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WCAG 2.0 - November draft - comments re. Terminology and Writing Style

From: Catherine Brys <c.brys@lib.gla.ac.uk>
Date: Mon, 10 Jan 2005 16:47:53 -0000
Message-ID: <185CACB1E3412746A381E4E026529BDCBC0A8F@exchange-l.lib.gla.ac.uk>
To: "'public-comments-wcag20@w3.org'" <public-comments-wcag20@w3.org>

[based on comments relating to the July draft and submitted originally as an
anonymous contributor on 23 Nov 04]
Disclaimer: The comments below represent the personal opinion of the sender;
they do not necessarily represent the University's viewpoint.

oo Terminology and Writing Style 
- I find the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0 very hard to read -
and I am familiar with version 1 of the guidelines. Hard to read in terms of
sentence and paragraph structure, choice of words and balance between
abstract and concrete/technical. If the final draft will be similar, I fear
that web accessibility will become less accessible to web authors, which
would be a real pity.

- Would it not be useful to take into account that a large number of readers
of the WCAG will not be English native speakers? Words such as
'perceivable', 'operable', etc. are hard to understand.

- Sometimes awkward and wordy phrases are used.
.. "Guideline 3.1 Ensure that the meaning of content can be determined." > I
would suggest 'Ensure that the meaning of content is clear'.
.. "Example 3: an informational site ensuring backward compatibility". 
.. "Guideline 1.3 Ensure that information, functionality, and structure are
separable from presentation." > suggestion '... can be separated from
....To ensure that their visitors who do not use these specific user agents
are still able to effectively use the site, a navigation mechanism that does
not depend on the interactive menu system they are using is presented to
user agents that do not support the newer technology." > I would suggest
rephrasing this sentence. 
.. "Level 1 Success Criteria for Guideline 2.2
.... the following is true for each time-out that is a function of the
.. "Level 3 Success Criteria for Guideline 2.2
... content has been designed in a way that timing is not designed..."

- The following is hard to understand:
"Level 3 Success Criteria for Guideline 2.2 
With the exception of real-time events, content has been designed in a way
that timing is not designed to be an essential part of the activity and any
time limits in the content would pass level 1, success criteria 1 for this

- Quite a lot of unclear terms are used which are then explained in the
glossary. This makes reading the guidelines hard. I would suggest using
words which are readily understandable and don't need a glossary explanation
if at all possible. 
.. Level 1 Success Criteria for Guideline 2.1
"functionality of the content"
.. "Guideline 2.1 Make all functionality operable via a keyboard or a
keyboard interface." 
.. Level 2 Success Criteria for Guideline 2.4
"single delivery unit"

It would be useful if at least the principles and guidelines could be read
without having to refer to the glossary all the time.

- Some unclear terms are not explained at all, nor can they be understood
from the context. 
.. Note on Level 1 Success Criteria for Guideline 2.1: 
"This includes author-provided accessibility features." > what means
'author-provided accessibility features'?
.. What is meant with 'adaptive strategies' (section User Needs)?
.. What means 'text coding' in Level 2 Success Criteria for Guideline 1.3?
What is the difference with mark-up?
.. 'content negotiation' in Conformance Claims

- Quite a lot of similar terms are used and  I wonder if readers can keep
track of the differences.
Apart from audio description (which I think is a clear term), the following
terms are used: caption, label, description, text alternative.

- Some sentences are unclear, e.g.:
"Who Benefits from Guideline 2.2
People with physical disabilities can access content that is updated often
in cases where content might not be processed and read before being
refreshed or when read out of order by an assistive technology or voice
browser." > are these the right verb tenses?

- The word 'alternate' is ambiguous. The first meaning which comes to mind
is 'Done or changed by turns, coming each after one of the other kind.'
Would 'alternative' not be less ambiguous?

Dr. Catherine M. Brys
Library Web Services Administrator
- Library Web Site Accessibility and Usability Project - 
Glasgow University Library, Hillhead Street, Glasgow, G12 8QE, Scotland, UK
e: c.brys [at] lib.gla.ac.uk
t: +44 (0)141 330 6748
w: www.lib.gla.ac.uk/accessible
Received on Monday, 10 January 2005 17:27:04 UTC

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