Re: Request to Reconsider Alt Guidance Location

You're misapprehending WCAG 2.

It is intentionally designed to be a "living specification." I'm aware
I'm using terminology particular to HTML, and even particular to
WHAT-HTML. That's intentional on my part--something you could more
readily relate to, imo.

The core WCAG 2 is indeed static. We articulate principles that will not
change, because the human user needs they address will not change.
Recognize, please, that this is about human users.

The Techniques (and associated failure and success criteria) are
intended to be dynamic, and readily updatable in order to keep pace
with, and to remain relevant to technology development. As per the
citations I've previously provided, these are the intended ways to
update WCAG 2. It is the nonstatic part of WCAG 2 -- by design.


Benjamin Hawkes-Lewis writes:
> On Fri, Feb 24, 2012 at 4:17 AM, Janina Sajka <> wrote:
> >> Janina, it might be helpful to clarify how the HTML 5 Techniques for
> >> WCAG 2.0 Task Force [1] is or is not involved in all of this.
> >>
> > It's a joint PF and WCAG TF charged with creating and documenting
> > techniques for HTML 5 that lead to WCAG conformance. In publishing
> > these, following review, they update WCAG 2 by design. In this way, as
> > the CP says, WCAG 2 is a "living specification."
> I can't follow this.
> WHATWG HTML5 is a "Living Standard" in the sense that it's a moving
> target for conformance.
> W3C HTML5 provides a snapshot target for conformance.
> WCAG 2 the Recommendation provides a snapshot target for conformance.
> It has not been updated since December 2008.
> WCAG 2 Understanding and Techniques are quite different types of
> document. Neither the facts that they are just Notes not
> Recommendations and frequently updated does not mean they cannot be
> specifications with conformance requirements. But in fact these
> documents declare that they are purely informative:
> The CP says new WCAG normative requirements will be produced by
> updating these documents. Is the plan to change the status of these
> documents so that they provide normative requirements for a Living
> Standard WCAG as well as informative guidance for WCAG 2, or what?
> If you're just documenting techniques that might lead to WCAG
> conformance in the style of the existing techniques document, then you
> are not producing normative requirements.
> More generally, it seems hard to reconcile a11y task force support for
> this radical CP, which drops all normative requirements for HTML5
> conforming documents around the @alt attribute, with earlier arguments
> for details like requiring the @alt attribute on <img> elements and
> not giving documents an @alt exemption based on meta generator.
> Previously, many TF members have been adamant that it was crucial for
> the W3C HTML5 validator to push @alt requirements.
> --
> Benjamin Hawkes-Lewis


Janina Sajka,	Phone:	+1.443.300.2200

Chair, Open Accessibility	
Linux Foundation

Chair, Protocols & Formats
Web Accessibility Initiative
World Wide Web Consortium (W3C)

Received on Friday, 24 February 2012 21:58:34 UTC