W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > w3c-wai-ig@w3.org > January to March 2002

RE: Legal requirements RE: statistics

From: Kynn Bartlett <kynn-edapta@idyllmtn.com>
Date: Mon, 14 Jan 2002 17:49:53 -0800
Message-Id: <a05101025b86938d09ce8@[]>
To: Martin Sloan <martin.sloan@orange.net>, Harry Woodrow <harrry@email.com>, Denise Wood <Denise_Wood@operamail.com>, "w3c-wai-ig@w3.org" <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Cc: "charles@w3.org" <charles@w3.org>
At 12:55 AM +0000 1/15/02, Martin Sloan wrote:
>With regard to my 'preposterous' claims as to wether the WCAG guidelines
>are a 'recognized standard' (Kynn's words, not mine), I don't understand
>where Kynn is coming from. As Charles pointed out, the W3C guidelines have
>been recognised and accepted by the Australian courts. Whilst I appreciate
>that Kynn is American, this is, I understood, an international discussion
>forum and, with respect, the Australian courts *do* have jurisdiction in
>Australia. Besides, the argument in SOCOG is equally pertinent in the

Standard industry practice in web design is to create inaccessible
web sites.  Claiming that ignoring WCAG is unprofessional web
development is simply wrong, unless you mysteriously want to
characterize 95% of web development as "not standard industry
practice" and 5% (or less) of accessible designs as the only
valid web work being done.

>Kynn seems to have his head in the sand over this. Surely it is in
>everyone's best interests that there is some sort of recognised standard
>regarding accessible design.

Well, for starters, W3C recommendations aren't "recognized
standards" -- they're recommendations and are specifically NOT
international standards.  They are not created in the same way that
standards are created, and they are not issued by a standards body.
(The W3C is not an international standards-creating body.)

As to what degree this is "recognized", it's also very unclear that
WCAG has been formally recognized at all in any meaningful sense.
Yes, it has been adopted by some non-legislative committee in
Australia as correct for the Olympics, but that is far from saying
that there is global endorsement and recognition of WCAG!

>The world has moved on. SOCOG literally was
>groundbreaking and IS a world precedent.

Precedents don't create international standards. I'm not a lawyer,
but that much is certainly clear.

>In my article I did not state that
>the WCAG guidelines are law, but rather that they are *likely* to be held
>to be quasi-law and that it is surely wise to follow them.

Likely to be held as quasi-law?  Say what?  Obviously I am not
a lawyer -- as stated before -- but I would appreciate it if
you would define what exactly you mean by "quasi-law".

Would you likewise state that browser makers who do not enforce
the HTML 4.01 standard are likely to be found violation of quasi-
law?  If so, why haven't you filed suit against AOL/Time for
Netscape 4, anyway? :) [to tie back to another thread]  What about
web site designers whose pages don't violate?  Or who use tables
for layout, as does the W3C?  Or who don't illustrate their
pages with images to make content more comprehensible?  (As the
W3C again fails to do.)  I'm curious where you draw this line
on quasi-law liability, anyway.

>What is preposterous about that?

Well, for starters, you have to remember that not everyone believes
the right way to deal with accessibility is to march around saying
argument itself to be preposterous right there.  I can think of
very few arguments for web accessibility which are -more-
preposterous, frankly.


Kynn Bartlett <kynn@idyllmtn.com>                 http://kynn.com
Chief Technologist, Idyll Mountain            http://idyllmtn.com
Web Accessibility Expert-for-hire          http://kynn.com/resume
January Web Accessibility eCourse           http://kynn.com/+d201
Forthcoming: Teach Yourself CSS in 24 Hours
Received on Monday, 14 January 2002 21:06:50 UTC

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.4.0 : Friday, 17 January 2020 20:36:06 UTC