RE: the techniques document is hard to follow

The duplication doesn't really bother me, nor does the extra length.  I intend to print it and put it on a bookshelf, perhaps carrying sections with me on the bus. It's linear nature means that I can divide into sections, and be sure that they include all the relevant information.  This is not true with the current version, where I have to print all 3 docs and bring the whole pile with me.

The duplication might be confusing, so we'd want to note some way that the sections are duplicated, perhaps listing the other places they appear.

I'm not proposing that this replace the current version, just that we provide an alternative (hmmm... where have I heard that before?).  Those who do mind the monster document still have the current (default) view.


From: [] On Behalf Of Gregg Vanderheiden
Sent: Thursday, May 18, 2006 5:18 AM
To: 'Tim Noonan'; 'WCAG-WG'
Subject: RE: the techniques document is hard to follow

We have referred to that as a "kitchen sink" version and we have talked about such a doc.  Remember however that many techniques are used in multiple success criteria so organizing them as suggested (interleaved) would result in many techniques being listed many times - making the monster file even larger.  The approach has usually been to break monster documents up.  And to layer presentations (as we have) so that relevant information is together rather than spread out.

Our plan though is to provide different forms so suggestions are welcome.


 -- ------------------------------
Gregg C Vanderheiden Ph.D.
Professor - Ind. Engr. & BioMed Engr.
Director - Trace R & D Center
University of Wisconsin-Madison
The Player for my DSS sound file is at <>

From: [] On Behalf Of Tim Noonan
Sent: Wednesday, May 17, 2006 11:38 PM
Subject: RE: the techniques document is hard to follow

Let me start by saying that In My first reading of the various documents, I was very pleased with the clarity of most of the wording and consistency of terminology, and I think you guys have really excelled in this regard.

To the topic at hand, though, I also am in strong support of a linearised complete document being available. For people who are sighted, it means a printable version, for people who are blind, it means a version that can be referenced from within a portable note-taker, electronic book reader etc.

I want to particularly emphasise the benefits of such a version , particularly for people using screen readers, because the process of traversing links, and then returning to where you left off, is quite time consuming, and screen readers are notorious for the time taken to stabilise, and return the reading pointer to the right place, or often they just lose it altogether, and start back at top of document.

I can also see some benefit in additional mark-up being available in one version of such a complete single document which textually indicates heading levels and overall structure.  For example, 1 2 3 or four asterisks preceding headings, respectively indicating the level of the heading.

This allows people to do searches for the requisite number of asterisks relating to the level of heading they wish to advance to.  It is an unfortunate reality that many of the note-takers in common use don't support HTML files as well as they do with more vanilla formats, and converting a document such as the guidelines to text, naturally loses the essential structural components like heading level.

 Great work with the draft!


Tim Noonan
Tim Noonan Consulting Pty Ltd: Excellence in Accessibility and Usability
+61 419 779 669

From: [] On Behalf Of Cynthia Shelly
Sent: Thursday, 18 May 2006 9:39 AM
To: Lisa Seeman; WCAG-WG
Subject: RE: the techniques document is hard to follow

I also find the techniques hard to follow, and my short-term memory is at least average.  I find it difficult to map the techniques to the SC they go with, and also with the principals and guidelines.  So, I find it difficult to understand what the technique is for, what problem it fixes, and how it fits into the whole.

There are a couple of things to address here:
1) Is this a usability issue or an accessibility issue?  That is, is this something that the guidelines should address?  I don't know the answer to this one, but I'd like to hear opinions.

2) How can we make our document set more usable?  I had similar problems when trying to understand and implement WCAG 1.0, and I don't think we have fixed them.   I have always thought that there needs to be an "all-in-one" document, with a structure something like this

Principal 1
    Guideline 1.1
        SC 1.1.1
            Understanding 1.1.1
        SC 1.1.2
            Understanding 1.1.2
    Guideline 1.2
        SC 1.2.1
            Understanding 1.2.1


I know this can't be the normative document, because the techniques aren't normative.  But, can we generate a view like this?  Some techniques would appear under more than one SC, but I think that's ok.  An arrangement like this makes it easier to understand how the pieces fit together. It also makes it possible to print the standard and read it in the absence of hypertext.  The current arrangement means that in order to understand a guideline on paper, you have to flip around in 3 different documents -- not a simple task if you're trying to read it on the bus!

Another option would be to include the SC text above the description for each technique.  That would help somewhat in understanding what SC a technique applies to, though I don't think it solves the problem of getting a global understanding, and I'm quite sure it doesn't address the read-on-bus scenario.


From: [] On Behalf Of Lisa Seeman
Sent: Monday, May 15, 2006 9:21 PM
Subject: the techniques document is hard to follow

I am currently reviewing the techniques document, and I think you need to know that it is really hard for me to follow.

This is an the acid test on whether following  the guidelines actually  mean that someone with a learning disability can access content. They don't.  Understand,  I review a lot of specifications  for the W3C as they get to last call (sometimes for ISO, Dublin core etc). Normally the concepts in the content are  much much harder, and just incase this could be any stronger, so far I was already familiar with every technique I have reviewed (which is why I can follow it at all).  But, because I have a disability, our  techniques document is the hardest to follow of any W3C specification I have reviewed.

 (The key problem is I do not have a reliable visual or auditory short term memory, so I can not track of what the success criteria numbers refer to. It is the same problem as acronyms and I am forever having to scroll or click to the guideline, miss my place, have trouble remembering where I was etc...)

The key point I am making:  We have followed our own guidelines including level three success criteria. But the result was not that the content was accessible to someone with a learning disability.

My 2 cents, is we need to lose the clame that we have written guildines that will make content accessibility to people with a learning and cognitive disabilities and then we need to start working on an extension checkpoint that does address the different needs of Learning styles. We need to do it like any difficult technical problem. We need to analyze the problems in depth, understand the issues, make a gap analysis, then innovate and come out with a solution, then we need to test it, and then write the guideline.

All the best

Received on Thursday, 18 May 2006 23:35:48 UTC