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Re: Exclusion of Visual Readers with Low Vision form WCAG 2.0 and the 508 Revise

From: David Woolley <forums@david-woolley.me.uk>
Date: Tue, 18 Oct 2011 22:42:43 +0100
Message-ID: <4E9DF2D3.6020601@david-woolley.me.uk>
To: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
Phill Jenkins wrote:

> * Stronger legislation and enforcement at the Federal and State levels, 
> both
> in the USA and in other countries around the world, directed at software
> vendors and content authors.

There is the question of legislation and of enforcement.

With regard to legislation, I believe the paper was arguing that the 
legislators were effectively using WCAG documents as the legislation, 
either by including it by reference, or by directly copying it.  I think 
the argument was that the legislation will only be as good as the WCAG 
guideline documents.

Whilst I think that section 508 is relatively prescriptive, UK 
legislation sets broad principles.  Something like WCAG then comes in in 
that you can mount a reasonable defence to a charge under the 
legislation if you have complied with some recognized standards, like WCAG.

With this sort of legislation, enforcement is always a problem.  Often 
governments don't put enough resources into enforcement, in some cases 
because they have introduced it for political reasons (happens a lot 
with EU legislation but also with health and safety), but they actually 
believe that it is bad for the economy.

In the UK it is a criminal offence to jam a fire door open, but it is 
very unlikely you will get prosecuted unless someone dies in a fire, so 
most people jam them open with impunity.  The legislation exists, but it 
is ineffective.

> * Better education directed at content authors to use appropriate 
> structural
> markup, and to have a cleaner separation of content and style (i.e. linked
> style-sheets rather than embedded or in-line style markup).

I think this will have very limited effect until the legislation gets 
teeth, as marketing documents, which is mostly what the web is, just 
aren't designed like that.

David Woolley
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Received on Tuesday, 18 October 2011 21:43:13 UTC

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