RE: 4.1 Alternate 2

I have several concerns in response to this proposal.

1. We agreed in the past that issues of time/expense wouldn't be taken
   into account in specifying checkpoints and success criteria. This
   proposal appears to contradict that understanding. Also, it could
   set an unfortunate precedent, leading to erosion of the
   level of accessibility provided for by the guidelines as items
   which people think might involve expenditure of time and effort are
   shifted to levels 2 or 3.

2. One of the reasons for not including time/effort considerations in
   the analysis of requirements is that these are relative to the
   circumstances of the developer, including the available tools, the
   amount of content involved, and the resources that can be committed
   to the accessibility effort. Thus a review under checkpoint 4.1
   might consist of automated checking via text analysis tools, with
   manual investigation and, if necessary, correction of those
   sentences or passages highlighted by the software as possibly in
   need of human attention. Lisa mentioned last week that she was
   already developing such tools (not testing tools stricto sensu, but
   rather tools to assist human evaluators). Of course, if a content
   developer sets a policy of only reviewing new or revised content,
   then there are two options: either don't assert conformance to the
   guidelines until the entire content has been reviewed/revised, or
   restrict the scope of the conformance claim only to those parts of
   the content that have been reviewed (i.e., exclude older content
   from the scope of the conformance claim).

3. Other parts of the guidelines will require review of the content
   anyway, by a combination of human judgment and automated checking,
   and it isn't obvious that 4.1 will create much additional work in
   this respect, especially as tools become available to assist the

4. I am also concerned that proponents of access for people with
   cognitive disabilities would find any such limitation of checkpoint
   4.1 unacceptable, and would charge that the guidelines aren't
   giving due attention to cognitive issues.

I suggest that we shouldn't restrict the scope of 4.1 to "new" or
"revised" content. After all, the conformance scheme is sufficiently
flexible that a developer can simply confine the scope of the entire
conformance claim, and I don't think we should impose restrictions on
4.1 that we aren't prepared to apply to the whole document. More
specifically, I am not persuaded that there is a case for treating 4.1
differently from any of the other checkpoints in this regard.

Received on Wednesday, 15 January 2003 21:05:24 UTC