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Re: Is it 2 or 3 years that WCAG will be updated? - I thought it was approx. 3

From: Andrew Kirkpatrick <akirkpat@adobe.com>
Date: Wed, 9 Nov 2016 17:03:16 +0000
To: "McSorley, Jan" <jan.mcsorley@pearson.com>, WCAG <w3c-wai-gl@w3.org>
Message-ID: <B1C04630-BED9-47AA-8622-8D0AFC8F4621@adobe.com>
I think that whether a person tends toward the “publish WCAG when it is done/ready” view or toward the “publish WCAG quickly and keep producing updates” view that the goal is the same – to help ensure that high-quality standards are available to make content accessible for as many people as possible. As such, I believe that we have a solid shared goal that underlies all of our work.

WCAG 2.0 was originally chartered in 2000 (http://www.w3.org/WAI/GL/new-charter-2000.html). This 18-month charter listed the WCAG 2.0 Recommendation as a deliverable. I cannot find a rechartering in 2002, but in 2004 it was rechartered (ending in 2006), in January 2008 the charter was extended to June 2008, in November 2008 the charter was extended to December 2008, and additional charter extensions were given in April 2009, June 2010, July 2013, and in February/May/July/August 2015. In September 2015 the group was finally rechartered for normative work (Extensions) and is now rechartering to focus on WCAG 2.1.

The eight years from being chartered in 2000 to December 2008 when WCAG 2.0 was published was too long. At the time the group believed that it was creating a standard that needed to be comprehensive in order to stand the test of time so the process was extended again and again. In hindsight, we see that technology moves at too rapid a pace for any standard to expect to retain a high level of impact on user experiences. The W3C believes this too and has no patience for overly-lengthy standards development processes. During the 8 years that WCAG was chartered leading up to the release of WCAG 2.0 there was effectively no benefit to end users realized from the working group.

I believe that the work of the group needs to be available to the public as part of a standard on a much more regular basis (I’m not saying 2 years or 3 years here though). Can we be comprehensive in 2 years? No. Can we be comprehensive in 8 years? No. Can we have a positive impact in 2 years? Absolutely, and we can build on what we release in 2 years additional times before we reach a 5 year, 8 year, or longer timeframe, and have incremental positive impact on users each time.

To answer the question, how frequently will WCAG be updated, the answer is that we aren’t sure yet. We may be sure that the W3C is not going to allow long stretches of time, and we should be all thinking about how we can make the process faster without sacrificing quality.

As a side note, today a note was sent to the chairs from the process group that highlighted how fast a group can get to Rec status.  The “easy” schedule was 11 months and the “aggressive” schedule was 6 months. At two years we more than double the “easy” schedule…


Andrew Kirkpatrick
Group Product Manager, Standards and Accessibility


From: "McSorley, Jan" <jan.mcsorley@pearson.com<mailto:jan.mcsorley@pearson.com>>
Date: Wednesday, November 9, 2016 at 09:44
To: WCAG <w3c-wai-gl@w3.org<mailto:w3c-wai-gl@w3.org>>
Subject: Re: Is it 2 or 3 years that WCAG will be updated? - I thought it was approx. 3
Resent-From: WCAG <w3c-wai-gl@w3.org<mailto:w3c-wai-gl@w3.org>>
Resent-Date: Wednesday, November 9, 2016 at 09:45

I am new to this working group and while I find this conversation interesting, I am left wondering why this group is not focusing more on the issue of fairness to the end user, rather than timeliness for release.  If this group focuses on what is fair and what should be included, then I believe that the process for consensus will drive the release. Isn't that what makes the W3C effective, powerful, and international?

I don't have time to devote to writing emails as long as War and Peace - or even to thoroughly reading those types of emails, but I will say that people with disabilities all over the world need knowledgeable people like those found on this list to come together and provide leadership that maintains a commitment to fairness for everyone.

In my newbie state, I think the focus should be on doing what is right and trying to ensure that we are thinking about the effects on the end user when we release something that may or may not provide provisions for populations of people who are underserved and have no voice.  Should there be a general goal for when updates should be done?  Yes.  Should that goal be more important than ensuring that the needs of whole populations of people with disabilities are addressed?  No.  If an update to the standards makes time more important than fairness, then I think the entire purpose for a body like this has been compromised.

Jan McSorley

VP, Accessibility
Psychometrics and Testing Services

400 Center Ridge Drive, Suite E
Austin, TX  78753

M - (512) 673-9569

Twitter: @Jan_McSorley
Skype:  jan.mcsorley

Learn more at pearson.com<http://pearson.com>


We put a man on the moon in the 1960's ... surely we can make information technology fully accessible to people with disabilities.  It can be done ... it must be done ... it will be done!

On Tue, Nov 8, 2016 at 10:42 PM, Chakravarthula, Srinivasu <srchakravarthula@informatica.com<mailto:srchakravarthula@informatica.com>> wrote:
Absolutely. Even I do accessibility because of the passion and impact that it creates.

We can look at short term or little long term releases; but it should be reasonable time frame for our users. They should not feel either "Oh, W3C is changing guidelines often" or "Oh, technology has changed so much and accessibility guidelines do not match to current technologies"... We need to have that balance.


Best regards,
Srinivasu Chakravarthula
Lead Accessibility Consultant
Informatica Business Solutions Pvt Ltd.,
Work: +91-80-4020-3760 | Cell: +91 99008 10881
Website | Accessibility Blog | LinkedIn | Twitter

-----Original Message-----
From: Katie Haritos-Shea GMAIL [mailto:ryladog@gmail.com<mailto:ryladog@gmail.com>]
Sent: Wednesday, November 09, 2016 6:56 AM
To: tink@tink.uk<mailto:tink@tink.uk>; 'Jonathan Avila' <jon.avila@ssbbartgroup.com<mailto:jon.avila@ssbbartgroup.com>>; 'WCAG' <w3c-wai-gl@w3.org<mailto:w3c-wai-gl@w3.org>>
Subject: RE: Is it 2 or 3 years that WCAG will be updated? - I thought it was approx. 3


LEONIE: Some people find legislation a compelling reason to do accessibility, other people do not.

​​​​​Katie: I am not one of them. I do not *do* accessibility because of legislation. I do it because I believe it is the right thing to do, and I am happy that in the US it is recognized as a civil right for people to have access.

In the US though, legislation enables that access......

LEONIE: we can either move slowly and make everyone wait, or we can move more quickly and enable everyone to adopt the new guidance as and when it suits them best.

Katie: I personally have never said we need to make user *wait for government*. I have said we should take into account the requirments that governments have to adopt standards. 'Take into account' does not mean don't move forward.

I do expect that we have the same goals long term, but I am looking at this through my US lense..........:-)

* katie *

Katie Haritos-Shea
Principal ICT Accessibility Architect (WCAG/Section 508/ADA/AODA)

Cell: 703-371-5545 | ryladog@gmail.com<mailto:ryladog@gmail.com> | Oakton, VA | LinkedIn Profile | Office: 703-371-5545 | @ryladog

-----Original Message-----
From: Léonie Watson [mailto:tink@tink.uk<mailto:tink@tink.uk>]
Sent: Tuesday, November 8, 2016 7:44 PM
To: Jonathan Avila <jon.avila@ssbbartgroup.com<mailto:jon.avila@ssbbartgroup.com>>; WCAG <w3c-wai-gl@w3.org<mailto:w3c-wai-gl@w3.org>>
Subject: Re: Is it 2 or 3 years that WCAG will be updated? - I thought it was approx. 3

Some people find legislation a compelling reason to do accessibility, other people do not. I work for a US accessibility agency, and also for the UK Government, so I witness both these attitudes on a first-hand and daily basis.

So may I suggest we stop discussing whether accessibility exists despite legislation or in spite of it, and accept the fact that we should consider people in both groups.

Let's look at the people who depend on legislation first. It took Germany about three years to adopt WCAG 2.0, it took Canada five years to do it (except for the bits they didn't adopt), the EU might get around to it next year (but only for public sector websites), it's anyone's guess whether the US will ever upgrade from WCAG 1.0, and the UK doesn't reference WCAG at all.

So we have one group of people waiting an entirely unpredictable amount of time for their respective governments to decide if, when, and how much of any new guidance they will adopt. That's ok though, because they will continue to use the current legislative requirements for region whilst they wait.

Now let's look at the people who do not depend on legislation. They will adopt new guidance as it is released, and if there is even the smallest chance that they will use that guidance to make things better for disabled and older people on the web, why would we make them wait?

So the choice seems straight-forward to me... we can either move slowly and make everyone wait, or we can move more quickly and enable everyone to adopt the new guidance as and when it suits them best.

@LeonieWatson tink.uk<http://tink.uk> Carpe diem

Received on Wednesday, 9 November 2016 17:03:58 UTC

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