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RE: Using em or percent for properties that need to change

From: John Foliot - WATS.ca <foliot@wats.ca>
Date: Thu, 19 Aug 2004 11:39:13 -0400
To: "'Marcello Testi'" <cinemah@yahoo.it>, "W3c-Wai-Ig" <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Message-ID: <001a01c48602$af1349f0$6601a8c0@bosshog>

Marcello Testi wrote:
> Il giorno 17/ago/04, alle 18:23, John Foliot - WATS.ca ha scritto:
>> Andy, there are 2 issues here: 1) all of the Guidelines are just
>> that, guidelines.  As such they are subject to interpretation; they
>> were never written in the language of Standards, which leave no room
>> for discussion or debate.
> There's a small glitch in your argument: my country and even
> the EU are
> linking the "guidelines" to laws and other normative documents. That
> means trouble, if you stick to your guidelines definition.
> Ciao.
> Marcello.

Marcello, perhaps you misunderstood my point... I am saying exactly what
you observed - we have a serious problem because governments are taking
"Guidelines" and attempting to make them "Standards", without looking at
the language of the Guideline(s).  This is one of the primary reasons
why the US government has Section 508... They (rightly) observed that
some of the checkpoints in the WCAG Priority 1 listing were too
subjective (best example is "flicker" [7.1 Until user agents allow users
to control flickering, avoid causing the screen to flicker.], where
Section 508 defines the flicker rate: [(j) Pages shall be designed to
avoid causing the screen to flicker with a frequency greater than 2 Hz
and lower than 55 Hz.])

Canada has made WCAG Priority 1 and 2 a federally mandated minimum for
all government of Canada web sites (since 2001).  The fact that there is
no enforcement makes it a bit of a joke, but it is a very real problem.

I am not arguing that the Guidelines should be Standards, but rather,
that the Standards writers not be so lazy as to simply "accept"
guidelines as standards, which is what is currently happening.

Marcello, as many of the current threads at the WAI-IG have clearly
indicated, there is a need for some form of standardization, there is no
argument. But it is also true that accessibility is an interpretive
exercise, with very real differences of opinion on what constitutes
accessible.  Hopefully the WCAG 2 "test suites" will help define, or at
least in a very real sense allow testers a best practices benchmark, to
assert a certain level of compliance.  I also believe that EARL will
play a significant role in bringing a certain level of authority to the
subject. (see:

But at the end of the day, unfortunately, it may come down to a
community based "acceptable minimum", much like other laws and community
standards (I'm thinking of things like public nudity, marijuana
legalization, etc.)

John Foliot  foliot@wats.ca
Web Accessibility Specialist / Co-founder of WATS.ca
Web Accessibility Testing and Services
http://www.wats.ca   1.866.932.4878 (North America) 
Received on Thursday, 19 August 2004 15:39:19 UTC

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