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Re: UNS: Re: WCAG considering amending F65 to NOT fail missing ALT text if title or aria-label is present

From: Jared Smith <jared@webaim.org>
Date: Tue, 26 Nov 2013 08:16:02 -0700
Message-ID: <CAMfKODAw9RNU4TpjWWXO2A+SZhPeoFDKQL1NYwfkZM0OanreSg@mail.gmail.com>
To: David MacDonald <david100@sympatico.ca>
Cc: Steve Faulkner <faulkner.steve@gmail.com>, Adrian Roselli <Roselli@algonquinstudios.com>, Janina Sajka <janina@rednote.net>, HTML Accessibility Task Force <public-html-a11y@w3.org>, WCAG WG <w3c-wai-gl@w3.org>, public-comments-wcag20@w3.org, Gregg Vanderheiden <gv@trace.wisc.edu>, kirsten@can-adapt.com
I will attempt a response to these lists, but am unsure if I'm allowed
as I'm not a working group member.

David MacDonald wrote:
> This statement actually demonstrates a lack of distinction
> between a validation error and a WCAG error

As I noted in my blog comment, the working group needs to clarify if
techniques failures always mean normative failures. There are already
several conflicting statements on this in this very thread. Gregg
wrote, "FAILUREs are things that are ALWAYs failures.", meaning that
techniques failures ALWAYS indicate normative failures, yet others
have indicated this to not be true and that "techniques are not
normative". Until this is resolved, one cannot know the implications
of F65 or any other failure modification.

>> WCAG is simply becoming a codification of "what works
>> today" versus "recommendations for making Web content
>>  more accessible" (sentence one of the WCAG 2.0
>> document).
> The two are not mutually exclusive, if it doesn’t work today,
> then we cannot make a technique to advocate for it.

Yet we have several ARIA and HTML5 technologies (such as labeling,
landmarks, etc.) that "work today", yet match techniques failures. And
if technique failure = normative failure, then the use of ARIA to
provide accessibility in these ways is ALWAYS a normative failure
until such implementations reach some nebulous level of sufficient
support, at which time the working group rewrites the failure to allow
such technologies.

In short, this requires the community to reach a sufficient level of
WCAG normative failure in order for it to no longer be a deemed a WCAG

So how can this conundrum be addressed? I think there are probably
only two ways. 1) Clearly define that techniques failures are not
always normative failures, and/or 2) remove the reliance on sufficient
AT and UA support, thus allowing techniques/failures to be
forward-looking and innovative. Both would allow authors to determine
whether support is sufficient on their own (with WCAG guidance). Until
either or both of these occur, we'll be stuck with this conundrum and
will have WCAG techniques that inhibit implementation of new
technologies for accessibility.

> Further, I suggest Jared join our group and help write
> them so there can be a quicker turn around ... we *are*
> a volunteer group like every other Spec...

I would love to contribute formally, but the W3C has repeatedly made
it clear that the terms of formal participation are in direct legal
conflict with my broader contributions to the field and my employment.
I'd be happy to discuss this OFF LIST.

Jared Smith
Received on Tuesday, 26 November 2013 15:16:29 UTC

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