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Access Board comparison is wrong Re: Sec. 508 vs. WAI

From: Charles McCathieNevile <charles@sidar.org>
Date: Thu, 27 Mar 2003 08:50:15 +1100
Cc: "Hy Cohen" <hy@miplet.com>, w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
To: "Larry G. Hull" <Larry.G.Hull@nasa.gov>
Message-Id: <ED93F432-5FD4-11D7-957F-000A95678F24@sidar.org>

Hy,

I think the analysis provided by the Access Board is a very poor one in 
some respects. I think the best analysis widely available is Jim 
Thatcher's: http://www.jimthatcher.com/sidebyside.htm although I would 
disagree with his analysis in a few of details - the important ones are 
that the 508 provision allowing for a text-only alternative page is NOT 
the same as the WCAG requirement for an accessible alternative page as 
a last resort, and that WCAG requires scripts be accessible and that 
there be redundant ways of interacting, whereas 508 merely requires 
they are accessible (i.e. it assumes people have script-capable 
browsing environments).

I think WCAG conformance to level triple-A covers all requirements of 
Section 508 except the one that users can ask for more time if they 
need it.

I don't think the difference between the words compliance and 
conformance is significant, but the fact that one is a law applicable 
to a certain group of people, and one is a technical specification made 
available in the hope it will be used to improve the Web is important. 
(There are laws which refer to WCAG as a specification for improving 
accessibility, but WCAG itself is not a law).

cheers

Charles McCN

On Thursday, Mar 27, 2003, at 06:45 Australia/Melbourne, Larry G. Hull 
wrote:

>
> Hy,
>
> Section 508 is a law that applies to Federal agencies while the WAI 
> guidelines are an industry standard.
>
> Section 508 overlaps a portion of the WAI guidelines albeit with some 
> differences.
>
> Section 508 speaks of compliance while the WAI guidelines speak of 
> conformance, a subtle but possibly important distinction. I'm not a 
> lawyer.
>
> WCAG conformance may but need not imply Section 508 compliance.
>
> More specifically, the Access Board says,
>
> "The Board interprets paragraphs (a) through (k) of this section as 
> consistent with the following priority 1 Checkpoints of the Web 
> Content Accessibility Guidelines 1.0 (WCAG 1.0) (May 5, 1999) 
> published by the Web Accessibility Initiative of the World Wide Web 
> Consortium:
>
>  (please view the following table in a monospaced font)
>
> Section 1194.22 Paragraph	WCAG 1.0 Checkpoint
>
> 	(a)				1.1
>
> 	(b)				1.4
>
> 	(c)				2.1
>
> 	(d)				6.1
>
> 	(e)				1.2
>
> 	(f)				9.1
>
> 	(g)				5.1
>
> 	(h)				5.2
>
> 	(i)				12.1
>
> 	(j)				7.1
>
> 	(k)				11.4
>
> 2. Paragraphs (l), (m), (n), (o), and (p) of this section are 
> different from WCAG 1.0.  Web pages that conform to WCAG 1.0, level A 
> (i.e., all priority 1 checkpoints) must also meet paragraphs (l), (m), 
> (n), (o), and (p) of this section to comply with this section."
>
> Larry (all comments are mine and may not represent views of my agency)
>
>> Good morning everyone,
>>
>> What are the differences between Sec. 508 and WAI guidelines?
>>
>> If I am WAI compliant am I also 508 compliant, or visa-versa?
>>
>> Thanks,
>>
>> Hy
>>
>> --------------------------------
>> Hy Cohen and Guide Dog, "Layla",
>> hy@miplet.com
>
>
> -- 
> Larry G. Hull                      Larry.G.Hull@nasa.gov
> Code 588                             * MIME Welcome *
> NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center       301/286-1768 (FAX)      
> Greenbelt, MD 20771                  <std disclaimer here>
> Accessibility Engineer and Lead, Technology Intelligence Center
>
>
--
Charles McCathieNevile           charles@sidar.org
Fundación SIDAR                       http://www.sidar.org
Received on Wednesday, 26 March 2003 16:51:21 GMT

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