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Re: Authoring Tool Accessibility Guidelines

From: Charles McCathieNevile <charles@w3.org>
Date: Mon, 4 Oct 1999 21:03:19 -0400 (EDT)
To: Loretta Guarino Reid <lguarino@Adobe.COM>
cc: w3c-wai-au@w3.org
Message-ID: <Pine.LNX.4.10.9910042051200.30037-100000@tux.w3.org>
Essentially guidelines 4 and 5 have an interaction here. Guideline 4
intentionally does not say anything about the point in the authoring process
at which the checking (etc) is required. It is important that this check be a
natural part of the authoring process, rather than "an optional extra".

It is also critical that accessible authoring functions are readily available
all the time. If the author is required to do a whole lot of new work to fix
accessibility errors, and that was not obviously clear and possible during
most of the authoring process, then it is hardly possible to claim that
accessible authoring has been integrated into the tool (as well as pretty
frustrating for the author). Unless the author is already experienceed in
creating accessible documents, if it is difficult to create content using
accessible authoring practices they will be in for a very unpleasant surprise
at the end, with a large amount of repair work to do. Inexerienced authors,
and those who do not understand the purpose or value of accessibility (and
who are clearly well-represented among people producing web content) are
likely to settle for the argument that "it is only helping a few people
anyway" and claim that accessible web content is too expensive or difficult
to justify. (This happens in real life cases with a large impact on lots of
real life people.)

Charles McCN

On Mon, 4 Oct 1999, Loretta Guarino Reid wrote:

  I appreciated reading the Authoring Tool Accessibility Guidelines; this 
  document is very helpful in guiding us towards accessible tools.
  I have a question about Guideline 4. It is important to assist authors in 
  making accessibility a normal part of their document creation. In an authoring 
  environment where users prefer to check for accessibility after a document is 
  completed, would the guidelines be satisfied if the author requests checking 
  when he or she is done? This has the advantage that accessibility checking 
  isn't triggered every time a file is saved for back-up, but the disadvantage 
  that the author might never request the check, or even be aware that the 
  document needs checking.
  Loretta Guarino Reid
  Adobe Acrobat 
  Voice: 408-536-2166
  email: lguarino@adobe.com

--Charles McCathieNevile            mailto:charles@w3.org
phone: +1 617 258 0992   http://www.w3.org/People/Charles
W3C Web Accessibility Initiative    http://www.w3.org/WAI
MIT/LCS  -  545 Technology sq., Cambridge MA, 02139,  USA
Received on Monday, 4 October 1999 21:03:30 UTC

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