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Comments on WCAG 2.0 Baseline

From: Shadi Abou-Zahra <shadi@w3.org>
Date: Thu, 04 May 2006 18:40:04 +0200
Message-ID: <445A2E64.1000506@w3.org>
To: w3c-wai-eo@w3.org


First of all, I'd like to concur with Sylvie, Wayne, and Alan on the difficulty of understanding the term and concept behind "Baseline". It took me a while to read and digest but sadly I don't have more specific suggestions for improvements. Here are some other more detailed observations:

* The examples in section "Who sets baselines?" of the WCAG 2.0 page on baseline open up more questions than clarify them. For instance in example 1, how does an author determine the level of support for *affordable* user agents? How frequent are baselines changed by the government? Or for instance in example 2: what if the governmental site expects visitors from outside its country (for example foreign ministry with tourist information)?

* Both the WCAG 2.0 page on baseline, and the supporting document tend to mix conformance levels, conformance claims, conformance scope, and baseline. While all three are related, I think each deserves are more "stand-alone" description of the concepts. Maybe in separate resources (maybe Working Group Notes) outside WCAG 2.0, and WCAG 2.0 just summarizes how they relate and how they are to be used?

* Both the WCAG 2.0 page on baseline, and the supporting document essentially contain the same information and to me both were equally explanatory (or obscure). What is the added value of having the additional document? Maybe one should focus more on "hard facts" and the other on more elaborate and realistic examples.

* Throughout both relevant documents it is stressed that accessibility targets the widest range possible and that it can not possibly address every single person with disability or every situation. However, at times it sounds very off-putting. For example in the section "Conformance levels and the baseline" in the WCAG 2.0 page on baseline it reads: "Note that even conformance to all three levels will not make Web content accessible to all people". Without further qualification I ask myself, what more than conform to *all three levels* do I have to do to make my Web site accessible? Again here, maybe the solution could be an external piece of text that explains the limitation of the guidelines (a disclaimer?).

Other minor comments that popped up on the way:

* In Note 1 of the WCAG 2.0 page on baseline, it reads ": Because not all level 3 success criteria can be used with all types of content, Triple-A conformance only requires conformance to a portion of level 3 success criteria". However, the term "Triple-A" has not yet been defined at this stage yet.

* In the examples in section "Who sets baselines?" of the WCAG 2.0 page on baseline the second sentence is always a repetition of the first (I guess the first used to be a real heading).


Shadi Abou-Zahra     Web Accessibility Specialist for Europe | 
Chair & Staff Contact for the Evaluation and Repair Tools WG | 
World Wide Web Consortium (W3C)           http://www.w3.org/ | 
Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI),   http://www.w3.org/WAI/ | 
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Received on Thursday, 4 May 2006 16:40:08 UTC

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