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Re: charter update with two year cycle

From: John Foliot <john.foliot@deque.com>
Date: Sat, 8 Oct 2016 11:42:34 -0500
Message-ID: <CAKdCpxzeNzX_rHmyYEbVm41tHG=_Q6ZUQ412nFNU=b=yCPgNWA@mail.gmail.com>
To: Gregg Vanderheiden <gregg@raisingthefloor.org>
Cc: GLWAI Guidelines WG org <w3c-wai-gl@w3.org>
​​Gregg wrote:

> Neither
​> We are not regulators and don’t create regulations.
​> ​
What we are creating are not technical standards.
​> We are working on voluntary GUIDELINES - that may be adopted by
regulations - or not.    In fact they may be used in many different ways.

Thanks Gregg, that's exactly the point: we are working on *voluntary*
Guidelines, and this working group needs to keep doing that. At some point,
regulators, commercial companies, even governmental organizations, will
take up and use our Guidelines, either because they are mandated to do so,
or because they choose to do so because they are smart (<grin>): They
recognize all of the benefits we've been telling them they get when they
apply our guidelines to their content. Yes, that includes ensuring content
is accessible to PwD, but they also get the SEO benefits, and the increased
ROI that inclusive design brings, and all the other "Fireman" reasons we
bring to the table (and not just the "Cop" ones...)

Which then begs the question: do we wait until we've processed *all* the
new proposed SC in one big batch, or do we release them piece-meal as they
are ready, so that those new *voluntary* (standardized) Guidelines can be
voluntarily taken up with a high level of assurance by those entities that
*want* to do so?

Clearly, it is obvious that is how *I* feel, and (I believe) many others do
as well: ship what's ready against a well known public schedule, and keep
working on the rest. By establishing a cadence of regular updates every 2
years, we establish a pattern that stakeholders can work with, around, or
ignore, as they choose: but we keep shipping them every 2 years as they are
"ready" - in batches, and on schedule.

Meanwhile, David wrote:

> it seems that in the case of committing to a 2 year cycle in the Charter,

David, I think right there, I've identified a possible communication issue:
we aren't "committing" to anything beyond the deliverables in the draft
charter (https://www.w3.org/2016/09/draft-wcag-charter#normative) which
covers a 2 or 3 year timespan. Specifically, we would be committing to:

   1. Releasing WCAG 2.1 (and in this Charter's timeline *ONLY* 2.1 - work
   on 2.2 would be a normative deliverable in the subsequent Charter)
   2. Accessibility Conformance Testing Framework 1.0
   3. FPWD of "Silver" (this is still a TBD, but I believe we should get
   this into the Draft as well)

That's it, nothing more.

The 2-year cycle language is there to express *INTENT*, because we know
that this effort (whether completing Silver, or continuing to add SC that
are coming from the TFs now, and from other groups in the future) will take
more than the timeframe of the current charter (2 or 3 years). It's part of
our plan and thinking for *AFTER* this Charter we are working on now
lapses; we're saying that we recognize that accessibility guidance will
continue to evolve, as our industry and technologies do, and that we plan
on avoiding getting into the kind of "trap" we are in now, with a dated (if
still robust) Guideline that has huge gaps to fill today, and also dealing
with a significant backlog. Providing this kind of "Vision Statement" was
recommended to some of us at the TPAC meetings, and providing that kind of
Vision Statement in no way locks us into that pattern, but it does
recognize we need to operate differently, more adroitly (agile?), and that
we will, as a perennial Working Group, continue to provide this type of
Guidance both short and long-term.

I think that point is critical as well: The traditional W3C Working Group
process sees most WG's produce a spec while in Charter, and then the WG
"disappears". We've seen that with the HTML5 WG (it is gone, morphed into
the Web Apps WG), and closer to home the UAAG WG and ATAG WG have also been
wrapped up. But we don't see that happening (God forbid) to this WG, so it
is helpful to signal to the larger W3C our intent.

Finally, Bruce wrote:

> I  think a two year cycles is very challenged to find a sweet spot.
Imagine 2.2 comes out has 20+ new SC.  Or imagine 2.2 comes out and has
exactly one new SC, because we are committed to being boxed by the calendar
-- since that is part of agile.  Either way, I think people's reaction will
be like, "Thanks, I will wait for 3.0."

Two thoughts: first, given the complexity of producing robust new Success
Criteria (and all the other attendant requirements around that, like
Understanding documents, and Techniques) I personally don't think we'll
ever get to batches of 20 per release (but maybe I'm wrong - we don't know
yet), but even if we are down to batches of 5 or 6, why is that a problem?
And if, down the road, we do arrive at a point where we're only releasing
one new SC at a cycle, either we're an awesome group that have covered
everything in a very short timeframe, or technology has decided to stop -
Moore's Law has burned out. (I don't really expect either of those
scenarios myself however).

Meanwhile,  if a company or org *voluntarily* decides to wait for 3.0,
then... wait for 3.0.

However, others may in fact choose to voluntarily take up the new SC in a
2.1, or a 2.2, and even for those organizations who will wait to mandate a
3.0 until it is ready, the newly minted dot-X SC could always be taken up
as "Best Practices" - in fact I suspect that this will likely be the
majority position for many organizations in the early days, especially
immediately after the release of 2.1. That's not necessarily a bad thing
BTW, but again, those orgs would be working with 'standardized' and
'vetted' requirements that will "someday" be the actual requirements in
their world, so perhaps they (the organizations contemplating what to do)
will "future-proof" themselves by voluntarily taking up the new SC now. I
can't see any downside here.

> I would like to let the group know that my management has quelled my
personal anxiety about the charter mentioning 2.1.
> So no, talking about WCAG 2.1 does not have any potential to disrupt the
Section 508 process.

I'm very glad to hear this, and I hope you aren't "Freaking Out" any
longer. My offer of good scotch however remains, and I hope we can follow
through on that in the near future.



On Fri, Oct 7, 2016 at 3:14 PM, Gregg Vanderheiden <
gregg@raisingthefloor.org> wrote:

> On Oct 7, 2016, at 3:55 PM, John Foliot <john.foliot@deque.com> wrote:
> Which raises a fundamental question: is this group working on a regulatory
> standard or a technical standard?
> Neither
> We are not regulators and don’t create regulations.
> What we are creating are not technical standards.
> We are working on voluntary GUIDELINES - that may be adopted by
> regulations - or not.    In fact they may be used in many different ways.
> G

John Foliot
Principal Accessibility Strategist
Deque Systems Inc.

Advancing the mission of digital accessibility and inclusion
Received on Saturday, 8 October 2016 16:43:06 UTC

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