Shawn: Let's get started, we have only one item on the agenda today, the consideration of the first public Working Draft of "Improving Access to Government through Better use of the Web" developed by the eGovernment Interest Group. They have put it out for public comment and EO should prepare formal comments as well as spread the word to the general public that it is out.
Shawn: There are two aspects of this discussion. First is the observation that William and Sharron have submitted about an underlying mis-approach to the subject within this document. It may be valid, but from the EO perspective, that is not our task. Others can address the underlying approach as individuals. The second aspect and the one that EO will focus on is the treatment of accessibility issues within the document and where accessibility references are appropriate but may have been left out.
Alan I read William's comments and agree with the tone seeming to be a communication from on high. They use rather unfortunate wording.
Sharron: The language is so opaque that it becomes itself a barrier. I think a strong case can be made that as it is now, it violates the guidelines about clear language.
Wayne: And there was an awful lot of passive voice in the document.
Shawn: OK, so lets begin to narrow in on these comments and find specifics. If we first target the parts of the document where and how they address accessibility,older users and PWD, then we may decide to broaden the discussion later in the call.
William: That works for me. I searched the document for the word accessibility and the first reference scares me.
Wayne: That is a good approach and we should be sure to write our comments in clear, straightforward writing.
Andrew: Yes, to model what we are recommending.
Shawn: Sharron, since you will gather the comments, do you want to lead the discussion?
Sharron: Please lead the discussion Shawn.
Shawn: First thing to know is that this is in review by W3C staff and second we will ask governmental committees to review also. That may be the best way to address the additional issues we are seeing. To see how different comments and perspectives appear. This is a public draft anyone can comment on. Sharron do we need to clarify for others. Or send to WAI IG?
<Shawn> ACTION: Shawn think about sending Do cto IG and others for review [recorded in http://www.w3.org/2009/03/27-eo-minutes.html#action01]
Shawn: The WAI Protocols and Formats working group reviews the technical specifications to cover accessibility. This falls under us - the EO group - to answer.
...Any other over all questions?
... Let's go through uses of accessibility and also disability, Web Accessibility, WAI work, etc.
William: The first sentence is bad.
Andrew: The first one heading of Web Standards heading.
<Shawn> "Provide input on how to ease standards compliance: use previous successful experiences in terms of broad government use (such as the Web Accessibility Initiative work) to identify ways for standard bodies to better speak in terms of government needs; for example, additional effort to package, promote, and train on best practices and existing material and tools."
William: The first thing before the colon is the problem.
Sharron: They have the cart before the horse - make it easier for government rather than have government adhere to standards. For better e-government we must ease standards compliance?
Andrew: I think they are suggesting to use what WAI has done to help with standards compliance.
Jack: I think they meant that it would be easier for governments to enforce.
Sharron: I tried to read it that way, but it is not at all clear. In fact the language suggests that it is the responsibility of standards bodies to make the job of government less arduous by easing standards.
Wayne: Best Practices are not standards and they seem to be suggesting that they are.
Andrew: If you look at WAI the best practices for 2009 are the WCAG Techniques, which are informative and not normative.
Sharron: The document is not at all clear.
Andrew: I agree.
Jack: I agree the document is not clear. A huge amount of ambiguity. Even those of us in EO familiar with the concepts and language don't know what it means.
Wayne: They seem to be saying to ease standards. I think of civil rights for PWD balanced against the concept of regulatory restraint. We absolutely do not want to see restraint removed.
Shawn: One author is not a native English speaker which may contribute to the language issue. I am confident that the authors do NOT want to water down the standards. We want to tell them this could be interpreted this way. Let's clarify this and they may not realize this is serious.
...provide input about "how to ease requirements" can be interpreted to mean easing standards.
Wayne: I would rather not use regulatory restraint, which implies removing standards.
<Sharron> ACTION: Sharron "provide input on how to ease standards compliance" draft group response that indicates our perception that that wording can mean backing off and watering down standards. [recorded in http://www.w3.org/2009/03/27-eo-minutes.html#action02]
Shawn: Yes, indicate that we have a serious concern for the possibility of misunderstanding.
Andrew: They mean the right thing though.
Shawn: Is there any disagreement with what I was saying?
... I am almost positive they mean to say to develop the standard and then provide additional support to make it easier to comply with the standards. Sharron could you draft something up on that?
... We approach this by saying we have a serious concern this could misinterpreted. And then suggest wording for what we think they mean. They need be more specific. The Web Accessibility Initiative work, provide the techniques, or whatever is useful from what we do. We would like them to use the acronym of WAI and link to our home page.
<Wayne> The danger is that "ease standards compliance" means to "ease". Any easing of standards would exclude well identified groups of people with disabilities.
Shawn: Is there anything else on this section?
... NOTE: "ease standards compliance" could be misinterpreted to mean "easing standards", whereas we assume you mean "making it easier to comply with standards"
Andrew: government implementation.
<Andrew> Would be better to speak in terms of government needs > better support for govt implementation
Shawn: Here is one thing we need to say. Maybe at the beginning or very end of the comments The issues are so serious we want to see another draft before the final publishing. The group will make every effort to respond to any comment. We need to be clear we want to see another draft.
<Sharron> ACTION: Sharron include introductory phrase "The issues in this draft are so serious that we would really like to see another draft before the final is published." [recorded in http://www.w3.org/2009/03/27-eo-minutes.html#action03]
Jack: Actually I would like to focus on the bottom paragraph. The one where it says the long sentence, provide input ...in terms of broad government use. The last part of that sentence to provide standards ...to train on Best Practices and tools. They were trying to talk about promoting Web Accessibility they talk about better ways to speak on government to ease practices. We might want to them to say like example web accessibility. Sharron says how
... the last sentence is extremely unclear. To add some bite with some ways to do it.
Sharron: You think it would be improved by having some examples?
Jack: That might be one way. I think it is clumsily written and unclear. The first part of the idea of easing standards is one focus, but also equally how can we clarify how government can promote and give examples. I am not sure how to clarify that last sentence. This is where and how goverment should be involved.
Sharron: I agree completely to clarify that last part.
Shawn: Ok let Sharron take a pass at that. And then we review.
<Sharron> ACTION: Sharron to incorporate these suggestions into a draft and submit to group for approval. [recorded in http://www.w3.org/2009/03/27-eo-minutes.html#action04]
Andrew: I have been reading on from where we were. The third paragraph, do we want to suggest PWD and older people and mention and say that is one way to increase citizens use of government services.
Shawn: Let's go to where we think this fits. Let's hold that as one in the queue.
<Sharron> ACTION: Sharron to look at "Identify ways to increase citizenship participation" and "increase citizens and businesses use of eGovernment services" for explicit inclusion of PWD and older users. [recorded in http://www.w3.org/2009/03/27-eo-minutes.html#action05]
<Shawn> Inclusive Access to Information
Shawn: The next section addresses inclusive access to information. That is the next reference people see. I'll put in IRC to have someone read.
<Shawn> How are the interests of those not on the internet protected? What about the rights of those with physical impairments? Many third party social networking and community Web sites do not adhere to the high standards of accessibility that government Web sites are required to attain, in many countries by law.
Shawn: Do we say what is wrong with this first?
Andrew: we should recognize the context of this paragraph. That access to information is a main barrier to accessibility.
Sharron: If they are trying to articulate barriers they could make that clearer.
... It would be useful to present it to them with the approach of "here is something you might want to be aware of in terms of the problems and potential for misunderstanding.
... let's list some point to educate them on. Inclusive action for accessibility is the heading.
... one point they are addressing is to consider the interests of those who are not yet on the internet. We should remind them that many people with disabilities are on the internet. They mention those with physical impairments - is this the right term - and then what about other disabilities? They say third party and community web sites, we could say in many cases the basic government sites don't adhere to accessibility.
... when they say the high standards of accessbility government must attain this makes it sound like it is a burden, Which we don't want to say.
Andrew: Should we give them any other examples of people not on the internet?
Sharron: I was wondering also. Lumping everyone else not on the internet with the needs of people with disabilities is confusing and not completely accurate.
Andrew: Yes, there is a wide range of people who not on the internet for reasons that do not have to do with disability.
Shawn: Perhaps we suggest that they explicitly have a section on PWD and older persons and if they want to mention others to have another section.
... Put that somewhere else.
Andrew: the digital divide issues.
Shawn: Andrew how do you say that?
... if you have other wording give to Sharron.
Wayne: When I was at the NFB there was so much internet use, even more than in other organizations of similar size.
Shawn: There might be much higher porportional use of the internet by PWD. Suggest something even more strong for accessbility to PWD and older users.
Wayne: I think no, moving accessbility to a barrier to access. They still need a section on access to information.
Sharron: If the idea here is to examine the conditions that prevent or discourage people from using the internet, it could make sense to have disability in the same larger section. But within that, it must be explicitly noted that there are specific needs for people with disabilities that can be addressed through accessibility and conformance to WCAG.
Andrew: They need to tease out the issues not in one sentence, or even one short paragraph - they need separate paras for each digital divide issue.
Shawn: Let's talk briefly about what we want them to say here?
Sharron: I have been keeping separate notes to help me summarize our concerns. I am adding the need to recognize that there are barriers other than disability. Point out the way this document can address disability and put it in context with the other barriers but distinct in its nature.
Shawn: We need to educate the editors. Suggestions for what this should say. What points do we suggest they get across?
Sharron: The main point within this section is that there are many barriers to government participation. Government standards exist but are not always implemented correctly. I'm not sure if want to explicitly list the different kinds of disabilities. Where it currently seems to regard compliance as a burden, we should encourage them to emphasize common, accepted standards and requirements.
Shawn: what are the main issues and limitations? Sites are not accessible. And by the way this impacts a broad range of disabilities. Fortunately there are standards that cover this and that are required.
<Shawn> ACTION: Sharron for the rewrite of "Inclusive Access to Information", see <http://www.w3.org/WAI/intro/accessibility.php> [recorded in http://www.w3.org/2009/03/27-eo-minutes.html#action06]
Shawn: Maybe that is the main point. There are barriers that block people from full participation in e-government, and discuss accessibility barriers within that context.
Sharron: They refer to the high standard that governments must attain. But since those standards are not broadly enforced, it may be worth making the point. Citizens have the right to equal access to government services. It should not be optional.
Andrew: The German site is the only one that attained single A compliance according to a UN report from 2006.
Wayne: But there is a general avoidance of the mention of governmental abuses. A lot of government actively works against transparency. Was this a deliberate tactic on the part of the authors? We may want to ask if they made the deliberate decision to avoid controversy.
Shawn: Anything else on this?
... What is the next thing you see using the search terms?
<Shawn> "Easily Accessible: Content/information that is available and discoverable, accessible [WAI] and searchable via quick and simple applications; complete and relevant content/information that promotes an experiential gain of knowledge and growth; incorporation of content/information in mash-ups and other programmatic combinations that allow for a hyper-personalized experience; and information architectures and navigation that is relevant and usable to a diverse world-w
Shawn: If you search for accessible you come to a bullet that starts out easily accessible.
... Under trends and modlities of the user.
... There are two things here. One to look at their use of accessible. The word accessible linked to WAI home page. In the rest of the section mobile devices to that mobile home page etc. Do they include a dictionary of terms?
Andrew: I couldn't find a glossary.
Shawn: the references section has an acronym expansion. Would we ideally want the term linked to the WAI home page, or to the introduction to web accessibility?
Liam: Where would the audience want it linked to?
Andrew: The document links to the WAI home page at the bottom as well. In terms of someone reading this, going to introduction to web accessibility rather than the WAI home page.
Liam: Introduction to web accessbility.
Shawn: Many readers of this might not know accessibility. We could suggest they change the wording to accessible to people with disabilities.
Sharron: That is another case where the concepts need to be separated out. When it says "Easily accessible" the reference is to other kinds of accessbility as well. I think it is important to distinguish them from each other, even when they are grouped together.
Andrew: Yes it is misleading to lump them all together, and then link to the WAi home page.
<Shawn> ACTION: Sharron "Easily Accessible:" section - suggest pulling out "accessible to people with disabilities" as at least it's own clause, if not it's own bullet. please link to the "Introduction to Web Accessibility" <http://www.w3.org/WAI/intro/accessibility.php> (instead of the WAI home page) [recorded in http://www.w3.org/2009/03/27-eo-minutes.html#action07]
Wayne: Instead of using accessiblity, we should suggest they use ease of access. Easily accessible is ambiguous meaning.
Shawn: Lets transition to the use of the terms access and accessible given that within this document there is not a way around that.
<Sharron> ACTION: Within the section"Trends and Modalities of the Web and the User" suggest separate bullet point for accessibility for PWD that distinguish general usefulness from accessibility barriers. [recorded in http://www.w3.org/2009/03/27-eo-minutes.html#action08]
Andrew: They do that use accessible further down.
Shawn: Do you think it is appropriate for us to request for them to reserve the word accessibility and accessible for PWD reference?
Andrew: I think that reasonable given that this is a W3C document and we want internal consistancy.
Shawn: Only those two terms accessible and accessibility. Access in the broader sense they need to use more generally.
Wayne: This means a need for a glossary.
Shawn: I'm not sure we want to ask them to add a glossary for just that.
<Sharron> ACTION: Sharron to request that the authors reserve the use of words "accessible" and "accessibility" for the needs of people with disabilities. [recorded in http://www.w3.org/2009/03/27-eo-minutes.html#action09]
Shawn: Let's find the three uses of this and to suggest changes they can meet that.
<Sharron> ACTION: Sharron to find three uses of "accessible" currently within document and suggest clarifications. [recorded in http://www.w3.org/2009/03/27-eo-minutes.html#action10]
<Shawn> "Unfortunately, much PSI was and is still being published using proprietary formats or in ways that make it not accessible to all the interested parties, such as a disabled person that cannot access the content on a Web page, a person using a mobile device or an old computer, or someone using a computer without a required proprietary software."
Wayne: That is pretty good point.
Shawn: comments suggestions?
... what about changing the term disabled person to PWD?
Andrew: in England they always use disabled people.
... but in this case, the authors should be consistent with W3C terminology.
<Shawn> ACTION: Sharron - change "disabled person" to "person with a disability" [recorded in http://www.w3.org/2009/03/27-eo-minutes.html#action11]
Wayne: one things that made PDF the only way you could get at to buy some piece of software.
Shawn: Is that a primary issue to focus on?
Wayne: Yes proprietary formats can be a big barrier to PWD.
Shawn: That is the point of this section. Do we want to be more specific? Assitive technology does not always access the proprietary format.
Wayne: Without extensive additions. In accessibility supported.
Shawn: Did we decide it was better not to send someone to a glossary?
Sharron: But shouldn't people be starting to know what that menas?
<Sharron> ACTION: Sharron to include some reference to "use of proprietary software, whose assistive technology can not access proprietary formats that are not accessibility supported." [recorded in http://www.w3.org/2009/03/27-eo-minutes.html#action12]
<Shawn> ACTION: Sharron - edit "Unfortunately, much PSI was and is still being published using proprietary formats or in ways that make it not accessible to all the interested parties, such as a disabled person that cannot access the content on a Web page,..." maybe such as a person with a disability whos assistive technology cannot access the proprietary format... (maybe say somethign about accessibility supported..." [recorded in http://www.w3.org/2009/03/27-eo-minutes.html#action13]
Shawn: Such as a person with a disability is that enough Sharron? Any other current uses or references that we should look at?
<Zakim> Shawn, you wanted to say accessibility fits in "Transparency and Participation" section 3rd P: "Identify ways to increase citizens and businesses use of eGovernment services: ..."
Shawn: How about we take a look at where we might want to add accessibility? We have saved a couple of things. How about any other concerns now before we address accessibility be better mentioned or added.
Sharron: I will think about how to include my reaction to the ponderous tone in the draft I send to EO and to couch it in terms of the plain language requirement of WCAG.
Shawn: Let's look at what Andrew identified earlier in the call.
<Shawn> Accessibility belongs in "Transparency and Participation" section 3rd P: "Identify ways to increase citizens and businesses use of eGovernment services: ..."
Wayne: I was looking at the table of contents. Focus that this is place where we want to deal with PWD. To read.
sharron: I noticed is a main advantages of interoperable. For PWD, the option of accessing services from the home computer rather than make your way to the courthouse, etc is very important.
Shawn: So there are two points here. First, the basic human right to access government information and two the extreme benefit to make the services more readily available and usable by people with disabilities.
Wayne; There are a lot of people for them to have access to government.
<Sharron> ACTION: Sharron to include basic human right of being able to equally access the web and the citizens right to access government services equally. Unprecedented opportunity for equal access. [recorded in http://www.w3.org/2009/03/27-eo-minutes.html#action14]
Shawn: Other comments about overall how people with disabilities be included/
Wayne: They might talk about why as well as how. Inclusion strengthens government.
Shawn: Other areas in the document? Two things where and how accessbility is specifically spelled out in the paragraph. And where it is mentioned, where it ought to be mentioned but is not.
Wayne: The section called open government data?
... In some point in there we should make it clear if you can't physically access the data it is not open. If you can't read it it is not open.
Sharron: The section where we were just talking about proprietary format?
Andrew: Yes, they have a subhead bullet point about inclusion. Researcher and doctors, but equally assisstive technology.
... look for the term capabilties also?
Wayne: Where they talk PWD also to say people who participate in government professionally.
Sharron: Well, that's right to make the point that PWD are not just consumers of information, but producers of information nad need sharing mechanisms to be accessible as well.
<Sharron> ACTION: Sharron to include fact that PWD are not just consumers of information but producers as well...research, adminstration, etc [recorded in http://www.w3.org/2009/03/27-eo-minutes.html#action15]
<Shawn> Accessibility belongs in "Transparency and Participation" section 3rd P: "Identify ways to increase citizens and businesses use of eGovernment services: ..."
Shawn: Let's look at Andrew's point at Transparency and Participation.
<Andrew> Identify ways to increase citizens and businesses use of eGovernment services: get information on benefits of Web use for government services, identify main factors that are important for people and businesses to use eGovernment services such as time and money savings, simplicity, etc. and identify ways to improve them.
Shawn: Andrew you think accessibility ought to be mentioned there?
Andrew: Yes, if the point is the need to expand citizen use and participation in e-government services. They could give some examples of improving them.
Liam: the document doesn't mention numbers anywhere. Statistics of about web users have a web relevent disability. Could document what difference it would make.
Shawn: did the Microsoft report adequately support the large percentage of users who bebenfit from accessibility?
Andrew: Yes, that would be a good one to cite.
Shawn: Andrew it might be good to suggest a couple of statistics?
<Andrew> ACTION: Andrew to send some stats suggestion (eg MS report, and UN stats) to sharron for possible mention [recorded in http://www.w3.org/2009/03/27-eo-minutes.html#action16]
Shawn: Sharron pull those from
... from Andrew.
<Shawn> ACTION: Sharron get stats from Andrew and think about if we want to suggest including some... [recorded in http://www.w3.org/2009/03/27-eo-minutes.html#action17]
Wayne: There is section about seamless integration of data. This should include integration of accessibility concepts from the start and development of that.
Shawn: Do you have a specific suggestion or thoughts on that?
Wayne: Right at that area it might say in the concepts with an eye to accessbility this early in development.
Sharron: I am not sure understand how to ...data integration. I am not sure I understand what they are talking about.
... (reads from text) what kind of data are they talking about.
Wayne: It's an important area and new area and the time where accessibility should be brought in right now at the POC (proof of concept)
Shawn: How high a priority should that be?
Sharron: I'll ask you Wayne to do that.
<Sharron> ACTION: Wayne to give Sharron examples of how to include accessibility in paragraph about "Seamless Integration of Data" [recorded in http://www.w3.org/2009/03/27-eo-minutes.html#action18]
Wayne: Data mining results combing all sorts of search engines. To refine more than Google uses. Define all of the stimulus money for small businesses for disability. Can take advantage of everyone's little search engine. Really important. Especially for data that government won't or might not have.
Jack: I saw this little clip on the web. About Tim Berners Lee on the next version of the web. He was addressing some of the issues that Wayne was talking about. The uses of data and how we get to it. From Wayne's point that next stage needs to consider from the get go disability. If you don't set up standards and protocols you severely limit access.
Wayne: I will look into that Shawn:
Shawn: Other thoughts on where this should be covered?
Shawn: So one thing we identified is the language overall. We can comment from the EO perspective. Complicated language is more difficult to understand than other people. It might be good to have a few examples. Suggest they get a real editor? A language editor to work on this? Sharron or anybody, if you find a couple of very clear examples of where editing is needed, send those as a side note.
... my inclination would be say to check with him and provide examples of where language clarity is a big problem. And we will get someone to talk the W3C staff person and they might want another editor. They might appreciate us sending that, or it might feel insulting so I will check on that.
Wayne: They should get something like quick speak and listen to the first section.
Shawn: There is a section of definitions. Very specific but I wondered if they clarified accessibility somewhere?
Wayne: I think it would be very helpful if they did.
Shawn: Sharron maybe when they talk about access they talk about the broad definition. Anything else to discuss?
<Sharron> ACTION: Suggest to distinguish near the beginning that "access" is used in the broadest sense. [recorded in http://www.w3.org/2009/03/27-eo-minutes.html#action19]
Shawn: Sharron will write up and send to the list. So she can integrate all our comments send them in quickly. We will bring up in the next teleconferences in April. We have Wayne's comments that are gathered from WAI ARIA. We will have an updated Mobile Best Practices soon. Alan move to later in the month and do these first. WAI ARIA are due in April, and MBP in april.
... Sharron where you go through where they see PWD and also Older users due to aging. Look for coverage of older users. Anything else. One last thing, Liam?
<Shawn> [[ all sing Happy Birthday to Liam! ]]