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note on WCAG 2.0 checkpoint 4.1

From: by way of Wendy A Chisholm <bruce.barton@doit.wisc.edu>
Date: Wed, 02 Oct 2002 11:17:53 -0400
Message-Id: <>
To: w3c-wai-gl@w3.org


Would it be useful in WCAG 2/.0 checkpoint 4.1 to include a success 
criterion that describes the intended audience for a page or site and an 
implied or explicit declaration that the site satisfies the conventional 
content accessibility guidelines for that audience.

In elementary and high school publishing, for example, writing requirements 
for particular grade levels are well understood.  Similarly, publishers, 
booksellers, and librarians routinely classify books by genre and and the 
implied reading level within that genre (although often only coarsely as 
adult vs. juvenile).  Technical publishers typically declare that a book is 
written for intermediate or advanced study of some topic, say HTML or 

A declaration of audience pushes the responsibility for defining and 
following content accessibility guidelines back onto the audience for which 
the content is developed and the writers and publishers who serve that 
audience.  Those who serve an audience and in many cases the audience 
itself are often better equipped to describe what makes a page accessible 
to the audience than those not belonging to that community can be.  In 
effect, this approach acknowledges that there are no "specific objective 
criteria that could be applied across all types of content and sites".

Another advantage of declaring the audience is that this allows a site 
intended for advanced readers of a discipline, e.g. astrophysics, to comply 
with WCAG 2.0 in all respects and to proudly declare its compliance even 
though its content is accessible to, i.e. can be understood by, only a few 
thousand people world wide.

The audience declaration gives the words "appropriate" and "possible" in 
the checkpoint statement a point of reference.

Thank you for the admirable work you are doing on behalf of accessibility.

Bruce Barton
Rm 4226 CS, 608-265-0653
ADI, Internal Applications

The University of Wisconsin-Madison
Department of Information Technologies
1210 West Dayton Street
Madison, WI 53706
Received on Wednesday, 2 October 2002 11:10:14 UTC

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