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Re: Who needs what Re: A Call to Reorganize WCAG 2.0

From: david poehlman <david.poehlman@handsontechnologeyes.com>
Date: Wed, 25 Aug 2004 08:23:05 -0400
Message-ID: <009401c48a9e$482533c0$6401a8c0@DAVIDPC>
To: "RUST Randal" <RRust@COVANSYS.com>, <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>

perhaps we need a word other than accessibility or usability to define what
we are aiming at, but it is clear to me in any event that in the case of
providing the functionality required and stated in the guidelines, that we
need both.

Since there are in fact, many examples now of different types of sites that
are usable by people with disabilities and assistive technologies, the
defense of confusion in court may be nullified.

Johnnie Apple Seed

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "RUST Randal" <RRust@COVANSYS.com>
To: <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Sent: Wednesday, August 25, 2004 8:04 AM
Subject: RE: Who needs what Re: A Call to Reorganize WCAG 2.0

Alastair Campbell wrote:

> Can machine testable rules predict the performance of users
> accomplishing tasks on a web site?

In my mind, you are talking about usability, not accessibility.
Accessibility means that the content and function of a web page can be
accessed by all users. Usability deals with performance of the
functionality of a web page when acted upon by a user.

> Randal RUST  wrote:
>  > Accessibility has as much to do with logically and
> correctly  > structuring a web page as anything.
> And this is machine testable?

At a low level, this is part of what HTML validation does.

> By all means categorise checkpoints into things that can be tested
> automatically, and things that need human interpretation. However, we
> should not get rid of the human element.

I agree. I do think that the human element is important, but that those
decisions should be left up to the designer or developer. WCAG should
provide suggestions in this area, but not Guidelines. The Guidelines
should deal strictly with keeping the use of W3C technologies

> Accessibility does tend to have some things that are easy to check
> automatically, and tools can be a great help in catching
> certain issues.
> But tools should be just that, a useful thing to help
> development. Tools
> can't be the final 'test'.

If WCAG continues to be ambiguous, it will only serve to cause further
confusion over accessibiliy. If the recent ruling in New York starts the
ball rolling, there will be more lawsuits over accessibility and web
sites. People will look to WCAG as the predecessor for all other
accessibility rules and see that the they are not clear. Lawyers for the
defense will make the case that a web site cannot possibly follow a set
of outdated, confusing guidelines. And they will win on that. In
essence, the very guidelines that have been developed to promote
accessibility will hinder the movement.

Is this a guess? Of course. But in the United States, lawyers live for
finding loopholes in the rules.

> Having best practices is an essential part of writing the
> best possible
> guidelines. Perhaps this involves re-writing the bridge or techniques
> documents rather than the technology-agnostic guidelines?

Why not make the bridge techniques the Guidelines? They deal strictly
with the W3C technologies, and that would fit everything together very

Randal Rust
Covansys Corp.
Columbus, OH
Received on Wednesday, 25 August 2004 12:22:30 UTC

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