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Re: How do you deal with false claims of accessibility conformance?

From: Patrick H. Lauke <redux@splintered.co.uk>
Date: Sun, 03 Sep 2006 18:05:10 +0100
Message-ID: <44FB0B46.9000905@splintered.co.uk>
To: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org

Terry Dean wrote:

> The claim is that they conform to "most" of priority 1, implying that they
> donít conform 100% to priority 1.

Or it's their way to cover their back. On our work site, for instance, 
we never claim compliance, but only that we "strive to comply" to the 
guidelines "as interpreted by the web team".

Admittedly, though, priority 1 is not really ambiguous (compared to some 
P2 and P3 checkpoints) - apart from maybe "14.1 Use the clearest and 
simplest language appropriate for a site's content" (which leaves it up 
to the author/editor to decide what is appropriate) and "1.3 Until user 
agents can automatically read aloud the text equivalent of a visual 
track, provide an auditory description of the important information of 
the visual track of a multimedia presentation".

> Is there such a thing? Can you conform to
> most of priority 1 and be deemed to have an accessible page? I would have
> thought 100% means you do and anything less means you donít.

Again, priority 1 is fairly cut and dry - skipping any of the 
checkpoints would most likely result in a page that is inaccessible to a 
sizeable part of a site's audience. Once you move up the ladder to AA 
and AAA, though, it can sometimes (IMHO of course) get a bit nebulous, 
particularly when checkpoints are more ambiguous or dependent on "until 
user agents".

Even if a site claims to have achieved AAA, it can still be inaccessible 
to a certain small sub-section of your visitors...and conversely, a site 
that - for good reasons, hopefully - breaks/bends a certain checkpoint 
can still be accessible (I'm thinking of things like the problem with 
EMBED for Flash movies, which - last I read - was still the best way to 
include Flash while keeping it accessible to screen readers, but 
obviously breaks the "valid HTML" requirement in AA).

In short, in the real world it may not always necessarily be as cut and 
dry as "either you follow all checkpoints, or your site is inaccessible".

Patrick H. Lauke
re∑dux (adj.): brought back; returned. used postpositively
[latin : re-, re- + dux, leader; see duke.]
www.splintered.co.uk | www.photographia.co.uk
Web Standards Project (WaSP) Accessibility Task Force
Received on Sunday, 3 September 2006 17:05:28 UTC

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