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WCAG 2.0 - A great disappointment

From: Andy Dingley <andy.dingley@talgentra.com>
Date: Fri, 26 May 2006 12:02:24 +0100
Message-ID: <5F25A273170A8E40B47E8C54BDC21F425413A3@exchange.tallyman.co.uk>
To: <public-comments-wcag20@w3.org>

Prompted, I admit, by http://www.alistapart.com/articles/tohellwithwcag2
I'm writing to express my disappointment with the WCAG 2.0 draft. The
content is uninspiring and I find the process to be little more than
railroading any public comment. Five years for the draft and a month to
comment? That's a rubber-stamp, not an opportunity.

As to the draft itself, then I find it almost worthless. It's as
worthless and irrelevant as WCAG 1 was.

I care deeply about web accessibility. As an "accessibility geek", I
also find myself in the frustrating position of knowing what to do, but
having repeated management pressure to do just the opposite.
Accessibility still isn't a real issue for commercial development and
it's leadership from the major bodies that's needed most, not developer
education. The information is already out there (Joe Clark, for
starters) and anyone who cares can easily be pointed towards it.

As this draft is though, it presents accessibility as an impossibility
complex matter that's about as dry as SGML parsing. There is no way I
can show this WCAG guideline to any sort of manager or commissioning
editor. It falls immediately into deathly dull technical issues couched
in impenetrable language and makes no real case to justify accessibility
as a worthy goal.  Even as a technical description for implementors it's
almost worthless.

These have always been the failings of the WCAG guidelines. The 1 -> 2
process though has been little more than an updating and tidying
exercise when the document itself required a ground-up re-write. Or more
usefully, throwing away and simply replacing wuith Joe Clark's
well-known boook that does a much better job of all of it!

I'm disappointed that the W3C has lent its name to this document. As a
counter-example I'm continually surprised by the quality of the HTML
Recommendation and the subtlety of some design choices I'm only just
realising the value of, even after using the DTD for years. It's a
paragon of _why_ a standards process driven by experts is such a great
thing, when it works.  The WCAG guidelines though are everything that's
bad about the output of standards bodies. Obscure, over-complex,
partial, irrelevant, and basically inaccessible.


I would like to see this draft abandoned and the process re-started --
then a new draft developed, from scratch (or possibly lifted wholesale
from the canonical ref I've already mentioned). This is a massive
change, but I see no possibility of turning the existing draft into
anything useful.

Andy Dingley
Received on Friday, 26 May 2006 20:06:47 UTC

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