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Techniques vs. best practices

From: David MacDonald <befree@magma.ca>
Date: Fri, 20 Jun 2003 08:51:30 -0400
To: <w3c-wai-gl@w3.org>
Cc: "'Ben Caldwell'" <caldwell@trace.wisc.edu>, <Michaelc@watchfire.com>
Message-ID: <000001c3372a$aff61500$31a31a40@david>
In section 1.5 there were considerations about moving some of the Best
Practices to the Techniques document. Michael articulated a major
distinction between best practices and techniques when he said they are
not  technology specific.  I would add that Best Practices should have a
relatively long shelf life.  

If we go back to the reasons why we separated techniques from the
guidelines in the first place, we find that we were concerned about the
guidelines becoming obsolete before they get out of the starting block
because of changing technology and therefore changing techniques. We
don't want to handcuff the guidelines to specific technologies for this
reason.  Best practices should not have to change as quickly.  

When we apply those two criteria to the considerations in 1.5, I would
say that these best practises are neither technology specific nor do
they have a short shelf life.  They are principles that will survive as
long as the guidelines (say 3-5 years or so).  Therefore I would leave
them as best practices.  

Perhaps our guideline document should be rich in hyperlinks to related
techniques (that will change quite frequently).  I agree with Michael
that techniques should not fulfill best practices but I don't mind
having a technique related to a best practice as a way to drill down to
elements of the best practice that are not as permenant.  (these relate
to the considerations below) e.g.,

1)     specific ways to make font variations, styles, size etc, (e.g. no
"font=" element)  

2)     Specific ways to use colour in an accessible way 

3)     voice xml techniques, 

4)     how to add additional graphics in an accessible way. 

5)     How to make an accessible table of contents, and site map.  


Best Practices for 1.5


Editorial Note (22 May 2003): The items listed below were categorized as
"additional items" in the April 29 draft. Should these be moved to

1.      for visual presentations, use font variations, styles, size and
white space to emphasize structure.

2.      use color and graphics to emphasize structure.

3.      for auditory presentations, use different voice characteristics
and/sounds for major headings, sections and other structural elements.

4.      if content is targeted for a specific user group and the
presentation of the structured content is not salient enough to meet the
needs of your audience, use additional graphics, colors, sounds, and
other aspects of presentation to emphasize the structure.

5.      provide a table of contents or navigation map of the document.





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Received on Friday, 20 June 2003 08:51:50 UTC

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