.22.htm#(k)

According to the Access Board this is equivalent to

11.4 If, after best efforts, you cannot create an accessible page, provide a
link to an alternative page that uses W3C technologies, is accessible, has
equivalent information (or functionality), and is updated as often as the
inaccessible (original) page.
http://www.w3.org/TR/WAI-WEBCONTENT/wai-pageauth.html#tech-alt-pages

But there is a big difference between "text-only" and "accessible" (which the
way W3C uses it generally means conforming to WCAG, in this case to the level
claimed for the content that this alternative is being provided for). In
general WAI does not recommend text-only pages, and in particular they are
not a sufficient alternative - they are only better for a small proportion of
people with disabilities and only a limited range of disabilities.

remember that this is my personal opinion only.

Charles

On Sun, 16 Dec 2001, Denise Wood wrote:

  So technically we are not bound by Section 508 however we are legally obliged
  to ensure our Web sites are accessible. The Section 508 standards are similar
  to W3C guidelines with some exceptions:
  - the first nine standards of Section 508 (a) through (i)incorporate the exact
  language recommended by the WAI in relation to WCAG 1.0 guidelines.
  - standards (j) and (k) are meant to be consistent with similar provisions in
  the WCAG 1.0 but use language which is more consistent with enforceable
  regulatory language
  - standards (l), (m), (n), (o), and (p) are different than any comparable
  provision in the WCAG 1.0 and generally require a higher level of access or
  prescribe a more specific requirement.
  -The Section 508 standards do not include the following WCAG 1.0 priority one
  checkpoints 1.3, 4.1, 6.2 or 14.1.
Received on Sunday, 16 December 2001 20:09:42 GMT

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