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WCAG 2.0 content and positioning of the different documents

From: Shawn Henry <shawn@w3.org>
Date: Fri, 12 May 2006 07:29:59 -0500
Message-ID: <44647FC7.7060603@w3.org>
To: "EOWG (E-mail)" <w3c-wai-eo@w3.org>

Here’s a draft idea on the content and positioning of the different WCAG 2.0 documents – for EOWG discussion:

1. WCAG 2.0: Purpose is a stable reference for policies, etc. Keep it as simple and succinct as possible. Clearly point to other documents for important information, such as more info on baseline (which is done in current draft). Leave out any historical info and such (take out some of what is there now).

2. Checklist: Purpose is quick list for people who already know WCAG 2.0 and just need to check off that they’re remembering everything when doing an evaluation, for example. [Other common uses?] (Note that it’s *not* useful as an overview for newbies.)

3. “Understanding” [or other title]: Purpose is *the* document that most people will use most of the time. Note that since all the guidelines and success criteria are in here I think few people will even look at /TR/WCAG20. [Do you agree?]
* @@

4. Techniques: Purpose is details for implementing. Assume developers are the only target audience. [correct?]

5. Overview (w3.org/WAI/intro/wcag20): Purpose is simple, friendly, directive front door to WCAG 2.0 docs. I think almost all references to WCAG 2.0 (for example, links in other WAI Resources, slides, and such) should point to this overview.

6. [About Baselines]: Eliminate this document. Put the pertinent information about baselines in “Understanding”, as there’s no reason to send people to yet another document for this information. The non-pertinent info that’s there now could go in 7 below.

7. [something like Background, or WG Notes, or History, or Q&A or…]: Purpose is to communicate reasons why things were done, address some concerns or issues, and such. For example, move to here most of the “Background” section from About Baselines, “Why wasn't UAAG used as baseline?”, and why 2.0 Levels different from 1.0 Priorities (currently in WCAG20 Conformance).

8. [Application Notes] Purpose is to help developers working on a specific thing, such as images, links, forms, data tables. (Brief description is under http://www.w3.org/WAI/intro/wcag20.php#related) Note that I think these should cover just the basics, and point back to “Understanding” & “Techniques” for the more complex issues.

9. [Plain-Language Version \ WCAG 2.0 “101” \ WCAG 2.0 “for Dummies” \ WCAG 2.0 Intent] Purpose is for the average person to be able to understand the basics of WCAG 2.0. I imagine taking each guideline and success criteria and providing it in an understandable way. Perhaps this is mostly pulling out the information from the “Intent” section of “Understanding”. Note that this is problematic as it would have to be carefully and clearly positioned, since it would *not* cover all the issues. 

10. [Quick Tips] Purpose is something short that touches on the basics to help people get started on accessibility – to fit on a business-card-sized handout.

<end list of documents>

The main change from what is in the current WCAG 2.0 documents and above is moving out of the main /TR/WCAG20 document Comparison with WCAG 1.0, explanatory examples, and other details. In addition to simplifying the normative doc, this puts the explanatory information where it can be updated to reflect changes over time as necessary. It also limits the need for repetition across documents (e.g., now some information in /TR/WCAG20 Conformance is repeated in About Baselines, and not at all in Understanding). I think it also would ensure that people don’t miss important information. (Since it becomes clear that the /TR/WCAG20 only contains the standards, and all other info is in Understanding.)

Based on above, I propose moving the following sections out of /TR/WCAG20 Conformance: 

I. Move into a new “Baselines” section of “Understanding”:

a. Under Who sets baselines?: 
There are several reasons for this. First, what is appropriate in a baseline may differ for different environments. For example, in the case of content that will be viewed only by employees of a particular company, it may be possible to assume that user agents support more advanced technologies if the company provides the necessary user agents (including assistive technology) to all employees. For public Websites, however, a more conservative level of technology may be all that can be reasonably assumed. Baselines may also vary by jurisdiction. Finally, the level of technology that can be assumed to be supported by accessible user agents will certainly change over time. 

Some examples of baselines: 

Example 1: A government site that provides information to the public. A government agency publishes information intended for the general public. The specified baseline includes only technologies that have been widely supported by more than one accessible and affordable user agent for more than one release. The government periodically changes the baseline it requires for developers of public sites to reflect the increasing ability of affordable user agents (including assistive technology) to work with newer technologies. 

Example 2: A particular government provides high level accessible user agents to all citizens who need them. A government provides all citizens with user agents that support newer technologies. The government is thus able to specify a baseline that includes these newer technologies for all of its Websites for its citizens since the government can assume its citizens' user agents can handle the technologies. 
Example 3: A private intranet. An organization (public or private) provides its employees with the information technology tools they need to do their jobs. The baseline for intranet sites used only by employees includes newer technologies that are supported only by the user agent that the organization provides for its employees. Because the company controls the user agents that will view its internal content, the author has a very accurate knowledge of the technologies that those user agents (including assistive technologies) support. 

Note: In the examples above, the baseline is not specified in terms of specific user agents but rather in terms of the Web content technologies that are supported and enabled in those user agents (including assistive technologies). 

b. All of Examples of conformance claims: 
Examples of conformance claims 

Example 1: On 23 March 2005, http://www.wondercall.example.com conforms to W3C's WCAG 2.0, Conformance Level A. The baseline for this claim is XHTML 1.0. The specification that this content "relies upon" is: HTML 4.01. The specifications that this content "uses but does not rely on" are: CSS2, and gif. This content was tested using the following user agents and assistive technologies: Firefox 1.5 on Windows 2000 SP4 with Jaws 7.0, Firefox 1.5 on Windows XP SP 2 with Jaws 7.0, IE 6.0 on Windows 2000 SP4 with Jaws 4.51, IE 6.0 on Windows 2000 SP4 with Jaws 7.0, and Firefox 1.5 on Windows XP SP2 with Jaws 7.0, Safari 2.0 with OS X 10.4. 

Example 2: On 5 May 2006, "G7: An Introduction" http://telcor.example.com/nav/G7/intro.html conforms to W3C's WCAG 2.0. Conformance Level Double-A. The following additional success criteria have also been met: 1.1.2, 1.2.5, and 1.4.3. The baseline for this claim is UDBaseline#1-2006 at http://UDLabs.org/Baseline#1-2006.html. The specification that this content "relies upon" is: XHTML 1.0 (Strict), and Real Video. The specifications that this content "uses but does not rely on" are: JavaScript 1.2, CSS2. 

Example 3: On 21 June 2007, http://example.com/nav and http://example.com/docs conform to W3C's WCAG 2.0, Conformance Triple-A. The baseline is ISA-Baseline#2-2007 at http://ISA.example.gov/Baselines/BL2-2007. The specifications that this content "relies upon" are: XHTML 1.0 (Strict), CSS2, JavaScript 1.2, jpeg, png. " The technologies this content has been tested with can be found at http://example.com/docs/WCAG20/test/technologies.html. 

c. All of Content that conforms to WCAG 1.0: 
Content that conforms to WCAG 1.0 

This Working Draft of WCAG 2.0 builds upon WCAG 1.0 and reflects feedback received since the publication of WCAG 1.0 in May 1999. 

The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines Working Group is working to ensure that organizations and individuals who are currently using WCAG 1.0 (which remains stable and normative at this time) will be able to smoothly transition to WCAG 2.0. For more information about the similarities and differences between WCAG 1.0 Checkpoints and WCAG 2.0 Guidelines and success criteria, please refer to the (draft) Mapping between WCAG 1.0 and the WCAG 2.0 Working Draft. 
Authors whose content currently conforms to WCAG 1.0 may wish to capitalize on past accessibility efforts when making the transition to WCAG 2.0. A qualified conformance statement could allow them this flexibility. For example, a conformance claim might include the following statement: "Materials with creation or modification dates before 31 December 2006 conform to WCAG 1.0. Materials with creation or modification dates after 31 December 2006 conform to WCAG 2.0." 

II. Move to Document #7 [Background, or WG Notes, or History, or Q&A or…] above: 

"This method of grouping success criteria differs in important ways from the approach taken in WCAG 1.0. Each checkpoint in WCAG 1.0 was assigned a "priority" according to its impact on accessibility. Thus, Priority 3 checkpoints appeared to be less important than Priority 1 checkpoints. The WCAG Working Group now believes that all success criteria of WCAG 2.0 are essential for some people. Thus, the system of checkpoints and priorities used in WCAG 1.0 has been replaced by success criteria under Levels 1, 2, and 3 as described above. Note that even conformance to all three levels will not make Web content accessible to all people." 
Received on Friday, 12 May 2006 12:30:06 UTC

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