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RE: The Problem with WCAG (was RE: CSS Techniques for WCAG 2.0)

From: Mark Gristock <mark.gristock@jkd.co.uk>
Date: Fri, 20 Aug 2004 15:52:15 +0100
Message-ID: <48A3E2DA887CFF4EAE67985E90DAAEC8541C2F@exchangesvr-001.jkd.co.uk>
To: <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
There aren't any standards.

There are guidelines that help you achieve accessibility. There is no guide to building a website that will allow you to comply with all necessary requirements for successful communications, let alone accessibility, anymore than there's a book 'follow these steps and we guarantee you'll write a bestselling novel'.
 
The key to accessibility is understanding user requirements. The key to law suites is discrimination - i.e. someone is unable to use your website because you have made the decision not to make information or services available to them. If you can show that you have taken every 'reasonable' steps to be as inclusive as possible (for example, actually tested the site with a cross-section of users), then you are fine. If you can't, then you aren't. Saying you are WCAG compliant doesn't mean anything to users, and I don't think we want it to.
 
Building accessible websites is all about understanding how different users and technologies use/interact with the internet. But, in terms of accessibility, doing this without a thorough grounding in WCAG adds about a year to the development process.  The guidelines allow us to understand why we are recommended to do certain things, question them and then try and find different, better ways to achieve the same objective. 
 
If they are standards, then we are putting a big barrier up to future development and saying 'this is what the Internet is, and this is how it will stay'. But with guidelines we can ensure that each new development considers how to communicate with the widest possible audience from the beginning.
 
 
 -----Original Message-----
From: PRESTON Scott [mailto:SPreston1@covansys.com]
Sent: 20 August 2004 15:31
To: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
Subject: RE: The Problem with WCAG (was RE: CSS Techniques for WCAG 2.0)



Law suites are important to business, but you can't protect yourself against everything, you can only perform due diligence. If in court I can show that I took due diligence your law suite will fail.
 
The question here is what constitutes due diligence? A set of fuzzy, unquantifiable guidelines that are subject to interpretation do more to harm accessibility than they do to assist it. As clients will not understand what it means and then the standards will get ignored...
 
 

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Received on Friday, 20 August 2004 14:56:43 UTC

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