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A Call to Reorganize WCAG 2.0

From: RUST Randal <RRust@COVANSYS.com>
Date: Mon, 23 Aug 2004 07:56:08 -0400
Message-ID: <1A729C6059E7CD4CA1DFE3985E6004210623AE04@fth-ex02.CVNS.corp.covansys.com>
To: "WAI" <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>

I just sent the following message to the Working Group. It is, in my
opinion, what will be necessary in order for WCAG Guidelines to gain
wider acceptance by making them more practical to understand, implement
and test.

-------------------------------------------

Based on several heated discussions that are currently going on over on
the WAI-IG list, and at the suggestion of David Pawson, I propose the
following:

    WCAG should be divided into Guidelines, which can 
    be measured and tested, and Suggested Best Practices, which 
    can only be tested by a person.

The Guidelines should deal strictly with W3C Technologies, so that
vendors can be left to ensuring the accessibility of proprietary
technologies such as Shockwave and PDF. Vendor technologies can then be
addressed in the Suggested Best Practices. Other items, such as clarity
of content, should also move out of Guidelines.

I propose this because WCAG Guidelines must be measurable and
quantifiable. There can be no gray areas, otherwise it makes it too
difficult to make a business case for accessibility. The measurable
Guidelines must work entirely in concert with other W3C publications,
such as HTML, XHTML, CSS and DOM. Moving outside of the W3C realm only
causes confustion, frustration and, ultimately, ignorance of
Accessibility Guidelines.

The average developer can easily grasp HTML validation and its results,
but cannot easily understand the results of a BOBBY test. Accessibility
testing always results in ambiguous results that are confusing in some
aspects. All too often, the final decision on accessibility is left up
to human judgement -- which may or may not be accurate.

In order for WCAG to gain greater acceptance, its Guidelines must be
quantifiable. Developers and designers must be able to validate their
pages and get clear-cut results, just like with HTML validation.

If WCAG 2.0 is open to interpretation, then the W3C will only be adding
to the difficulty of developing accessible Web sites, not making it
easier.

Thank you.

----------
Randal Rust
Covansys Corp.
Columbus, OH 
Received on Monday, 23 August 2004 11:56:34 UTC

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