Thursday, January 31, 2008

WCAG2 objections, threats, unprintables

Jonathan Chetwynd posted the formal objections against WCAG2 on the bbc backstage mailing-list

WCAG 2.0 claims to define and address the requirements for making Web content accessible to those with learning difficulties, cognitive limitations and others. We object to that claim.

Specifically, the success criteria requirements for making content understandable ignore the needs of people with learning difficulties and cognitive limitations. Please note that there are guidelines published by other groups that will make content much more accessible to these users. However, with the WCAG claim to address learning difficulties and cognitive limitations, people will not know that they need to look further.

We would like to see continued work in this field and a statement in the WCAG 2.0 abstract and introduction modifying the claim that they currently address accessibility for learning disabilities. Specifically, we recommend removing learning difficulties and cognitive limitations from the list of supported disabilities. A sentence may be added later in the abstract that “these guidelines may also provide some benefits for people with learning difficulties and cognitive limitations”. We would then like to see a statement of intent such as: “the working group intends to build additional success criteria to address accessibility for learning disabilities and cognitive limitations.”

The aim of the objection is that:

a, The working group understands that WCAG 2.0 dose not provide all the requirements for access for cognitive limitations, and b, they continue work on an extension guideline that will address these needs.

The good news is that this effort is already being taken seriously by the WCAG co-chairs. It is not being seen or understood as campaigning but as a constructive criticism aimed to making a better and fairer set of guidelines. The more signatures we get now, the better the case will be made.

Meanwhile Joe Clark vents out some anger in To Hell with WCAG 2

The W3C’s Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) are about to be updated for the first time since 1999. Joe Clark takes a close look at WCAG 2 and reports back.

Read if you really care about an accessible web.

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