Re: Big issues (elephants) for discussion at CSUN face to face meeting

>a.  If an entire process is not accessible then components of the 
>process should not be claimed as accessible.  For example:
>    - a shopping site where the checkout is not accessible.
>    - an online course where two modules are not accessible.

Does this mean that the owner of the site could make the honest claim 
that, say, Parts 1 through 7 and 9 through 12 and 17 of a 20-part 
course meet the guidelines, but other parts do not?

That should not mean that the whole course is disqualified from 
claiming conformance. It is not a sure thing that the absence of 
conformance in certain parts means that no disabled person could use 
the accessible parts. They might not even need the inaccessible parts.

I imagine a scenario where WCAG 2.0 is written to a doctrinaire 
standard and denies any conformance claim to a site where even a 
single component doesn't meet the spec. But this 
single-drop-of-inaccessibility scenario is one I would warn against.

>b. Content can not be claimed as accessible if the path to the 
>content is not accessible.

And this means?

We don't need "paths" to content. We just need a URL, in the case of 
a Web site.

Let's say the homepage,, was badly 
put together and fails the spec. But let's say they hired an 
independent contractor who created courseware in the /Courseware/ 
directory that meets the spec. (This would not be an atypical 
example, you know-- accessibility-related pages may be accessible, 
the rest of the site not.) Who particularly cares if the homepage is 
inaccessible if you can just go straight to and enjoy the 
accessible course?

How are there *paths* on the Web? The Web is nonlinear.

The question makes it seem like the nonexpert's way of explaining how 
to get around on the Web-- think of someone on the telephone saying 
"OK, go to OK, see the blue photo? Click 
that. Now look around for 'courseware.' Click that"-- is the way we 
refer to universal resource indicators online. It isn't. The concept 
of "paths" makes little sense on the Web.

>We also need to keep in mind exceptions and when they can and can 
>not be used.  For example, for copyrighted or legacy content.

Essentially all content is copyrighted. I assume you mean content 
where someone else owns the rights and has not explicitly permitted 
modification for accessibility (e.g., a videoclip that you don't have 
the rights to caption and describe).

>the success criteria. For example, Checkpoint 3.2 (Provide multiple 
>methods to explore sites that are more than two layers deep) seems 
>to refer to sites but some of the success criteria refer to 
>documents. As written, this checkpoint does not seem to apply to Web 
>applications. "Layer" is not well-defined and implies a hierarchy. 
>However, if we are talking about a Web of information, there is not 
>necessarily a linear order nor a hierarchy.

Indeed. I don't see an accessibility need that this requirement meets 
in the first place. Perhaps it could be removed.

>How can we help the developer understand what a checkpoint means and 
>how a checkpoint applies to different types of content while not 
>relying on Techniques for understanding?

You probably can't. The hidebound and procedural WCAG manner of doing 
things pretty much condemns WAI to issue a requirements document and 
then also what is essentially a real-world translation or companion 
document. (The requirements could simply be better-written, of 

>4. Requirements to change content
>There are two issues with altering the primary content rather than 
>supplementing it:
>    a. it potentially limits the author's freedom of expression,

It invariably limits the author's freedom of expression. You're 
essentially saying "Write the way we want you to write or we withhold 
our WCAG 2.0 conformance badge." The whole enterprise isn't gonna 
stand up to scrutiny. It just so happens that it has not received 
much scrutiny yet. That will inevitably change.

>    b. it is not appropriate or permissible in some circumstances,
>        e.g., in the case of legal documents, and historical, artistic,
>        and literary works.

For "some circumstances," read "most circumstances."

>How should we address the tension between solving current problems 
>without constraining the author's freedom of expression? How do we 
>address the opportunities that emerging technologies such as 
>metadata will provide? Can we achieve some of this with semantic 
>markup and next generation assistive technologies?

By eliminating any *requirement* that authors rewrite their content 
to suit some outside opinion of how they should write.

I'm sorry, but this stuff ain't gonna fly. I would personally not 
want to see the Web Accessibility Initiative face its first-ever 
constitutional challenge over this issue.

The benefits aren't even proven: Nobody has provided convincing 
evidence that a site that follows these invasive, prescriptive 
guidelines will become *as much more accessible* as, say, a site that 
meets requirements for blind accessibility would.

>7. Web applications, Web sites, documents
>Related to definitions, which terms do we use to make sure that the 
>principles we are writing apply to applications, Web sites, and 
>documents? In particular, we have been looking at the variety of 
>ways we use "content." Also, we use "Web site" or "document" or 
>"page" instead of something more general that would include Web 

Web applications are essentially not covered under WCAG 2.0 because 
there are no Web-application experts writing the appropriate 
guidelines. As mentioned before 
WAI volunteers continue to act as though they are topic experts on 
the numerous similar but not interchangeable topics covered under 
WCAG 2.0.

A month from now, I may be able to give real-world examples of how 
the current WCAG 1.0 fails to take Web applications into account. 
That won't make me an expert either, but it'll add to the limited 
corpus of available data.

>8. Collapsing navigation into perceivable and understanding?

The titles of WCAG 2.0 sections are still not clear enough. They're 
too abstract; among other things, they shouldn't be adjectives. They 
betray the undiscussed fact that WAI is labouring to shoehorn a 
mishmash of different subtopics into artificial categories.

     Joe Clark |
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Received on Sunday, 16 March 2003 17:26:31 UTC