Re: Response from Accessibility Lawyer on Plain Language in Silver

Hi everyone,

I also wanted to react to the “one-size-fits-all” bit, to remind us all
that inclusive design principles exist because one size NEVER truly fits
everyone. I realize language has been a challenge from day one due to the
nature of the beast, but coming up with a plain language approach to WCAG,
while apparently not a problem from a legal perspective, has always been
the number two barrier to WCAG adoption. The number one barrier, of course
(because you’re now dying to ask) being the technical and conceptual
complexity of it all.

I’m not sure it should be this working group’s responsibility to come up
with this alternate version - I actually doubt that - but an alternate
version written in layman’s terms would benefit a lot of people, inside and
outside our community. EOWG is slowly working on something like that with
my task force dedicated to role-based accessibility, but any effort to
translate WCAG speak into something the implementors understand is needed
more than ever with WCAG 2.1.


On Wed, Nov 14, 2018 at 12:13 Dale Cruse <> wrote:

> Thank you for sharing this, David.
> I'm really curious about this suggestion: "We would suggest using a mixed
> Plain Language and Technical language rather than settling on a
> one-size-fits all model for creating WCAG Silver."
> I'm curious why that is. Couldn't plain language benefit everyone?
> Thank you,
> Dale
> On Wed, Nov 14, 2018, 3:43 PM David MacDonald < wrote:
>> Hi All
>> I asked Joshua Stein with whom many of you may be familiar, who's been an
>> accessibility lawyer on many ADA cases, the following question.
>> *"*Do you think that the  wording in WCAG 2.x is frustrating to legal
>> proceedings, and that it would be better if we moved to a model that is
>> plain language ? "
>> Joshua's unedited response which he has given me permission to share with
>> our groups.
>> ================
>> 1)     From a legal perspective, the courts are currently focused on the
>> end result of website accessibility (i.e., is a website in substantial
>> conformance with the applicable WCAG  success criteria and does it offer
>> individuals with disabilities the same experience as individuals without
>> disabilities?).  Using active vs passive voice within the Guidelines should
>> have a limited direct effect on the legal application of the WCAG as,
>> to-date, the courts are not hearing specific challenges to the WCAG
>> language.  This is likely due to the fact WCAG has not been formally
>> adopted by a government regulator (e.g., DOJ) and, therefore, the
>> Guidelines are not subject to the same legal scrutiny given to Standards
>> promulgated by the federal government that places of public accommodation
>> are required to follow.  Should the legal landscape change, a WCAG Silver
>> “Guidance” document could be created to help clarify any specific legal
>> challenges to the original text/prior versions.
>> 2)     I spoke with our in-house website accessibility team and, from a
>> programmer/tester perspective, the use of plain language within the WCAG
>> would likely improve its overall understandability to a broader audience
>> (developers and designers).  The current WCAG 2.1 language contains a lot
>> of ambiguity which can make it difficult to determine if an issue
>> can/should be categorized under a specific guideline and/or success/failure
>> technique.  However, we also acknowledge some of the technical language
>> currently used is necessary to identify success criteria issues and to
>> describe the steps required to fix the issue.   We would suggest using a
>> mixed Plain Language and Technical language rather than settling on a
>> one-size-fits all model for creating WCAG Silver.  Plain language examples
>> of possible remediation options would likely prove beneficial as well.
>> ===============
>> Cheers,
>> David MacDonald
>> *Can**Adapt* *Solutions Inc.*
>> Mobile:  613.806.9005
>> LinkedIn
>> <>
>> GitHub <>
>> <>
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> --

Denis Boudreau
Principal SME & trainer
Web accessibility, inclusive design and UX
Deque Systems inc.

Keep in touch: @dboudreau

Received on Wednesday, 14 November 2018 17:55:52 UTC