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Re: Media Accessibility Discussion (Was RE: Adopting the media accessibility requirements))

From: Geoff Freed <geoff_freed@wgbh.org>
Date: Mon, 1 Nov 2010 10:47:18 -0400
To: "public-html@w3.org" <public-html@w3.org>, HTML Accessibility Task Force <public-html-a11y@w3.org>
Message-ID: <C8F44B36.12714%geoff_freed@wgbh.org>

i'd like to attend as well.  best times for me are 10:00am-2:00pm tuesday nov. 2, or 12:30pm-3:30pm thursday nov 4.

geoff freed

On 11/1/10 6:02 AM, "Sean Hayes" <Sean.Hayes@microsoft.com> wrote:

Either works for me.  Preferably between 11am and 5pm UK time.

-----Original Message-----
From: public-html-a11y-request@w3.org [mailto:public-html-a11y-request@w3.org] On Behalf Of Frank Olivier
Sent: 01 November 2010 08:40
To: John Foliot; 'Aryeh Gregor'; 'Philip Jägenstedt'
Cc: public-html@w3.org; 'HTML Accessibility Task Force'
Subject: Media Accessibility Discussion (Was RE: Adopting the media accessibility requirements))

(Sending mail on behalf of Janina, who is unable to send mail at the moment due to IPv6 issues)

P&F is interested in setting up a time for a media accessibility discussion that all interested parties can attend/call in to; Tuesday (November 2nd) or Thursday (November 4th) are the two best days for the TPAC attendees to do this. Which days/times work best for other participants that are not in Lyon?

Frank Olivier

-----Original Message-----
From: public-html-a11y-request@w3.org [mailto:public-html-a11y-request@w3.org] On Behalf Of John Foliot
Sent: Friday, October 29, 2010 2:16 AM
To: 'Aryeh Gregor'; 'Philip Jägenstedt'
Cc: public-html@w3.org; 'HTML Accessibility Task Force'
Subject: RE: Adopting the media accessibility requirements

Aryeh Gregor wrote:
> On Thu, Oct 28, 2010 at 10:03 AM, Philip Jägenstedt
> <philipj@opera.com>
> wrote:
> > Since the two groups involved here (browser implementors and
> > accessibility experts) have obvious issues communicating with each
> other, it
> > would be helpful if we were all involved in the discussions as they
> happen,
> > rather than communicating via requirements lists.
> I agree with this general point.  It seems like right now, task forces
> are formed, discuss things amongst themselves at length, and only at
> the very end present their findings to implementers and spec editors.

Aryeh, you are more than welcome (nay, encouraged) to participate in the Accessibility Task Force, and specifically on this topic of media user requirements.  As the co-chair of the media sub-team I have consistently and regularly asked for feedback from the larger group about this document, with very few people actually bothering to respond.

See for example:

"...huge need to get this done for yesterday -- media subteam committed to knuckle down, but need specific feedback from non-subteam members ... even if only have 15 minutes, please consult http://www.w3.org/WAI/PF/HTML/wiki/Media_Accessibility_Checklist and tag with a11y requirements; goal is to complete over weekend so can discuss at TF telecon next week"

"ms: we need implementers to give tech assessment of impact
jf: this has been a largely discussed topic for weeks,"

"JF: Media Sub-Team update: making good progress turning requirements into technical requirements ... worked through 50% of requirements ... encourage people outside of subteam to weigh in and offer feedback and comments as things progress ... need to have technical requirements and user requirements stable enough to advance to the HTML WG next week -- perhaps 10 days left before moving reqs higher up the HTML5 food chain"


Further, the User Requirements document in question has been published and available for review and comment since late August, and was specifically announced *nine weeks ago* today as needing/wanting more feedback from the larger community:

"We are to the point where we need to begin engaging the wider HTML 5 community in understanding the ramifications of these requirements, and in collaborating on appropriate solutions. Thus, we invite you to become familiar with the requirements, ask questions, offer suggestions, and generally engage with us on next steps." (Thu, 26 Aug 2010)


There are 51 registered members of the Accessibility Task Force, including Ian Hickson and Philip Jägenstedt
(http://www.w3.org/WAI/PF/html-task-force#participants) who receive the public-a11y mailing list, which includes these weekly minutes, the minutes from the media sub-teams weekly (open) conference calls, as well as all correspondence to the list (and while not 100%, many of the emails that deal with media issues have been prefixed in the subject line with [media]).

Finally, Janina's note of Aug. 26th was sent to the larger HTML WG public list (443 group participants), of which Ian, Philip and you are also recipients, so you cannot say that we have not solicited feedback before this - you may not have read it or acted upon it, but no-one but you can control that, and the Accessibility Task Force cannot be blamed for that. If you or others have further suggestion on how to ensure that this is an open dialog, please feel free to offer those suggestions, but to arrive at the end of the party complaining that it started without you is disingenuous at best, and simply unfair. The bulk of the discussion on how we arrived at these User Requirements happened over the summer months and occurred, for the most part, on the mailing list and via our weekly conference calls.

> The latter are then forced to either accept the findings on the basis
> of authority, or demand detailed explanation of the rationale for
> every finding before they accept it.  The latter is usually what
> happens in practice except for very minor or obvious changes, and in
> that case, it would make much more sense if the implementers/spec
> editors were involved in the discussions from the beginning.

The editor is free and welcome to join us in any way he chooses: he has chosen to not do so - period.

Implementers from the major browsers (with the exception of Opera) have been weekly participants on the media sub-team conference calls, and Silvia Pfeiffer (representing Mozilla), Eric Carlson (representing WebKit) and Sean Hayes (representing Microsoft) all contributed to the authoring and editing of the User Requirements document; in fact, Eric Carlson and I actually met face-to-face twice, here in my office, while we worked on this document together (a pleasant and enlightening experience for both of us, I believe).
Thus to suggest that the implementers were not consulted or involved is simply false.

Would I like to see Opera and Chrome participants more active in our work?
Yes - but I do not have the power to insist that they do so; it's completely their choice. However to actively not involve oneself in the process, and then complain that you've not been involved in the process is a hyperbolic argument that has little traction or grounds for sympathy.

> Or
> alternatively, that task force findings be written in a persuasive
> rather than authoritative manner, and present the evidence and
> reasoning for their decisions in a form that will convince people who
> aren't domain experts.
> In the end, the implementers are the ones who have to make the
> judgment on what features they'll implement.  When a proposed
> accessibility, internationalization, or other feature requires a
> tradeoff of some kind, it's impossible for them to make that tradeoff
> intelligently unless they're given the full background on why the
> feature is needed, as Henri says.

This is exactly why we spent so much time ensuring that the user requirements document was as complete and accurate as we could make it, with both a prose narrative on the issue, as well as specific bullet points outlining how these might likely manifest. It is also now serving as the foundation for the creation of the Media Accessibility Checklist
(http://www.w3.org/WAI/PF/HTML/wiki/Media_Accessibility_Checklist) where we are taking these User Requirements and mapping them against WCAG, UAAG, as well as a subjective Must/Should/May evaluation, all in an effort to help implementers further address and understand the numerous issues that accessible media brings to the table. Everyone who has already been directly involved with this effort is aware of the enormity of the issues, and of the work effort that will be required to meet all of these User needs.

What is extremely important to understand however is that there can be no "trade-off" when it comes to accessibility; this is counter to a core W3C Mission Statement, and would likely also land us in significant legal quagmires. I think any and all of the legal teams associated with the browser implementers would have a very difficult time defending 'accessibility' to some user-groups while deliberately not supporting
others: I'm no lawyer but I welcome you to investigate that statement further if you doubt my 'basis of authority'.

> We aren't going to get anywhere if
> we have the stone wall of a task force separating experts on some
> particular matter from everyone else, with only limited communication
> over the wall.

Communication is a 2-way street: we've been 'actively broadcasting' but have you been actively listening? Feeding back? If there is an appearance of a stone wall to you, it is one of your own creation: we've in fact been trying to build a bridge, not a wall.

>  It would be to everyone's benefit if all concerned parties were
> involved from the start.  Hopefully that way implementers will learn
> more about accessibility, accessibility experts will learn more about
> implementation, and more workable proposals can be crafted from the
> get-go.

And with the *direct involvement* of implementers from most of the browser developers from the start, we believe we've come a long way towards meeting that goal. I think that it would be fair to say that Eric's, Silvia's and Sean's awareness and understanding of accessibility issues has been enhanced since we started this work, and I know *my* understanding of the technical requirements, issues and difficulties has increased significantly by working with these folks.

So I once again extend an invitation to you Aryeh to join us in the media sub-team's efforts: there is still lots to do, and any and all help is gratefully welcomed.


Received on Monday, 1 November 2010 14:48:03 UTC

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