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Re: addressing the sophistication of the user in Section 1.2

From: Kynn Bartlett <kynn-hwg@idyllmtn.com>
Date: Mon, 29 Nov 1999 20:15:57 -0800
Message-Id: <>
To: "Gregory J. Rosmaita" <unagi69@concentric.net>
Cc: Authoring Tools Guidelines List <w3c-wai-au@w3.org>
At 03:44 PM 11/29/1999 , Gregory J. Rosmaita wrote:
>When a tool generates markup, an author usually remain unaware of the
>accessibility status of the content being produced, unless he or she:
>1. uses an accessibility checklist as a guide when reviewing the document
>source created by the tool. 
>2. explicitly invokes an external tool, utility, or online service to check
>the accessibility of the content that has been created, and/or
>3. explicitly invokes an accessibility evaluation and repair feature which
>has been built into the tool,


You forgot one of the best ways to check this -- asking someone with
a disability to try to use the site!  All the automatic checks in the
world won't tell you anything if a blind user can't navigate or a
deaf user can't access content!

>Obviously, such repair strategies are impractical if the author must then
>either make any appropriate corrections by hand or in response to prompts
>and alerts without guidance from the tool itself.


Wording nitpicks -- we should avoid words like "obvious" (if it's 
obvious, we don't need to say it's obvious!) and impractical which
imply value judgments and may not be true over the lifetime of the

>Since most
>authors--regardless of their level of familiarity with a particular markup
>language or tool--are unfamiliar with accessibility issues as they relate
>to web content, the onus is on the authoring tool to (a) generate
>accessible markup; and (b) where appropriate, to guide the author in
>producing accessible content in a manner consistent with the "look and
>feel" of the tool.


That looks okay to me.  I would say "many authors" perhaps -- perhaps
it's just optimistic thinking on my part, but I hope that in the future
(over the lifetime of this document) things will really start to change
for the better!

>why this particular formulation?  just as we cannot possibly bar anyone
>from using the ATAG to promulgate an entity's purchasing requirements, we
>cannot address the "expected level of sophistication of the user", as that
>is something that each individual developer will have to address when
>deciding what features to add or emphasize in their tool...


Well, I think it's clear (from member comments) that we need to show
we have addressed this issue in some way, at least.  Otherwise it looks
like an omission that discredits the document.

Your suggestion may be one way to do this.

>what we can
>do, however, is reiterate our oft-repeated mantra that there is no
>reasonable expectation that an author -- regardless of his or her
>familiarity (or lack thereof) with a particular markup language or user
>interface -- will be aware of the accessibility issues which need to be
>addressed when content is being created or when it is automatically
>transformed by an application (particularly those not explicitly thought of
>as an authoring tool, such as the Office suite or WordPerfect) for
>transmission via the web in what is traditionally referred to as a
>web-based markup language (i.e. HTML, XML, SMIL, etc.)

No disagreement in principle.

Kynn Bartlett                                    mailto:kynn@hwg.org
President, HTML Writers Guild                    http://www.hwg.org/
AWARE Center Director                          http://aware.hwg.org/
Received on Monday, 29 November 1999 23:25:44 UTC

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