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RE: WCAG 2.1

From: Phill Jenkins <pjenkins@us.ibm.com>
Date: Wed, 21 Sep 2016 12:33:52 -0500
To: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
Message-Id: <OF73EFC3E0.EB023217-ON86258035.0050EEF1-86258035.00607C72@notes.na.collabserv.com>
I do not support of the use of phrases such as "raising" or "lowering 
importance" or making a success criterion "more" or "less important". 
There is a misunderstanding out there about the levels (or its just a 
misunderstanding in using English to describe things or me in 
understanding things).  Saying that it is important today or more 
important tomorrow to conform with the success criteria is a very 
different concept in my mind that saying that level A success criterion is 
more important to this end user than a level triple A success criterion is 
to that other user. Remember that it is the web content accessibility 
guidelines WCAG , not the end user experience guidelines.  In my opinion 
all the success criterion are important, period.  Level A and double A and 
triple A are not about importance, they are about if and when they apply 
to the web content (vs the browser or AT) and to whom do they benefit. One 
of the questions that the working group asked themselves when assigning a 
level to the success criterion was the following: Does it apply: 
        to all the content all the time?
        to all web sites all the time?
        for all audiences all the time?
Another questions that was asked was about whether it is best solved by 
the user agent (browser and/or AT) or whether it is best solved by or in 
the web content by the web designer and developers. You can read a wide 
range of interacting issues that the working group consider in 
Understanding Levels of Conformance.

Conformance with triple AAA is not better or more accessibility, it is 
more responsibility on the author more of the time because its more 
applicability.  The notion of "higher levels" (not higher importance) of 
conformance comes from that concept that meeting triple AAA requires 
passing more, all 65 success criteria, while double AA conformance means 
passing fewer only 38 success criteria. Level A is the lowest level, 
meaning it only requires meeting 25 success criteria.  Even the normative 
WCAG standards says: 
"Conformance  This section is normative. . . . Note 2: It is not 
recommended that Level AAA conformance be required as a general policy for 
entire sites because it is not possible to satisfy all Level AAA Success 
Criteria for some content."  

Also, because of conflicts I never recommend requiring many of the Level 
AAA success criterion all the time on all web content for all users.  Here 
are 3 examples: 
Conforming to 1.4.6 Contrast (Enhanced) Level AAA creates a very high 
contrast site that is distracting and "striking" for some (many?) users. "
The contrast ratio of 7:1 was chosen for level AAA because it compensated 
for the loss in contrast sensitivity [by some]...users... People with more 
than [20/80 vision] usually use assistive technologies to access their 
content (and the assistive technologies usually have contrast enhancing, 
as well as magnification capability built into them). The 7:1 level 
therefore generally provides compensation for [some users] who do not 
[have their] assistive technology. . . ". Therefore, in my opinion, 
requiring 7:1 contrast level all the time on all content is akin to 
requiring a one size fits all contrast setting that is not in harmony with 
the principles of web accessibility and a one size fits one through 
transformation technologies in the browsers and AT, not provided by the 
web site owner.
Conforming to 1.4.9 Images of Text (No Exception) Level AAA:  would also 
require no logos, no images of text, no exceptions.  I'm sure SVG is 
making progress and being adopted in many places, but I do not think we 
are at a point yet that we can require 1.4.9 on all web sites all the 
time, hence that is at least one reason it is level AAA. From a cognitive 
disability perspective, logos help with branding recognition of which 
website the user is on.  I would never recommend an "East Berlin" look (if 
you ever visited East Berlin before the wall came down you would know what 
I mean) for all websites.  However, it could make sense to require this 
level AAA criterion in some limited cases, for a controlled set of users, 
such as a set of AT training pages, hence its level AAA.  But I do not 
believe sighted users with some cognitive disabilities or aging users 
would ever benefit.  Most of us are thinking, isn't that the role of the 
assistive technology, screen readers, etc, for most web sites and the 
answer is of course, hence level AAA.
Conforming to 2.4.10 Section Headings Level AAA:   would require section 
headings, "This provision is included at Level AAA because it cannot be 
applied to all types of content and it may not always be possible to 
insert headings. For example, when posting a pre-existing document to the 
Web, headings that an author did not include in the original document 
cannot be inserted. Or, a long letter would often cover different topics, 
but putting headings into a letter would change the letter. However, if a 
document can be broken up into sections with headings, it facilitates both 
understanding and navigation".  So you see, in my opinion, section 
headings are very important to some users for better comprehension, easier 
understanding, etc.  Its level AAA in my opinion also because of the 
difficulty of applying it all the time by the web owner.  New 
simplification and summarization technology is emerging, but we would not 
want to necessarily change the original content all the time in all cases 
- hence it would remain a level AAA.

So, moving a success criteria from level A to double A is not necessarily 
increasing the importance or benefit to all end users any more than moving 
it from level AA to single A is not lowering the importance or benefit to 
all end users.   However, moving a success criteria from double AA to 
single A (or adding a success criteria to level A) *is* about increasing 
the amount of responsibility and work onto the web content owner and 
increasing its applicability by requiring the criterion to be applied to 
all (or more) content, for all (or more) web sites and to all (or more) 
audiences all (or more) of the time.  Remember that it is the web content 
accessibility guidelines WCAG , not the end user experience guidelines. 
WCAG conformance is about whether the web content conforms to the standard 
by passing the testable success criteria.  Browsers, AT, and end users 
settings are all still part of the equation.  There are also
standards for the browser, called the User Agent Accessibility Guidelines 
UAAG, that  browsers should conform to.  See the discussion on essential 
components for more background. 
Please, lets stop the misunderstanding that WCAG conformance is the end 
all and that the levels are about importance. 

Essential Components of Web Accessibility:  

WCAG 2.0: Conformance Requirements 

Understanding WCAG: Understanding Levels of Conformance 

Phill Jenkins, 
IBM Research - IBM Accessibility

From:   Jonathan Avila <jon.avila@ssbbartgroup.com>
To:     "w3c-wai-ig@w3.org" <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Date:   09/21/2016 08:21 AM
Subject:        RE: WCAG 2.0

  So you mean in WCAG2.1 some provisions will be raised from  AA to AAA 
or   A to AA?
It is my personal understanding that the importance of success criteria in 
WCAG 2.1 cannot be made less important.  So an A would not go to AA.  WCAG 
2.1 by its definition must ensure that if something passes WCAG 2.1 at a 
given level it would also pass WCAG 2 at the same level.
What is a possibility is that a success criteria might get more important. 
 So a level WCAG 2 AAA criteria might become WCAG 2.1 AA or a WCAG 2 level 
AA might become WCAG 2.1 level A.
Jonathan Avila
Chief Accessibility Officer
703.637.8957 (Office)
Visit us online: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Linkedin | Blog
Check out our Digital Accessibility Webinars!
From: Balusani, Shirisha [mailto:sirib@uillinois.edu] 
Sent: Wednesday, September 21, 2016 8:58 AM
To: Gregg Vanderheiden; w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
Subject: RE: WCAG 2.0
         Level A: For Level A conformance (the minimum level of 
conformance), the Web page satisfies all the Level A Success Criteria, or 
a conforming alternate version is provided. 
         Level AA: For Level AA conformance, the Web page satisfies all 
the Level A and Level AA Success Criteria, or a Level AA conforming 
alternate version is provided. 
         Level AAA: For Level AAA conformance, the Web page satisfies all 
the Level A, Level AA and Level AAA Success Criteria, or a Level AAA 
conforming alternate version is provided. 
So you mean in WCAG2.1 some provisions will be raised from  AA to AAA   or 
  A to AA?
From: Gregg Vanderheiden [mailto:gregg@raisingthefloor.org] 
Sent: Tuesday, September 20, 2016 11:54 PM
To: Balusani, Shirisha <sirib@uillinois.edu>
Subject: Re: WCAG 2.0
You cannot change a normative part of a standard after it has been issued. 

There has been some discussion of a new  WCAG 2.1 ? and some discussion in 
that about raising some of the provisions from AA to A   or AAA to AA 
but going from AA to AAA would be lowering an SC?s level 

On Sep 20, 2016, at 10:59 PM, Balusani, Shirisha <sirib@uillinois.edu> 
Hi All,
I?m curious to know if the WCAG 2.0's  success level criteria  will be 
raised from AA to AAA in near future .
Received on Wednesday, 21 September 2016 17:34:30 UTC

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