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Re: Conformance Level

From: Robert Neff <robneff@home.com>
Date: Wed, 7 Jul 1999 22:41:42 -0700
Message-ID: <006501bec904$8ec6d4c0$64520518@alex1.va.home.com>
To: "Web Content Accessibility Guidelines" <w3c-wai-gl@w3.org>, <w3c-wai-eo@w3.org>
I am on the Education and Outreach Working Group and these are my beliefs
and not a comment from the EO.

We need to remember our audience that we must reach is both technical and
non-technical. Actually i argue they are more non-technical. This group has
become conditioned to instant gratification - unlike members here that
understand the issues and can disect the points verbatim.

People want to learn and are already taxed in a fast paced environment with
zero overhead.  They are pushed to be more productive so margins can be met
at corporate.  We are throwing so much at people.  I give presentations and
eduacate people/groups constantly in the DC Metro area and other spots
across the USA.  So I see the looks on people's faces contantly.  Here is a
simplistic scenario for a developer.

1.  Comprehend what universal accessibility is.
2.  Understand what their audience is up against so they "get it"
3.  Sell this to their boss so they "get it".
4.  Obtain approval to work on the redesign.  If they are turned down due to
timing or poor presentation, hopefully they continue with the next steps.
5.  Read all literature - including WCAG and train.
6.  Test concepts so they get up to speed and train
7.  Implement without someone there who has any experience doing this.
8.  Tell their manager they are compliant.
9.  Train everyone else.

We all are working on many processes to help UA along.  Formal training and
certification is one area and guidelines is another.  I believe we need
another set of Guidlelines or on the next revision that are written so they
can be easily understood and implemented.

Tonight I gave a presentation at the House of Representatives (Staffers &
System Adminstrators) Networkers Association meeting.  I was one speaker
among many talking about univerasal acessibility.  Like many people they are
trying to grasp what this is and what is involved.  They must be able to
sell this to their managers as well as the training, and processes to help
this along. They need time to redesign the site while they are justifing
this  These are the types of people we need to target for universal
accessibility to be a success! We need everyone to help make the WCAG easily
digestable, especially the priority and conformance level.  (One thought
process would be better - keeping the conformanace level since it has
received so much publicity).

Implementing universal accessibility is a passion I share with many here.
To me the WAI's job is full life cycle development that involves all
facets - the groups.  Just so happens, i beleive, the WCAG are now at the
forefront and they need to be easily implemented so all efforts will be


----- Original Message -----
From: Jason White <jasonw@ariel.ucs.unimelb.edu.au>
To: Web Content Accessibility Guidelines <w3c-wai-gl@w3.org>
Sent: Monday, July 05, 1999 11:44 PM
Subject: Re: Conformance Level

> The definitions of priority and conformance lelvels are inextricably
> connected. One way of eliminating priorities would be to specify, in the
> conformance statement, exactly which checkpoints had to be satisfied at
> each level of conformance. There are several reasons why such a solution
> would be a retrograde move and why it should not be supported. First, by
> eliminating the priorities from the document, one would thereby remove a
> very convenient and practical indication, associated with each checkpoint,
> of the level of conformance to which it pertains (priority 1 checkpoints
> relate to level A only, priority 1 and 2 checkpoints relate to levels A
> and double-A; priority 3 checkpoints relate to all three conformance
> levels). Thus, if you want to satisfy the guidelines at a double-a level,
> you can simply work through the list, ignoring priority 3 checkpoints.
> This makes it very easy to connect the intended level of conformance to
> the task at hand, its being recognised that level A compliance is an
> important short-term goal, whereas tripple-A compliance could be regarded
> as a medium-term objective from the standpoint of an organisation or web
> site maintainer.
> If the priorities were removed, then in order to implement a specific
> priority level one would need a list of which checkpoints pertained to
> which level of conformance; and a user of the document would have to
> cross-reference each checkpoint against the relevant list. For me at
> least, and I suspect for many others as well, this would be impractical,
> and would probably act as a disinsentive that would discourage adoption of
> the guidelines.
> A second shortcoming of such a proposal is that the conformance statement
> would then become very lengthy and complex, as it would have to specify
> all of the individual checkpoints that related to each conformance level.
> A system in which, instead of a priority, each checkpoint was labeled with
> the names of the conformance levels to which it pertained (E.G. a priority
> 2 checkpoint would carry the designation, "A and double-A") is also
> problematic due to the existence of so-called "split priorities" in the
> document, which it has not been possible to eliminate. Their existence is
> a reflection of the observation that the importance of satisfying
> particular requirements can vary depending on the nature of the document
> as a whole. For example, language identification is more important in
> multilingual texts than in unilingual documents, owing to the difficulty
> of identifying language switches automatically based on textual analysis;
> whereas in the case of a monolingual text the language can more easily be
> identified, or at least it would be more reasonable to expect the reader
> to identify the language and set a software option. Other examples of
> split priority in the guidelines result from the differing importance that
> certain information can have in the context of a variety of documents.
> I would also dispute the assertion that the existing scheme of priorities
> is complex or difficult to understand. If it is well explained (and the
> definitions are clear and accurate), then it should not create any
> substantial obstacle to the application of the guidelines. Education in
> the use of the WCAG is undoubtedly needed; especially at a priority 2
> level and above, it fundamentally challenges the approach to web site
> development to which many authors have grown accustomed. This educative
> role is being most capably exercised by the Education and Outreach Working
> Group, as I understand the present circumstances.
> The basic point of the present contribution, however, is to argue that the
> existing priority and conformance definitions are better than the simpler
> alternatives which I have considered. The only prospect of simplifying the
> system appears to reside in the possibility of attempting to eliminate
> split priorities; but these were arrived at after much thought and
> discussion, and I doubt that they could be readily removed without
> undermining the integrity of the document, though this issue clearly
> deserves further consideration when and if the guidelines are redesigned.
Received on Wednesday, 7 July 1999 22:46:30 UTC

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