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Re: Minority Opinion: UAAG 11.1 (Double-A Documentation)

From: Charles McCathieNevile <charles@w3.org>
Date: Thu, 19 Oct 2000 10:27:13 -0400 (EDT)
To: Janina Sajka <janina@afb.net>
cc: "Gregory J. Rosmaita" <unagi69@concentric.net>, User Agent Guidelines Emailing List <w3c-wai-ua@w3.org>
Message-ID: <Pine.LNX.4.21.0010191019300.10273-100000@tux.w3.org>
I agree that we should support the use of WCAG triple-A compliance. But I
would prefer to see triple-A compliance (particularly in the case of WCAG) as
a requirement for triple-A conformance to UAAG, or perhaps double-A
conformance, rather than a requirement for single-A conformance. 

A double-A compliant tool is not making any claim that it is particularly
good for people with disabilities to use, just that it is possible to be more
or less effective using it.

A level-A conformant tool doesn't even make the claim that it is possible to
use it effectively (in the sense that we think of somebody being able to do
things in a "reasonable" amount of time and with a reasonable amount of
effort). It just claims that it isn't made impossible.

My proposal is therefore to resolve this by adding a checkpoint at Priority
level 2 or 3 (according to how importantly the groups rates ease of
documentation use as a precondition of effective use of a tool), more or less
as follows:

 Ensure that at least one version of the product documentation conforms to 
 at least Level Triple-A of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 1.0 
 [WCAG10]. [Priority 2or3]

Charles McCN

On Thu, 19 Oct 2000, Janina Sajka wrote:

  I would agree with Gregory. But, I want to offer yet another reason.
  If triple a comploiance AAA, is meaningful, then it should be
  required. Surely, defining three levels of compliance was not an idle
  academic exercise. As Gregory notes, access to documentation is
  critical. So, if the WAI believes in its own work, it should support it by
  requiring that it be implemented.
  				Janina Sajka, Director
  				Technology Research & Development
  				Governmental Relations Group
  				American Foundation for the Blind (AFB)
  On Thu, 19 Oct 2000, Gregory J. Rosmaita wrote:
  > OBJECTION: WCAG Conformance Level Cited in UAAG Checkpoint 11.1 Too Low
  > The current checkpoint 11.1 (29 September 2000 Draft) reads,
  > Although I am encouraged that the WCAG conformance level defined as the 
  > minimum for satisfying this checkpoint has been raised from Level-A to 
  > Double-A, I still believe that Double-A conformance is, in this instance, 
  > manifestly insufficient, as documentation is the cornerstone of 
  > accessibility.  It should be incumbent upon UA developers to ensure that at 
  > least one version of the product documentation conforms to Level Triple-A 
  > of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines, as many of the most commonly 
  > used conventions utilized in software documentation (such as abbreviations 
  > and acronyms) are only accorded a Priority 3 in WCAG, but whose utility in 
  > deciphering documentation is indispensable.
  > There are several reasons for holding documentation to the highest 
  > standards possible.  Two of the most important are:
  > 1. When one runs assistive technology in conjunction with "mainstream" 
  > applications, one must constantly guard against potential conflicts between 
  > the two, not only in terms of shared hardware, but shared resources (such 
  > as dynamic link libraries). If the "mainstream" application changes a 
  > hardware setting or overwrites a shared resource, one's adaptive equipment 
  > may suddenly stop functioning, causing system crashes, loss of data, 
  > corruption of key files, damage to essential hardware, etc.
  > 2. For many demographic groups, the concept of "learning by perceiving" is 
  > utterly meaningless, because they are physically or cognitively incapable 
  > of obtaining the gestalt view of the application, the intuitiveness of 
  > which is the key to the success of the graphical user interface (as well as 
  > its greatest inherit deficits).
  > Therefore, while documentation and README files may not be widely used by 
  > the general populace (at least according to the prevailing wisdom, which is 
  > itself derived from the rhetorical question, "Who here reads documentation 
  > before running or loading a new application?"), both are considered 
  > essential components of any application by the quote disabled unquote user.
  > Unless a disabled user can be assured that he or she has access to a 
  > Triple-A compliant version of the complete documentation provided for the 
  > application, the product cannot be deemed "accessible".
  > Likewise, if a company fails to ensure that any online documentation, 
  > automatic update features, and download-and-install routines (1) follow the 
  > accessibility guidelines cited in the UAAG Techniques document, and (2) 
  > comply to the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines at a Triple-A level, 
  > that company's should not be allowed to claim conformance to the User Agent 
  > Accessibility Guidelines.
  > Furthermore, if a company makes a composite conformance claim, it has an 
  > obligation not only to ensure that the third-party applications--which, in 
  > conjunction with the user agent, comprise the subject of the conformance 
  > claim--comply with the UAAG themselves, but that any third party's web site 
  > (especially if it is necessary to download the third party helper 
  > application directly from its developer's web site); as well as any update 
  > routines; the installation procedure; first-run registration dialog boxes; 
  > and the accompanying and online documentation all be as thoroughly 
  > accessible as possible. (This extends to third-party installation 
  > applications/routines utilized by any "mainstream" user agent, as well, 
  > even if it is not cited as part of a composite conformance claim.) A 
  > composite claim can only be considered valid if all of the components of 
  > the composite conformance claim rise to the same level of 
  > accessibility--namely, that outlined both in the UAAG and the UAAG 
  > Techniques document, as well as the platform- and technology-specific 
  > guidelines cited in the UAAG Techniques document, hence my minority opinion.
  > Gregory J. Rosmaita
  > ------------------------------------------------
  > The optimist thinks that this is the best of all
  > possible worlds; the pessimist knows it is.
  > ------------------------------------------------
  > Gregory J. Rosmaita     <unagi69@concentric.net>
  >        Webmaster & Minister of Propaganda
  > The Visually Impaired Computer Users' Group of
  > the New York City Metropolitan Area (VICUG NYC)
  >       <http://www.hicom.net/~oedipus/vicug/>
  > ------------------------------------------------

Charles McCathieNevile    mailto:charles@w3.org    phone: +61 (0) 409 134 136
W3C Web Accessibility Initiative                      http://www.w3.org/WAI
Location: I-cubed, 110 Victoria Street, Carlton VIC 3053, Australia
September - November 2000: 
W3C INRIA, 2004 Route des Lucioles, BP 93, 06902 Sophia Antipolis Cedex, France
Received on Thursday, 19 October 2000 10:28:34 UTC

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