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RE: Heads up: please review these documents by end of Wednesday

From: Bailey Bruce <Bailey@Access-Board.gov>
Date: Wed, 16 May 2007 07:25:32 -0400
Message-ID: <23EB0B5A59FF804E9A219B2C4EF3AE3DA48881@Access-Exch.Access-Board.gov>
To: "WCAG" <w3c-wai-gl@w3.org>
> There are two documents that we would like the working group to review
before they are publicly released this week
> 1) The discussion page for the alternate versions editorial note,
available at http://www.w3.org/WAI/GL/2007/05/alternate-versions.html

Substantive:  I think the first group of bullets for "Why permit
alternate versions?" is missing an "item zero".  This would be the place
to directly address David's recent question on a call (paraphrasing I am
sure):  "Does anyone really think it is acceptable for WCAG-conformant
sites to post inaccessible content?"  Several of us answered strongly in
the affirmative.  The existing three bullets list the best, most
defensible reasons for why it is necessary to permit alternative
versions, but the most common (albeit weakest) excuses are omitted.  So
here is a draft attempt (which points out the elephant in the room, with
appropriate contempt):

	Many sites which are committed to accessibility have large
quantities of legacy documents posted in proprietary formats.  While the
information has been made available in accessible formats, there would
be significant institutional resistance and procedural obstacles to
removing these files en mass.  Some organizations, especially
governmental bodies, give undue precedence to traditional print-oriented
processes.  Even as these bureaucracies have adapted to Internet
publishing and embraced the need for accessible formats, they still
internalize a obsolete paper mindset and often insist on formats
designed for hard copy as the "primary" version (even for documents that
are only ever "published" electronically).  The Working Group feels
these deprecated habits can be tolerated, perhaps merely under the guise
of freedom of expression, so long as accessible versions are readily

Substantive:  I am of the opinion that this page should also raise the
possibility, and associated complications, with considering a tiered
approach to conformance criteria claims:  Option 1 is required for
Triple A, Option 2 for Double A, Option 3 is acceptable for Single A.
Editorial:  1. Disadvantages:  To User: [currently blank]  Three of the
four sufficient techniques currently identified involve redirection
(intercepting or blocking) of off-site request for inaccessible content.
This will be a minor annoyance to the majority of all users, including
those users of assistive technology who can use the non-conforming
Editorial:  2. Sufficient techniques might include: 6. ... or the web
page title <del>if that is readily accessible from the non-conforming
page</del>.  (I understand and appreciate that this edit is
Editorial:  3. Advantages:  To User: [currently blank]  This is pretty
much the status quo for sites that have nominal commitment to
accessibility, especially when accessibility (including WCAG 1.0 Single
A) is imposed by an authority.  As such, it is the behavior that end
users who require the accessible version have come to expect.  Their
search strategies and habits incorporate the need to find a linking
resource and the confidence in knowing that accessible alternative
versions should be readily available (so that not much time is wasted
for searches that are likely not to be successful).
Minor Editorial (typo):  Will they all be able to user them?
Minor Editorial:  Document title currently is "Validity and
Accessibility".  Ah, sweet memories!
Received on Wednesday, 16 May 2007 11:23:23 UTC

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