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Re: Legal status of WCAG -and back to Who needs what ...

From: Charles McCathieNevile <charles@sidar.org>
Date: Fri, 27 Aug 2004 02:33:34 +0300
To: "Harry Loots" <harry@ikhaya.com>, w3c-wai-ig@w3.org, "RUST Randal" <RRust@covansys.com>
Message-ID: <opsdc7t80yw5l938@localhost>

On Thu, 26 Aug 2004 09:15:31 +0100, Harry Loots <harry@ikhaya.com> wrote:

> thanks, prof, i'll do just that if i ever need to - especially as it  
> would
> appear that we both attended the same class on legal procedure: TV Court  
> Room Drama 101....

Err, not quite.

> As a matter of interest, i would be surprised if Australia (and Canada)  
> did not use the same law as the UK; seeing as both are members of the  
> Commonwealth - it's called the Disability Discrimination Act of 1995  
> (DDA).

Australian and English law began diverging whne Australia was a few  
colonies in the 19th century - A late example of the divergence was giving  
women the vote towards the end of the 1800's (in which New Zealand was  
actually the leader as a country - it only happened in one of the  
Australian colonies). When Australia federated as a commonnwealth in 1901  
it was no longer bound by english law, and the abolition of appeals to the  
privy council in the early 90's just about completed the process. English  
law made after 1950 is no more relevant to Australia than American or  
Ugandan law.

On the other hand we have a disability discrimination act too. I think it  
is from the early 90's.

> The real question however is not about legal procedure and who uses  
> what, but whether a set of guidelines can be produced that will enable  
> me, as an
> engineer, to design and produce a web site that will be accessible by  
> all.


> With WCAG 1, if we ignore verbosity, this was a reasonably easy task.  
> With WCAG 2, and its ambiguity this would be impossible.

Ah, I think that depends on how the drafts develop to give rise tothe  
final version of WCAG 2. (For those who haven't seen them, let me admit  
that some of the things we talked about when drafting WCAG 1 would  
probably have given rise to the same complaints we're seeing here).

To continue in a positive direction (hopefully leading to constructive  
input to the WCAG group) would it help if the technology-specific  
checklists (how to interpret WCAG 2's general principles for a given  
technology such as HTML & CSS) were a formal part of the spec?

It seems to me that stating the general principles is important. That way,  
someone can look at what they are doing in flash, and figure out what they  
need to (be able to) do. Certainly I have had to work out how to apply  
WCAG 1 to flash, and it turns out not to involve anything as complex as  
rocket science. (Roccket scientists I know tend to claim their work is  
simple for an intelligent person, but I'm not convinced).

But I also think that if the WCAG group were producing more detailed  
interpretations for some common and familiar technoogy like (X)HTML/CSS,  
people who just wanted to build websites would have an easier time knowing  
if they were doing the right thing.

Don't forget teh work on techniques - explaining how to do stuff. I am not  
convinced the working group has found the right way to make it clear how  
to work out what to do, but they have produced a useful body of  
information. If only I were a librarian I might have a better idea how to  
connect its audience to it.

my 2 centavos


Charles McCathieNevile         charles@sidar.org
FundaciĆ³n Sidar             http://www.sidar.org
Received on Friday, 27 August 2004 00:34:28 UTC

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