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WCAG 2.0 call for review

From: Bailey, Bruce <Bruce.Bailey@ed.gov>
Date: Wed, 21 Dec 2005 08:19:23 -0500
Message-ID: <CCDBDCBFA650F74AA88830D4BACDBAB50B2D4A8B@wdcrobe2m02.ed.gov>
To: "WCAG 2.0 Public Comments" <public-comments-wcag20@w3.org>

My comments are in reference to the Editor's Draft of 16 December 2005:

The content of this email does not necessarily reflect the views or policies of the U.S. Department of Education.

Per the call for review:

> 1. This draft represents a significant reorganization of the WCAG


> In general, is the new organization easier to understand?

Yes, the 23 November and 16 December drafts are an improvement over previous editions.

> Are success criteria at the right conformance level?

No, at least some extremely important success criteria are too low.

In particular any success criteria that maps closely to the Section 508 Electronic and Information Technology Accessibility Standards must be at level 1.

The most significant deviation in this regard is the lack of the requirement for captioning on live multimedia (1.2.3).  (The recent editor's draft deviates even further in proposing that transcripts be considered acceptable at level 1 for prerecorded multimedia.)

Success criteria 1.3.6 and 4.2.4 map to the 508 requirement for accessible forms.  4.1.3 is level 1, but it is not sufficient by itself.  1.3.6 should also needs to be at level 1.

The requirement for a logical reading order (1.3.5) is too low (level 3), should be level 1.

> Are success criteria accurately worded?  Are they understandable?

The success criteria are accurately worded, but their understandability leaves much to be desired.  In particular, the following terms are extremely confusing and should be removed from the language used to define success criteria:  authored unit, delivery unit, programmatically determined, analog time-dependent input.

> 2. This is the first publication of "Understanding WCAG 2.0."


> In general, does this document help you understand what
> WCAG 2.0 is, and how to use it?

Yes.  Very nice publication, but at about 150 pages in print, it is a little intimidating.  It is, however, an essential component to WCAG 2.0.

> Does this document adequately clarify each success criterion?

This document is quite valuable, but it is not complete.  Complete examples for non-HTML technologies are required before this question can be answered.  As a first (now second) draft, the direction is promising, and the demonstration of proof of concept is established.  

> If not, what additional clarification is needed?

Robust technology-specific examples must be provided for each success criterion.  Common failures (plural) must be identified by the working group.  Ideally, non-W3C technology examples would be provide for each.

The Understanding WCAG 2.0 document, despite being non-normative, is a fundamental component to WCAG 2.0.  So much so, that WCAG 2.0 cannot be judged without the Understanding document being complete.  There are some success criteria which are not readily understandable on their own, without referencing intent and examples.

>From the Requirements for WCAG 2.0

> Ensure that requirements may be applied across technologies.


> Ensure that the conformance requirements are clear.

Not achieved.  The success criteria are structured so they can be unambiguously judged as true or false.  However, the over reliance on "Terms for Device Independence" has resulted in requirements that are not always clear.  Even with the Understanding WCAG 2.0 document, the concepts of baseline and conformance claims are still not well explained.

> Ensure that the deliverables are easy to use.

Not achieved.  Success criteria checklist is straight forward to use.  It would be improved if a version available listed by levels were available.  Understanding WCAG 2.0 is well written, but not yet complete.  The usability of WCAG 2.0 is limited by the chosen phrasing (as noted elsewhere in this message).  Where WCAG 1.0 has been adopted into law, there is essentially only one level of conformance.  The usability of WCAG 2.0 would be dramatically improved if incorporated a single conformance level from the beginning.

> Write to a more diverse audience.

Not achieved.  Since WCAG 2.0 applies more broadly than WCAG 1.0, the impacted audience is larger.  However, the technical sophistication required for comprehending WCAG 2.0, as opposed to WCAG 1.0, limits the audience rather severely.

> Clearly identify who benefits from accessible content.


> Ensure that the revision is "backwards compatible".

Not achieved.  As noted above, the level 1 success criteria from WCAG 2.0 are not sufficiently compatible with the E&IT Accessibility Standards of 508.  There are also Priority 1 Checkpoints from WCAG 1.0 that are at level 2 or 3 in WCAG 2.0.
Received on Wednesday, 21 December 2005 13:20:42 UTC

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