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Re: We should fix this Re: Level AA exceptions

From: David MacDonald <david100@sympatico.ca>
Date: Mon, 17 Aug 2015 09:40:24 -0400
Message-ID: <BLU436-SMTP2067CCD684E6F23E95E0AC8FE790@phx.gbl>
To: Wayne Dick <wayneedick@gmail.com>
CC: Chaals McCathie Nevile <chaals@yandex-team.ru>, Phill Jenkins <pjenkins@us.ibm.com>, GLWAI Guidelines WG org <w3c-wai-gl@w3.org>, IG - WAI Interest Group List list <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
PS when I talk about where to put things in levels etc... I'm talking about
as we move forward with extensions, nt about WCAG 2 core, which is stable.


David MacDonald

*Can**Adapt* *Solutions Inc.*

Tel:  613.235.4902

LinkedIn <http://www.linkedin.com/in/davidmacdonald100>


*  Adapting the web to all users*
*            Including those with disabilities*

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On Sun, Aug 16, 2015 at 8:02 AM, David MacDonald <david100@sympatico.ca>

> In my experience, the reason we went from the priority system in WCAG 1 to
> the Level A, AA, AAA in WCAG 2 was because WCAG 1 was highly criticized for
> giving the perception of prioritizing one disability over another.
> In my memory, at the time of WCAG2, blindness gaps were easier to test,
> measure and correct than many other disabilities. Barriers for the blind
> were brick walls, and the things that helped the blind also helped many
> other disabilities (Keyboard access, text alternatives etc,
> programmatically associated labels etc...), and so there is a leaning on
> those at Level A.
> It's a very difficult thing to document rationale for every decision
> without risking a political minefield of appearing to prioritize one
> disability over another, but I think we may have to do it going forward ...
>  however, we need to realize that doing so will slow our process down
> because there will be very heated discussions in order to get consensus on
> (1) rationale (2) what to put in (3) where to put things. Consensus is a
> very delicate and difficult thing and if there is a miracle in the WCAG 2
> it is that we achieved consensus, without one formal objection.
> Each of us had things we would have liked to see different. For me, I
> wrote most of 1.4.8 which I wish had been placed at Level AA. For others in
> the group, they had things they wanted.
> But we all put our own personal agenda's AFTER the greater group
> consensus. I'm grateful to have been involved in the consensus process,
> without which, WCAG would never have gotten off the ground and included in
> laws around the world.
> It was certainly not perfect, but so far I haven't seen a better process
> proposed. I'm hoping with all these ideas we can improve the process, and
> still reach the illusive and critical goal of consensus, so that the
> outside world can have confidence in our recommendations.
> Cheers,
> David MacDonald
> *Can**Adapt* *Solutions Inc.*
> Tel:  613.235.4902
> LinkedIn <http://www.linkedin.com/in/davidmacdonald100>
> www.Can-Adapt.com
> *  Adapting the web to all users*
> *            Including those with disabilities*
> If you are not the intended recipient, please review our privacy policy
> <http://www.davidmacd.com/disclaimer.html>
> On Sat, Aug 15, 2015 at 3:24 PM, Wayne Dick <wayneedick@gmail.com> wrote:
>> In response to Phill. Perhaps, and I am really not sure. if a final
>> normative statement of the rationale for classification should not be
>> published with a WCAG extension. I realize it is process not guideline, but
>> it is so essential to the credibility of the process it should be included
>> as a formal glossary term that gives clear criteria. That is for example: A
>> criterion is classified Level A if there is an identifiable class of people
>> with disabilities who cannot use a website if the criterion is not met.  A
>> criterion is classified as Level AA if there is an identifiable class of
>> people with disabilities can use the site but only with severe difficulty
>> if the criterion is not met. A criterion is Level AAA if the site is usable
>> by all disabilities identified by WCAG, but it will provide equal effectove
>> access for some identified class of people with disabilities.
>> The concept of accessibility is independent of feasibility of
>> implementation.  Standard print on paper is inaccessible almost all
>> disabilities stemming from visual impairment.   It may not be feasible to
>> produce large print or braille versions of all publications, but the lack
>> of feasibility does not create a situation in which standard print could be
>> interpreted as accessible.
>> I was clear that I was referring to American law when mentioned the
>> concepts of fundamental alteration and undue burden, concepts I understand
>> quite well from managing the accessibility initiative for a 23 campus,
>> 450,000 student system. It appears that WCAG WG employed similar concepts
>> when classifying success criteria as Level A, Level AA and Level AAA, but
>> there was never a written justification of the decision process.  That is a
>> credibility gap, and it is serious.
>> When did feasibility trump accessibility in classifying criteria and
>> why?  It is clear this was done, but there is no well defined process.
>> I actually felt included in the WCAG 2.0 process, and I contributed many
>> suggestions that were adopted.  I am getting tired of people who
>> participated in writing WCAG WG explaining what they really meant.  The
>> normative language should stand alone without interpretation from the
>> authors.  That is why in actual law there is a judiciary that interprets
>> law independent of the original authors.
>> One of the deep flaws in the WCAG process is the exceptional
>> defensiveness of the authors, and WCAG WG taking ownership of every minute
>> detail of interpretation. If we succeed in extending to WCAG 2.0, I
>> sincerely hope that we can be open to interpretations that may differ from
>> our original vision.  Guidelines only live as long as they are open to
>> reinterpretation to reflect changed realities and new discoveries.  I don't
>> see this happening with the current WCAG 2.0. I think it is harming W3C
>> leadership in the area of accessibility.
>> Wayne
>> On Sat, Aug 15, 2015 at 12:00 AM, Chaals McCathie Nevile <
>> chaals@yandex-team.ru> wrote:
>>> TL;DR: Multiple factors for giving success criteria a level, without
>>> documenting the decision rationale, causes a problem. We should fix that.
>>> I suggest that part of the long-term fix (which would be WCAG 3, rather
>>> than an edited version of WCAG 2 which may or may not be worth doing
>>> meanwhile) is to reduce the number of factors.
>>> More details after the recap of discussion…
>>> On Fri, 14 Aug 2015 21:39:52 +0200, Katie Haritos-Shea GMAIL
>>> <ryladog@gmail.com> wrote:
>>> From: Phill Jenkins [mailto:pjenkins@us.ibm.com]Sent: Friday, August 14,
>>> Gregg Vanderheiden wrote:
>>>> […setting level decided on a balance of factors including how important
>>> something is, whether it can be applied to all sites, and how hard that is…
>>> it is not true that all essential requirements are level A, and level AA
>>> requirements can be considered strictly less important…]
>>>> Hope this helps
>>>> Sure, but mostly what I already posted.  What's missing is the
>>>>> documented rationale for why an individual particular SC is considered
>>>>> Level AA.  We have all the "possible" factors, being 'Essential" was indeed
>>>>> one of the factors, But we don't have documented which of the many possible
>>>>> factors were considered for this particular SC. Yes we know in general that
>>>>> all these factors may have been considered for all the SC.  but, For
>>>>> example, again,
>>>>>       Why was SC 1.4.3 Contrast Minimum assigned AA?
>>> KHS: I do not recall why this was delegated to AA.
>>>       Why was SC 2.4.7 Focus Visible assigned AA?
>>> KHS: It is my recollection that this SC was placed at Level AAbecause of
>>>> the default browser behavior (I am one who lobbied for
>>>> it to be at Level A) – as you suggest Phill.
>>> Many feel it is essential, but mostly handled by the browser, is that
>>>>> why?  where is that written?
>>> KHS: I suspect you could find it in the minutes, I am not sure it
>>>> was officially documented other than meeting minutes.
>>> ...
>>>> Again, is having a synopsis of the rationale for why each individual
>>>>> particular SC was assigned Level AA of value to everyone on this list?
>>> KHS: All I can say is it made sense via consensus to the group of people
>>>> who were active in the Working Group – and those who provided review and
>>>> feedback – at that time in history based on the technology as we knew it
>>>> then.
>>> I think this last statement is an accurate summary of how we got to
>>> where we are.
>>> This was done about a decade ago, and the Web has changed.
>>> We have (and I believe will always have) a hard time getting enough
>>> knowledge into the group - particular issues seem to be that we lacked
>>> sufficient strength in dealing with various "cognitive accessibility"
>>> issues, some low vision issues, we certainly have a strong bias towards
>>> english-speaking countries and their most familiar neighbours, and so on.
>>> And a decade after the people in the room made their best effort, others
>>> are trying to use that work, with its known and unknown but mostly unstated
>>> weaknesses, to build requirements.
>>> For those people - whether they are governments writing regulations as
>>> in Section 508, or companies producing internal policies for their
>>> developers (which is more relevant to my case), understanding the
>>> importance of a given success criteria to people with disabilities is
>>> critical.
>>> Knowing what a group of people thought ten years ago about how
>>> applicable this was to websites in general, is almost irrelevant except to
>>> understand why something seems to have a "lower priority" level than it
>>> "should".
>>> In the same way, knowing what we thought ten years ago about how hard
>>> something is doesn't have a lot of direct relevance to what should be
>>> required in a given situation now. Different users basing requirements on
>>> WCAG will have very different approaches to what is a "reasonable effort",
>>> and in any case there are genuinely different technologies and solutions
>>> available now.
>>> It would be very valuable to document for WCAG how important each
>>> success criterion is to whom (sometimes there are different levels of
>>> importance for different user groups, as Gregg already noted).
>>> The WCAG working group *should* do that work - it is one of the most
>>> important ways that WAI can help policy-makers at all levels, who are one
>>> key audience of our work.
>>> WCAG 2.0 has not been updated for a long time, and it seems that pattern
>>> will continue (it was the same for WCAG 1). Providing some guidance for
>>> people to decide where to focus their efforts first is valuable. I think an
>>> important lesson is that we need to explain very clearly why each
>>> requirement is there and how it got assigned a particular "level", so
>>> people making downstream decisions 7 years later can judge whether they are
>>> adopting something important, something that got overtaken by technology
>>> development, or what…
>>> cheers
>>> Chaals
>>> --
>>> Charles McCathie Nevile - web standards - CTO Office, Yandex
>>>    chaals@yandex-team.ru - - - Find more at http://yandex.com
Received on Monday, 17 August 2015 13:40:57 UTC

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