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RE: Level AA exceptions

From: Jonathan Avila <jon.avila@ssbbartgroup.com>
Date: Fri, 14 Aug 2015 01:59:45 +0000
To: Phill Jenkins <pjenkins@us.ibm.com>, WAI Interest Group <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Message-ID: <BY2PR03MB27249F7200676C6AF70B4989B7C0@BY2PR03MB272.namprd03.prod.outlook.com>
  So, should there be documentation added on the rationale for why a success criteria was assigned level AA (instead of A or AAA) to help practitioners better understand "how to apply level AA success criteria" as compared to applying Level A success criteria?

Phil, I worry that adding in this information for specific AA criteria might facilitate organizations or governing bodies cherry picking the Level AA success criteria that can be skipped.   In fact I'm very confident that if we said they weren't essential that is what would happen.


  So, that says to me that Level AA Success Criteria are not "essential",

I wouldn't say SC 2.4.7 Focus Visible is not essential.  Actually most of the others are essential too for different user groups (e.g. cognitive disabilities)- but as you point out have conflating factors such as the technological challenges, e.g. video description.  To a person who is blind or visually impaired video description may be absolutely required to understand a particular video and transcript is not equivalent.  That is if we say a transcript is not acceptable for a user who is deaf how can we say a transcript is acceptable for a person who is blind?


  should there be documentation added on the rationale for why a success criteria was assigned level AA (instead of A or AAA) to help practitioners better understand "how to apply level AA success criteria" as compared to applying Level A success criteria?

I'm not clear on how this would help practitioners better apply the success criteria.  There are already many techniques around applying the success criteria and the understanding documents provide good value - knowing that something is difficult to implement or may affect your visual design is something that depends on the framework and tools available and can vary widely.

What might be useful is to call out the specific checkpoints under level AA that must be evaluated across multiple pages of a site - consistent navigation, consistent labels, multiple ways, etc.  Testing/addressing these issues across sets of pages likely requires more attention from tests and developers and does not get the attention it deserves.

Best Regards,

Jonathan

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Jonathan Avila
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From: Phill Jenkins [mailto:pjenkins@us.ibm.com]
Sent: Thursday, August 13, 2015 8:42 PM
To: WAI Interest Group
Subject: Level AA exceptions

As more and more policies and regulations adopt both level A and AA and thereby place more of the responsibility and burden on the web content, the notion of the difference between and rationale for having Level A and AA is getting lost and misunderstood.

Is there still general consensus that there are interacting issue that need to be considered when applying Level AA Success Criteria to all web content and web applications?

See Understanding Levels of Conformance<http://www.w3.org/TR/UNDERSTANDING-WCAG20/complete.html#uc-levels-head> http://www.w3.org/TR/UNDERSTANDING-WCAG20/complete.html#uc-levels-head
"The Success Criteria were assigned to one of the three levels of conformance by the working group after taking into consideration a wide range of interacting issues. Some of the common factors evaluated when setting the level included:

  *   whether the Success Criterion is essential (in other words, if the Success Criterion isn't met, then even assistive technology can't make content accessible)
  *   whether it is possible to satisfy the Success Criterion for all Web sites and types of content that the Success Criteria would apply to (e.g., different topics, types of content, types of Web technology)
  *   whether the Success Criterion requires skills that could reasonably be achieved by the content creators (that is, the knowledge and skill to meet the Success Criteria could be acquired in a week's training or less)
  *   whether the Success Criterion would impose limits on the "look & feel" and/or function of the Web page. (limits on function, presentation, freedom of expression, design or aesthetic that the Success Criteria might place on authors)
  *   whether there are no workarounds if the Success Criterion is not met."

So, that says to me that Level AA Success Criteria are not "essential",  some may not always apply to all types of content (e.g. contrast on complex visualizations), some may require skills that cannot always be reasonably achieved by the content creators (e.g. video descriptions), and that it may impose limits on the "look & feel" and/or function (e.g. more images / less text), although I believe those success criteria imposing limits were identified as Level AAA.

In other words "...you are advocating that AA success criteria should have more 'wiggle room' than Level A Success Criteria" ?
Yes, because the working group reached consensus on making it level AA instead of Level A because of the wide range of interacting issues.  However, none of the supporting documents (Note1) have listed the specific "interacting issues" per individual success criteria for why it was assigned level AA or level AAA instead of level A.  Yes there are exceptions listed where appropriate for both Level A and AA Success Criteria, but those are not the all the issues discussed that caused the criteria to be assigned as AA instead of A.  Most if not all the "interacting issues" are logged deep in the e-mail archives of the working group.

So, should there be documentation added on the rationale for why a success criteria was assigned level AA (instead of A or AAA) to help practitioners better understand "how to apply level AA success criteria" as compared to applying Level A success criteria?   For example, should a non-normative section be added titled  "Rationale for assigning this SC to Level AA" be added  to the Understanding WCAG 2.0 guide?

Note 1: Supporting documents:
1. Understanding WCAG 2.0 http://www.w3.org/TR/UNDERSTANDING-WCAG20/complete.html
2. How to Meet WCAG 2.0 http://www.w3.org/WAI/WCAG20/quickref/

____________________________________________
Regards,
Phill Jenkins,
Received on Friday, 14 August 2015 02:00:22 UTC

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