W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > www-archive@w3.org > March 2009

accessibility as a first principle (was: Re: New Telcon Time: Vote!)

From: Gregory J. Rosmaita <oedipus@hicom.net>
Date: Fri, 6 Mar 2009 22:19:32 +0000
To: Doug Schepers <schepers@w3.org>
Cc: SVG IG List <public-svg-ig@w3.org>, janina@rednote.net, www-archive@w3.org
Message-Id: <20090306213722.M20256@hicom.net>
doug wrote:
> But you didn't need to pull out the umbrageous WCAG 2.0 stick to 
> beat me with...  simply pointing out that it wasn't accessible 
> would have sufficed.  Never attribute to malice that which is 
> adequately explained by stupidity (or ignorance).  We're all 
> overstretched, and sometimes we make mistakes.

i'm not sure i understand why citing WCAG 2.0 is "unfair" or "hitting
below the belt" -- WCAG compliance SHOULD, nay MUST (and that is an 
RFC2119 MUST), be part of the W3C's default publication rules and 
built-into the process of producing w3c documents and collaborative 
tools -- i commented on the recent proposed changes to the default w3c 
style sheet, but even if every one of my suggestions as regards w3c 
publication rules and accessibility are concerned are implemented, they 
won't really help anyone unless there is an accompanying "About This 
Document" section that describes in full what the stylistic conventions 
are -- for example, it is impossible for me to search for "red" text 
because i don't have any reason to believe that the text is anything 
particular color, but if i am pre-informed of the stylistic conventions, 
i can then set my assistive technology to notify me when it encounters 
the use of specific stylistic changes used to the modification status 
of a document...  i was able to communicate this to the maintainer of 
the w3c diff-marking tool, so that semantically meaningful elements, 
such as INS and DEL are used rather than simply by attaching style 
rules through use of the generic SPAN element -- the communication 
of meaning through presentational means alone, using SPAN to mark both 
deletions and insertions, rather than more specific, more appropriate 
markup was a clear violation of WCAG 1.0 and 2.0, but why, in 2008, 
should it still be necessary to point such basic elements of 
interoperability and accessibility to W3C staff?  separation of content 
from presentation is a fundamental principle of web standards and a 
building block for accessibility and internationalization, amongst 
others, but the use of CSS' visual pallette alone to reflect meaning is 
not much of an advance over using FONT in an attempt to hard-code one's 
stylistic presentation in order to convey a specific meaning...

i wasn't attempting to "shame" you into action or throw mud in your eye 
by citing WCAG -- there was no accusation of malice-afore-thought, and
THAT, it strikes me, is precisely the point which needed to be made -- 
if accessibility and device independence are NOT considered before a 
tool or publication rules are deployed, then the WAI and the W3C have 
failed in a crucial part of its mission -- to make the web usable by 
everyone, everywhere, no matter what modality they are using to interact
with the web...

i don't think it unreasonable to expect a standards setting organization 
to follow the guidelines it produces, one of which happens to be WCAG...
yes, we are all over-committed and all make mistakes, but device 
independence and accessibility should ALWAYS be taken into consideration 
BEFORE a tool or publication rule is implemented -- it should be second
nature to anyone working within the W3C to follow WCAG as closely as they
would any other W3C technical report -- the W3C frowns on releasing 
materials that will not validate on its own validator, so why should there
be a different standard when it comes to WCAG compliance?

i'm not asking these questions to be a self-righteous jerk, but because 
they are fundamental principles of web standards, and if  device 
independence and accessibility is NOT considered when deploying tools or
setting publication rules, then the W3C has learned very little 
from the hard work that has been conducted, and continues to be 
conducted, inside and outside of the Web Accessibility Initiative to 
make accessibility and device independence as important to authors 
and tool developers as is the holly grail of "validity"...

You cannot depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of
focus.                                           -- Mark Twain
Gregory J. Rosmaita: oedipus@hicom.net
   Camera Obscura: http://www.hicom.net/~oedipus/
          Oedipus' Online Complex: http://my.opera.com/oedipus
Received on Friday, 6 March 2009 22:21:27 UTC

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.3.1 : Wednesday, 7 January 2015 14:43:28 UTC