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Re: WCAG 2.0 Public Working Draft: Response to WG Response

From: Loretta Guarino Reid <lorettaguarino@google.com>
Date: Tue, 11 Dec 2007 15:47:06 -0800
Message-ID: <824e742c0712111547s8e0d463t95f61514b4b3b9c8@mail.gmail.com>
To: S.Vassallo@e-bility.com
Cc: public-comments-wcag20@w3.org

The definition of "conforming alternate version" includes the
requirement that the alternate page can be reached via an
accessibility supported mechanism, or that the user can only reach the
non-conforming version via the conforming version. So the path to the
conforming version must itself be accessible.

Some Web applications have no "main" version, but render a customized
version for each user. In these cases, which are becoming increasingly
common, accessibility requirements are one more axis for

We have found it very difficult to make "easy" a testable property. It
often depends on the varying skills, knowledge, and expectations of
the user, and may differ between static web pages and web
applications, and between pages that are visited frequently or


Loretta Guarino Reid, WCAG WG Co-Chair
Gregg Vanderheiden, WCAG WG Co-Chair
Michael Cooper, WCAG WG Staff Contact

On behalf of the WCAG Working Group

> > ----------------------------------------------------------
> > Comment 5: Clarification on Conformance Requirements for Alternative Content
> > Source: http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/public-comments-wcag20/2007Jun/0280.html
> > (Issue ID: 2110)
> > ----------------------------
> > Original Comment:
> > ----------------------------
> >
> > The option to accept an alternative accessible page has merit but is
> > also a significant weakness and I am nervous that this may be used by
> > some websites as a way to legitimately avoid any efforts involved in
> > making the primary content accessible. The legacy of "text only" links
> > as the accessibility solution to HTML 3.2 is only just being redressed
> > and WCAG 2.0 seems to open the possibility for this to start all over
> > again with a proliferation of "alternate" pages. This approach treats
> > people with disability as a separate audience, rather than
> > acknowledging them as part of the diversity in every audience (i.e.
> > children with disability, job seekers with disability, seniors with
> > disability, employer with disability).
> >
> > In its current form this requirement appears to make it acceptable for
> > software developers to release and re-release versions of their
> > product with no priority or time frame for including accessibility but
> > to still be used on accessible websites and have the status of
> > conforming to the level of the accessible alternate page.
> >
> > In a commercial world there are many competing demands for time and
> > resources with the result that accessibility is often seen as a lower
> > priority. Once it is acceptable for developers to publish alternate
> > content pages then championing mainstream accessibility becomes
> > harder, especially when this approach is endorsed by an international
> > body with the standing of the W3C. As such, I suspect accessibility
> > considerations will have less chance of competing with other important
> > business requirements.
> >
> > Similarly, once alternate pages are published there is little
> > incentive in the Guidelines for developers to make the main pages
> > accessible in the future and in practice (unless they are drawn from
> > single sourced content) alternate pages are infrequently, if ever,
> > updated. For example, there is no requirement (I could see) to make
> > the main web page accessible if it becomes possible to do this with
> > the software at a later date or for people to make it accessible if it
> > is possible but harder to implement using the software accessibility
> > properties. Currently "If the Web page does not meet all of the
> > success criteria for a specified level, then a mechanism to obtain an
> > alternate version that meets all of the success criteria can be
> > derived from the nonconforming content" is acceptable.
> >
> > Getting to the accessible content in an accessible way from an
> > inaccessible page is also an unresolved issue at present (as
> > documented in the WCAG 2.0 Editorial Note) and I'm wondering why the
> > focus is not on universal design with progressive enhancement for
> > inaccessible formats, starting with the accessible document as the
> > main/default page.
> >
> > Note: I have not had time to fully explore all the WCAG 2.0
> > documentation in the time available for comments, so please let me
> > know if this concern is already addressed. However, from my reading so
> > far it seems to be rather a big issue that is not yet satisfactorily
> > resolved  in that websites can claim conformance in principle while
> > not conforming in spirit to the Guidelines.
> >
> >
> >
> > Proposed Change:
> > This needs more thought than I've had time to give it at present, but
> > possible changes might include:
> >
> > * a statement to the effect that if it is possible for the main
> > content to be made accessible then an alternate page is not acceptable
> >
> > * making the most accessible page the main/default page with links to
> > or progressive enhancement of inaccessible content
> >
> > ---------------------------------------------
> > Response from Working Group:
> > ---------------------------------------------
> >
> > We have added a note to say "Alternate versions may be provided to
> > accommodate different technology environments or user groups. Each
> > version should be as conformant as possible. One version must be fully
> > conformant in order to meet conformance requirement 1."
> >
> --------------------------------
> Response to response
> --------------------------------
> Thanks, although the note does not seem to address the consideration of
> accessing the accessible alternative. It would be good to include this
> in the note, for example ...
> "Alternate versions may be provided to accommodate different technology
> environments or user groups. One version must be fully conformant in
> order to meet conformance requirement 1. Easy access to the accessible
> content in an accessible way and ahead of any inaccessible content is
> also required. Each version should be as conformant as possible."
Received on Tuesday, 11 December 2007 23:47:23 UTC

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