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Re: Straw man list for WCAG.NEXT, another proposal...

From: Chaals McCathie Nevile <chaals@yandex-team.ru>
Date: Sat, 09 Apr 2016 02:04:51 +0200
To: "'David MacDonald'" <david@can-adapt.com>, 'WCAG' <w3c-wai-gl@w3.org>, 'WCAG' <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>, "'Andrew Kirkpatrick'" <akirkpat@adobe.com>, "John Foliot" <john.foliot@deque.com>
Message-ID: <op.yfmk5sfrs7agh9@widsith.local>
Hi David,

On Sat, 09 Apr 2016 01:02:55 +0200, John Foliot <john.foliot@deque.com>  
wrote:

> From: David MacDonald [mailto:david@can-adapt.com]

> I *don't* think we should be saying we'll have 2 or 3 new versions of  
> WCAG in the next 3 years...

I don't think we'd get 3 revisions in three years, although I must admit  
I'd like to believe we could do that. But I think a 2-year revision cycle  
is a reasonable aim.

> it is incredibly expensive and time consuming for stakeholders to update
> policy, legislation, and their web sites every year...

Sure. But first, they are not required to do so. WCAG 2.0, and for that  
matter WCAG 1.0 are likely to be available as reference targets for years  
to come.

And second, and to me more important, it is also expensive *not* to  
improve accessibility when we know how to do it.

The model for WCAG (except sometimes for triple-A requirements, although  
I'd like to see that change back in a few short years) is that every  
checkpoint improves accessibility for people, and that they are designed  
so that they don't do it at the expense of someone else.

WCAG doesn't set a minimum bar, it's a technical document explaining the  
requirements that we have worked out. So if we have worked out how to stop  
excluding some people from some of the Web, I think it is important to  
express that, as a latest version of the Recommendation.

In general, stakeholders aren't bound to "shift their goalposts", updating  
policy, technology, practice, etc, because we learned more about how to  
make the web work better.

In some places, WCAG (or some equivalent) is set as the requirements, and  
very rightly changes to those requirements can be made or not according  
local policy.

In others, and notably Australian and subsequently British discrimination  
law works like this, the requirement is to do what is necessary to remove  
barriers.

If we know there are things that can be done but don't explain them, we  
are holding back societies who are actively deciding to invest in ensuring  
the greatest possible participation, which it is our goal to facilitate  
with the necessary technical information.

As a final point, while it is indeed expensive to change things, the  
bigger the change the more expensive it is. If we make incremental  
updates, rather than dropping the massive shift that was understanding the  
change from WCAG 1.0 to WCAG 2.0, I think we'll be moving at approximately  
the natural "average" rate of development in the industry. Which will  
considerably ease the cost of adapting.

> if we're not ready to incorporate all the task force work then lets wait  
> to release the next version we are

I strongly suspect there is enough that we don't know how to do to keep  
the task forces busy for a decade working with today's technology - which  
will of course be superseded by then.

Meanwhile in a few years since WCAG 2.0 was more or less frozen, the  
explosion in the diversity of screen size and resolution means that I, who  
don't wear glasses when working, regularly have to use more than the  
WCAG-minimum 200% zoom in order to do my job. And the off-the-shelf tools  
I have all happily go beyond that 200%.

Likewise, the requirement for keyboard operability isn't actually what  
makes me able to use a small phone, and yet the technology and techniques  
are out there as reasonably common, but not universal, knowledge in the  
industry.

> Currently there is *no* model that says we will have one important 2.x  
> release that incorporates *all* the task force work. I think that needs  
> to be discussed... I put up a WIKI page here, and would like to see this  
> added to the straw man list...

It makes good sense to add it to the strawman list. That said, I don't  
believe we'll get to a situation in the next decade - any more than we  
have in the last - where we think we've really got everything nailed down  
and know it all. As the Web develops, we constantly need to work on new  
things, and on improving the things that we sort of fixed already, as we  
learn more about the gaps and how to do better.

cheers

Chaals

-- 
Charles McCathie Nevile - web standards - CTO Office, Yandex
  chaals@yandex-team.ru - - - Find more at http://yandex.com
Received on Saturday, 9 April 2016 00:05:31 UTC

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