Re: Request to Strengthen the HTML5 Accessibility Design Principle

Hi Ian,

>> We request that the accessibility design principle be disambiguated and
>> strengthened by replacing it with the following definition text and two
>> examples:
>> "We will design all features so as to ensure that they are accessible to
>> users with disabilities.

> I strongly agree with this.

That’s great.

>> To this end, we will look to the W3C WAI groups for guidance, listen to
>> their advice, and collaborate with them to reach mutually agreeable
>> accessibility solutions.
> I agree with this also.

That’s great too.

> Note that "listen to" does not mean "obey", and
> "mutually agreeable accessibility solutions" may not be those that the WAI
> groups initially propose.

This is correct.

> As far as I can tell, the proposed text matches what the working group has
> been doing already.

What has been missing in principle and in practice in that specific
portion of the proposal is *collaborating with WAI  groups* to reach
*mutually agreeable* accessibility solutions. Lack of collaboration
has impeded mutually agreeable issue resolution.

For example, on Bruce Lawson's  "Alternate text in HTML 5" blog post
regarding CG Consensus Resolutions on Text alternatives in HTML 5,
Anne van Kesteren commented [1]:

> Having looked at the document I am disappointed that it is just
>  a list of recommendations we are supposed to take for granted(?)
> without providing any kind of rationale.
> In my view it does not really address the critical questions that
> have been raised e.g. regarding longdesc but just states how that
>  group of people think things should work.
> On IRC this was characterized as A) “I’d like you to do X” B)
> “There are some issues with X, e.g. …” A) “I’d like you to do X”.
>  That is no way of having a discussion in my opinion.

Besides the Text Alternatives issue [2] there has been no
collaboration between WAI and HTML WG on following issues in the past
two years.

The table headers issue [3] is the only progress that has happened
with the accessibility issues. That took people from PF and the HTML
WG actually talking, truly debating, and collaborating at a
face-to-face meeting. I think that collaboration is about only way to
move the accessibility issues forward.

People need to respect each other. IRC and the blogs aren't helping.
The comments are vicious [4] [5].

If HTML5 is going to be accessible, people are going to have to work
together. Everyone has something to bring to the table. Youth can
bring energy and fresh knowledge. Older people can offer experience
and wisdom that can only come from years of real life experience.

The HTML and WAI working groups should be collaborating, reaching
higher, and seeking/finding ways of advancing accessibility
solutions…not merely trying to maintain the status quo and trying to
prevent regression due to removal of features without functional

The primary markup language of the World Wide Web should be aiming to
extend the range of communication and make the web more accessible.
Can the groups work together in a sincere effort to make HTML 5 the
best solution ever for everyone including people with disabilities?

Best Regards,


Laura L. Carlson

Received on Wednesday, 24 June 2009 06:32:45 UTC