Fixing a regretful error, and adding to the discussion

Early yesterday evening, I tried to indicate my status for this morning's meeting, but somehow on my screen 7/1 and 7/8 coalesced into one. I wound up putting this morning's status—that several crises at work (tempests in a teapot, but an important set of teapots) would prevent me from attending—in 7/8's data fields.

My apologies. I'm sorry I wasn't there to represent my position, but the bottom line as I shared it with Judy is that I cannot see this document being used to influence people who will write administrative rules in any of the 50 states.

That it's written at a postgraduate level (Char estimated college freshman; no, it's far above that) is only part of the problem.

It uses language that has special meaning to a small group of people. It argues that standards harmonization is good, fragmentation is bad, and the W3C's standards are the ones to harmonize on.

It seems to me that the people who don't need a 50-word explanation of those terms already understand that message. If so, then who will use this document?

As I wrote to Judy yesterday, if this document is meant to convince the people who will write standards for, say, the various 50 U.S. states that they should adopt WCAG 2.0 Level AA without revising it, then I know personally at least one of those audiences.

In Texas, that would be Jeff Kline,Kathy Keller,Jim Allan, Buddy Allison, and a few other folks whose names escape me but who are a lot like Jeff,KathyJim, and Buddy. They meet as the Accessibility Coalition of Texas.

If I were to walk into their meeting about updating our state rules on accessibility with this document in my hands and say, "Avoid fragmentation; 
make your goal standards harmonization," I'd have to spend a quarter to half an hour 
defining those terms. In that time, I would lose their attention as they puzzled themselves with the meaning of this discussion of harmonization, fragmentation, and standards.

But imagine if I were to walk into that meeting and say, "Let's not reinvent the 
wheel; let's just refer people to WCAG 2.0 Level AA. Many corporations and nations sent representatives to develop those standards. And if we change anything, agencies using federal money will have to constantly worry about which rules to meet."

In that case, they'd know exactly what I
 meant, so we could get right down to business. In fact, they might reach their decision in less time than it would take to work through all those explanations of terms that have special meanings to people not involved in developing these rules—and no significance at all to the legitimacy of the WCAG standards themselves.

If this document isn't for people who will be writing rules to make conformance with WCAG the law of the land, then I don't understand who the audience is. So, like Sandi, I can't help with the writing of this document. That's why my vote was to abstain.

If we do decide to develop a document for the audience I've described, I would be happy to set the specs for it. Heck, I might even draft it. I know where I can find a good start: Lainey Feingold's testimony on this very topic to the U.S. Department of Justice in January 2011.

Best regards,


Received on Saturday, 2 July 2011 01:43:18 UTC