Web Content Accessibility Guidelines

I read the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines.

I found it a useful and valuable document.

I have one comment in that the Introduction suggests 
the guidelines concern any type of access, ie. not 
only improvement of access by disabled persons, but 
also access through constrained devices or access 
under special circumstances.

Although the guidelines can be used, and likely
will be used, to improve presentation in such cases, 
I found that serving that purpose would cause me 
to reconsider some of the Priority ratings.

Concerning resource constrained devices, those are 
designed as such, aiming to serve a certain application. 
It is a question in what level those devices require 
more comprehensible access, and when required, whether 
other solutions can be provided.

As an example, I don't know whether a true long
longdesc solves the display problems a mobile 
phone encounters with images.

As another example, when requiring captioning 
to assist audio streams, I am missing a guideline 
on the language of that captioning. I guess, 
implicitly, there is the assumption that the 
audio (and captioning) are authored for a certain 
target audience (speaking some language), of which 
a part is disabled in their sensory perception.

As a final example, I would rate guideline 5.4 
(use style sheets to control layout and presentation) 
as Priority 1, when not considered in the context 
of access improvement for disabled.

I am not stating the guidelines are not beneficial 
to the wider area, but I would suggest to restrict 
the scope of the Guidelines to access by disabled people
more clearly (the Abstract does mention this).
I expect doing this will help the understanding of 
the document and its use.

Some minor things:

- I found the section indexing "A", "B", "C" confusing.
  I would number the sections and call the first appendix "A".

- Where possible, try to circumvent the use of subjective rating 
  in the guidelines. Such use counters the rating by Priority index. 
  For example, 
  - "important" in guideline 2.1
  - "if needed" in guideline 2.2
  - "properly" in guideline 5.1

- I would rate longdescs as Priority 2, assuming that 
  that will encourage the use of 'title' and 'alt'. 
  I mean, I fear a risk, otherwise the guidelines are not 
  adhered and none of these get implemented.
  Alternatively, the cases were longdesc is Priority 1 
  could be made more specific.

- checkpoint 4.1:
  I agree with this one, but I like to mention that sometimes 
  color can enhance the message, but is acceptable when lost,
  eg. upon printing (recall, that in such cases the device 
  can opt for other solutions to present the information).

- checkpoint 5.1:
  I was confused by the wording "nest". I understood that as, eg,

       heading 1 text
       <h2>nested header</h2>
       remainder heading 1

  which isn't valid HTML.
  I think the intended meaning is, eg,

    <h1>heading 1 text</h1>
       <h2>nested header</h2>
    <h1>other heading 1</h1>

   the "nesting" concerns the alignment with the 
   contextual organisation.

   I find this is an interesting observation:
   The content model of the heading elements doesn't reflect 
   this guideline. In fact, two informations are needed:
   - structure of headings (ie. nesting as reffered in this guideline)
   - the (text) data being in those headings (what h1-6 model)
   A combined model could go in the direction of:

       <h>heading 1 text</h> 
          <!-- heading 1 because of child of first section -->
          <h>nested header</h>
             <!-- heading 2 because of child of second level section -->
       <h>other heading 1</h>

    where levels can be set (like numbers on a <li>)

    Perhaps the guideline should read that the use of heading levels 
    should reflect the structural organisation of textual context.
    (with an example to make this more clear.)

Hope you find these comments of use,

Warner ten Kate.

Philips Research Labs. WY21 ++ New Media Systems & Applications
Prof. Holstlaan 4 ++ 5656 AA  Eindhoven ++ The Netherlands
Phone: +31 4027 44830
Fax:   +31 4027 44648    tenkate@natlab.research.philips.com

Received on Thursday, 11 March 1999 07:54:32 UTC