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RE: Standards vs. Guidelines (was: RE: Clear communication: (was RE: Re: Accessibility of "CHM" format resources)

From: Michael R. Burks <mburks952@worldnet.att.net>
Date: Wed, 8 Jun 2005 19:04:50 -0400
To: "'Mark D. Urban'" <docurban@nc.rr.com>, <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Message-ID: <E1Dg9be-00038v-9c@maggie.w3.org>


Nicely said!


Kick it up a knotch!

About time someone said it!


Mike Burks

-----Original Message-----
From: w3c-wai-ig-request@w3.org [mailto:w3c-wai-ig-request@w3.org] On Behalf
Of Mark D. Urban
Sent: Wednesday, June 08, 2005 10:11 AM
To: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
Subject: Standards vs. Guidelines (was: RE: Clear communication: (was RE:
Re: Accessibility of "CHM" format resources)

Stu and Jon bring up an interesting point - that is, why do people keep
pointing at the various WAI Guidelines as Standards?

The answer, of course, is that industry and governments use Standards all
the time, as mechanisms to ensure normative activity.  Without sounding like
the esteemed Mr. Gilman (who is without a doubt one of the most verbally
precise people I've met, in addition to being a great guy), what this means
in real life is that governments and industry need to have a measurable,
testable way to ensure that accessibility exists in a given web document,
and to what extent. 

When people note that accessibility is a quality, not a quantity - and
therefore not measurable except to an individuals' unique needs - one of two
things happen:

1)  Eyes roll and people say "Of course - I understand now"  and then they
go and use the automated tool and accept whatever comes out as a test and

2)  People agree, and then in frustration a specific user community (i.e.
Blind folks with JAWS) is used as the metric for accessibility.

So, the issue here for me (as both a regulator and an implementer) is that
the WAI has consistently failed to write measurable, testable standards FOR
definition, a "best practice" for any document on the Web in any form.  What
is needed is a Standard for HTML, XHTML, etc. that is specific, testable,
and measurable.  Such a Standard would be ideally submitted to ISO or
ANSI/INCITS for fast-track incorporation.  Regulators and industry could
then reference the Standard, making it easy to keep pace with changes in

Mark D. Urban
HHS 508 Project Manager
New Editions, Inc

-----Original Message-----
From: w3c-wai-ig-request@w3.org [mailto:w3c-wai-ig-request@w3.org] On Behalf
Of Stuart Smith
Sent: Wednesday, June 08, 2005 4:31 AM
To: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
Subject: RE: Clear communication: (was RE: Re: Accessibility of "CHM" format


That isn't always the case. It's about how you fight the fight. If we start
off believing all is lost then we are!

This is more than contracts (as necessary as they are), if we don't tackle
this problem now it will become imbedded.

OK but for the bean counters out there. Let's put this problem in that

If the current situation i.e. turning Guidelines into standards becomes the
norm and therefore all that organisations will do. At some point a disabled
user faced with a  "compliant" but un-usable web site will launch the law
suit. Then the house of cards will come tumbling down. The wizards will soon
loose those govt contracts because their magic no longer works i.e. lost
business, lost revenue.

So that's the marketing dealt with. But I still say the real tragedy will be
thousands locked out of the system and turned increasingly into second class


-----Original Message-----
From: w3c-wai-ig-request@w3.org [mailto:w3c-wai-ig-request@w3.org] On Behalf
Of Jon Hanna
Sent: 08 June 2005 10:20
To: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
Subject: Re: Clear communication: (was RE: Re: Accessibility of "CHM" format

Stuart Smith wrote:
> ---Then in that case Jon isn't time we shrugged our image of being
wizards? I never liked it anyway :) I think the fight is worth having to try
to make sure the Guidelines don't become the be all and end all of
accessibilty. The people we are trying to help deserve better.

The "wizards" get the govt. contracts though.

Jon Hanna

"It is the most shattering experience of a young man's life when he awakes
and quite reasonably says to himself, 'I will never play The Dane.'"
Received on Wednesday, 8 June 2005 23:05:09 UTC

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