Re: Conformance Level

I think here is where i have the problem.  Jason said, "The guidelines are
meant to be an authoritative reference"

As someone who has dealt considerably with requirements for engineering like
ANSI, IEEE, Military standards, Safety of Flight, etc., I do not see the
term "guidelines"  as meant to be an authoritative reference.  In the
enginnering world, the more proper term would be "specification".  A
guideline would be less formal, more of a "how to" or a suggestions and
would be referenced from a more formal document or specification.

This is semantics but subject to interpretation by a wide and vaired
audience.  This is a very important point becasue i am not familiar with the
W3C publish standards.  Hmmm, couldnt Guideline be replced with standard?

If the guidelines are to be amended and re-approved, then that is a given.
A federal entity is expected to endorse the AA conformance level, i think
that is enough incentive to make sure the guidelines'  issues are flushed
out and resolved.  The alternative would be poorly implemented or possible
useless web sites.  Then if they were amended later, there will be much
rework, increased costs and very angry web developers who are caught in the
middle.  You may not know, but I am one of these Federal web developers and
it is an uphill battle.  I have shown this to developers and managers and
they stare and wonder what this thing is.  We need to make guidelines that
can be easily sold!.  Adding an executive summary would be extremely
helpful.  We need something that is easily digestable.

I have an issue with perceptions on "what is expected". If the checklist is
to be a "convenient point of reference which can be used in day-to-day web
content development activities," then this may be where the effort to direct
people and the "Checklist for Dummies" approach can be used. Plus, Chuck and
Geoff's tutorial will help and a training video would be solid too.

As for the Education and Outreach efforts, this is predicated upon a solid
base (my opinion).


----- Original Message -----
From: Jason White <>
To: Web Content Accessibility Guidelines <>
Sent: Wednesday, July 07, 1999 8:35 PM
Subject: Re: Conformance Level

> It should also be added that there are several important constraints under
> which the guidelines operate:
> 1. They are expected to be implemented by tool developers (E.G. the Bobby
> evaluation software and tools being developed by the ER working group).
> 2. They may be referred to, directly or indirectly, in governmental
> policies and legal proceedings.
> 3. They can not be substantially changed without undergoing the W3C
> approval process.
> Several consequences follow from the above considerations. Firstly, the
> guidelines must be technically precise if they are to be implemented and
> used as the basis of regulation and policy. Second, they need to be as
> general as possible, so that they will not be rendered inadequate by every
> change in technology or in applicable technical standards.
> This is why the details of the requirements, and how to apply them, are
> left to the techniques document, and why the Education and Outreach
> working group has undertaken to document access requirements suitably for
> non-technical audiences. The guidelines are meant to be an authoritative
> reference, not a tutorial. It is to be expected that most people will
> concentrate on the techniques document or relevant educational materials,
> and refer to the guidelines only when it is time to check for conformance,
> by which stage they should be sufficiently familiar with the issues at
> stake to understand the terms in which the requirements are exprssed. Once
> an individual has reached this level of knowledge, the checklist offers a
> convenient point of reference which can be used in day-to-day web content
> development activities.

Received on Thursday, 8 July 1999 00:27:03 UTC