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RE: examples of sites with good accessibility

From: John Foliot <foliot@wats.ca>
Date: Thu, 19 Oct 2006 15:22:08 -0700
To: "'Phill Jenkins'" <pjenkins@us.ibm.com>, <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Cc: <Anna.Yevsiyevich@kohls.com>
Message-ID: <012c01c6f3cd$073c37b0$428e40ab@Piglet>

Phill Jenkins wrote:
> Anna,
> be careful in how much faith you are putting in this list.  It's just
> that, people spending their "volunteer" time in responding.  It has
> taken years for the WCAG 2.0 working group to reach consensus to
> produce working drafts.  

And with due respect to the hard working people on the WCAG Working Group,
the "community" is having an even harder time agreeing with some of the
consensuses reached.  There is much concern over the failure to include
cognitive disabilities, there is a lot of confusion and suspicion about
"Baseline" (and the potential to use it as a mechanism to reach "technical"
compliance to a shifting standard, and still leave significant portions of
the user-base without access), and there was certainly a fair bit of
acrimony throughout the process
[http://www.alistapart.com/articles/tohellwithwcag2], that to a certain
extent remains today.  I do not think it would be inaccurate to state that
there were at times conflicting agendas at the table.

> Why do you think this list could reach
> consensus on example good sites?  

We may not know how to describe them, but we can tell when we've seen them.
Why do think list members cannot?
> When participating in some web competitions, where sites were
> submitted for  "judging" (see note 1 Knowbility) of their
> accessibility compliance, even 5 experienced judges with years of
> experience in accessibility, many of them having been part of the
> original WCAG 1.0 working group (see note 2),  had a hard time in
> reaching consensus on the particular sites being judged.  

No argument, but I don't think there will ever be a "perfect" site.  There
are however many good examples of sites that are trying hard to do it right,
that are succeeding at many levels, and are emerging as exemplars to both
applaud and emulate.  I had pointed out to Anna the "Site of the Month" over
at GAWDs [http://gawds.org/poll/index.php?showall=previous] as a place to
see peer judged sites... Again, never any perfect scores, but even at the
Olympics a 9.3 ain't shabby.

> The
> "judges" have reduced that gap by using a consistent methodology and
> consistent tools.  And now even have a better process in
> understanding each judges' position on an issue and why they were
> different that the other judges' position.  All these have reduced
> the differences of opinion, but there still remained some difference
> of opinion.           
> This list has had none of this "maturing" process, its just an
> interest list. 

Phill, I honestly think that this is an unfair statement.  

Contributors to this specific thread have included long-time members to this
list, including Chaals McCathieNevile (Opera Software's Standards Group, and
a past contributor to the WCAG WG), Mike Elledge and Glenda Sims (both
active and informed accessibility advocates from the world of academia),
Alastair Campbell (Nomensa), Bruce Bailey (WCAG WG), (and humbly) yours
truly.  Over just those 6 names I would venture to guess there is more than
35 years of combined knowledge and experience in this field. (Anna, you
actually pulled some heavy hitters.)  

All of the participants in this thread have stressed the need for subjective
analysis, and have clearly stated that much of this whole "accessibility"
thing is by it's very nature subjective.  And as the WCAG WG is aware (and
still struggling with) sometimes there is conflicting "best practices" -
what may improve access for one group will disadvantage another.  None of
this however should discredit the opinions offered to Anna as she seeks to
arm herself for the task at hand.  This "interest group" list, and the
participants noted above are certainly of the "mature" caliber, and to
suggest otherwise is unfair and borders on insulting.

Received on Thursday, 19 October 2006 22:31:04 UTC

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