Toronto, 15 May 1999


9:30am Summary of Protocols and Formats activities (Daniel D)

  1. xlink
  2. xhtml modularization Problem: some of the modules don't make sense.
  3. xsl and formatting objects Problem: lose semantics when formatting objects

    sent over the Web instead of xml + xsl.

  4. scalable vector graphics (svg) Problems:
    1. Expression semantic relationships
    2. Logical event model (better than HTML4). This model will be sent to several Working Groups
  5. Upcoming activities: DOM, schemas

AG: Problem: How do you tell someone that the "name" attribute on A is the same as the "id" attribute on other elements. RDF assertions may be the clean solution.

DD: I wrote a small proposal that discusses such bindings. Need to work on soon since XSL WG needs this, too.

PJ: What's the biggest issue? Semantics? Events?

DD: Challenge varies depending on reaction of WG.

We have, e.g., a good event model, but this may not get WG support.

AG: Challenge is the trend in the industry away from encoding of application semantics. (Business-to-business more private, need to ensure that pieces for exceptional groups part of the main package).

/* Short discussion of WAI review of I18N work, including Ruby */

JB: One issue in mobile: their guidelines resemble

Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG). However, their guidelines have faded in light of WCAG. Mobile people waving around WCAG as expression of device-independence.

/* Guidelines */

JB: WCAG to Recommendation.

/* Recommendation process review */

/* Status report on WCAG */

WC: Life after Recommendation will involve work on Techniques document.

IJ: Errata being managed, three translations underway (Swedish, French, Hebrew)

MN: I'll be coordinating Japanese translation. Hope to have finished within a month.

CL: Canadian French prefer "fr" more than French prefer "fr-ca". Thanks to French translators.

JB: Håkon Lie (Opera Software) will be helping on the browser support page [1] for Opera Software support of the "Until user agent" clauses.


HB: How many W3C Representatives responded to Proposed Rec?

JB: Member-only information. However, of the checkable categories (yes as is, yes with changes, back to WG, abandon), we received only category 1 and 2. We also resolved all of the issues raised during the review period.

HB: Did any Members feel blindsided by the content?

JB: No. We've alerted them through W3C (weekly) Newswires and (monthly) Newsletters. Got a lot of positive reactions. One company thought it was one of the best Recs they had seen produced by W3C.

DD: What's the proper mechanism for commenting on the document? The WG mailing list? The editors mailing list?

WC: For substantial comments, send to WG list.

/* Brief discussion of errata management */

/* Discussion of process of continuation of Working Group and support of Recommendation */

PJ: Propose every six months to produce an updated version.

JB: The WCG WG was re-chartered in March to finish the Rec, then for another 5-6 months to track implementations, etc. It is likely that the WG would propose a continued existence before they closed.

RN: I would like to reference the guidelines in a statement of work, for a business requirement. When will the guidelines be stable enough to do this?

JB: 5 May 1999 (last week) for Web Content Accessibility Guidelines. A Recommendation is a stable document.

BK: How to monitor uptake of the WCAG conformance logo? Should we track who's using it?

JB: We'll probably track some out of curiosity, but this won't be the definitive statement of who is making their pages accessible. Companies may use the guidelines without using the logo.

BK: There are a lot of reasons why one would not want the logo on their pages. Even if doesn't become a porn site, organizations may not want to link to that domain. I think, in addition to logo, a machine-readable format for indicating conformance.

JB: 18 months ago, we discussed using PICS to carry information about the accessibility of the page. Got negative feedback: more of a constraint than a bonus. There was a discussion at WWW8 about using metadata to help accessible sites improve their hit ratings in search engines.

HB: Please write up learning gained during REC process for the benefit of other guidelines WGs.

JB: Part of the challenge was that we had a very

tight schedule for WWW8 and thus short turn-around times.

/* User Agent Guidelines Update */

JA: Since CSUN, we've been thrashing through navigation. Problem

Issue: are there two or three overarching navigation schemes and the others are techniques, or do the smaller schemes need to be checkpoints.

Issue: Support for MathML. Question of MathML support in DOM.

We're hoping to have a new document by the end of May.

Issue: We've adopted a scheme for describing whether checkpoints apply to UA, AT, or both.

PJ: Should responsibility of monitoring "until user agents" belong to UA WG? Perhaps vendors, rather than WGs, should be doing the tracking.

AG: Another home for that: Web Characterization Activity (WCA).

JB: Our requirements to that WG are due today...

Action JA : "until user agent" clauses need to be flagged in UAGL WG.

Brian Kelly: Is the UAGL in a position to request "until user agent" help from other browser vendors? Can information be stored in a machine-readable way to allow content negotiation?

WC: My understanding is that the Bobby group has this information in machine-understandable format. Not currently publicly available.

/* Authoring Tool Guidelines Working Group */

JT: Moving quickly to last call. However, one major concern: lack of developer participation in production of document. Our last call pace may slow down to allow implementation experience.

JT: Issues:

  1. We presently have two guideline sections -
    1. accessibility of tool
    2. accessibility of content

There are proposals to merge these, keep them apart, to number creatively, etc.

2) Techniques. These have been somewhat neglected.

There are some in the document, but we haven't worked out the details.

3) Priority and priority definitions, order of checkpoints, etc.

Proposed Timeline:
a) Get Interest Group review of a "pre last call" draft in the next week or so.

JT: The Authoring Tools document may be more difficult to get through to Rec than WCAG since they require changes to software, buy-in from Members, etc.

PJ: Has the W3C Advisory Committee been asked to participate in this group (more than through regular W3C process)?

JB: Yes.

  1. When AU WG was re-chartered, a call for participation was issued.
  2. Several month's newsletter has an article on Authoring Tools
  3. Publicity of WCAG includes refers to to authoring tool commitment.
  4. WAI will be talking to different companies directly.

LK: What's the status of govt. procurement guidelines requiring these guidelines?

JB: Only the US (to my knowledge) has requirements for tools (under section 508).

PJ: I recall that 508 talked about the accessibility of the tool, but not the produced content.

JB: What is stated (I believe) is that the tool should follow the WCAG for producing content.

CMN: The typical response of developers is: a) We support this. b) Can we be involved without actively participating

I hope to ask them for review commitment rather than formal participation in the Working Group.

JB: We're also seeing this in other W3C Working Groups. An organization may join to participate in reviews only.

/* Evaluation and Repair Tools WG review */

LK: For off-line tools (not part of AT or UA for now, but hopefully at some point).

  1. "altifier" module to produce text equivalents on the fly, based on heuristics. a.1) E.g., if an image and a text link point to the same URL, use the link text as alt text. a.2) E.g., get title of referenced page. a.3) E.g., based on image dimensions, guess role of image
  2. "A-prompt" library....
  3. Report form to evaluate Web sites. Send report to Web master. Perhaps file it. First draft next month.
  4. Coordination with Bobby group, notably for user interface issues. Too many hats. Not easy to see what error hats refer to.
  5. Discussion about quantifying colors. This turns out to be difficult. Depends on operating system, brightness/contrast, font size, user abilities. We're thinking about a survey to get useful foreground and background combinations throughout color space.
  6. Will review checkpoints in WCAG and see whether evaluation may be automated. If deterministic methods not possible, what heuristics would work? How can machines help? E.g., how to know whether a table reads well when linearized?

Action CMN/AG: Talk to Geoff Freed about Magpie.

/* EO WG review */

JB: List of deliverables

  1. FAQ for WCAG.
  2. Quicktips
  3. Literature stuffer
  4. CLT: Curriculum -lots of review - rearranged from September version.

JB: Peter Bosher did a list of browsers, including alternative browsers. With annotations. Not yet published.

JB: Four W3C Notes need to be wrapped up: CSS (Ian)

SMIL (Marja), HTML (Ian), Core Reference (technology, profiles), Overview WAI Curriculum. WAI Film. Most frequently asked for now:

  1. accessible demonstration sites/tutorials
  2. gallery of accessible sites (but we don't control content, so caution).
  3. business case scenarios
  4. promotional campaign.

WC: In writing the guidelines, we tested a lot of techniques. We can polish and use these.

WL: Difficult to find online commercial sites that meet the guidelines.

Action PJ: Send a list of pages on that meet the guidelines to wai-eo.

JB: We'll try to release tech Notes as a block with some press activity around it.

HB: Are people who submitted testimonials making their sites accessible?

JB: Discussions are underway.

WC: Most of EO is aimed at developers. Is the Peter Bosher material aimed at users?

JB: I think the bulk of EO work is aimed at people developing sites. Not so much at software developers. Little for users. We have thought about, but not pursued, guidelines for users (pointers to information).

KB: During one of HTML WG's online classes (accessible design), the introduction has people turn off images, sounds, etc. and turn of the mouse. Students get a sense of Web larger than what they're used to.

RN: I designed a site at the Dept. of Labor. They will be Level AA conformant soon. We also do tutorials for people in Washington, D.C.

JA: Do you have a URI to these presentation? If so, send to EO and we'll add it to our list.

JB: How can we improve turnaround time for IG review?

WC: If there were some extra warning, that would help. Need to be able to put on calendar in advance.

AG: In the SMIL case, JB's knowledge of the community was very helpful: get subscribers to IG who are stakeholders.

JA: Can we use headers for email to IG list to allow sorting?

Brian Kelly: Personal contact is crucial. Quantity of W3C material being sent out makes it difficult to select.

/* Process discussion about IG */

JB: Should there be a commitment to review materials by IG members? Should people be reminded more often that this is one of the primary functions of the group?

CMN: I don't think we need to tell people that they are here to do review.

EH: Is there a way to treat review like jury duty?

MN: I don't think there should be a review commitment since this may make people who are not confident with English hesitate to join the group. Also, there should be an easier mechanism for finding out what's important, what's due when, etc. Perhaps an event page.

JL: A page is better than mail.

WL: I agree with no forced commitment to review. I send out reminders.

MK: I agree with no forced commitment to review. I think a calendar is important. The link should be readily available from the WAI page.

JB: Some WGs are starting to use a process for identifying external reviewers in advance, getting review in last call.

/* Change in topic */

JL: Thanks for the Web Content Guidelines! I propose splitting up work in progress from Recommendations. Need to make it easier for visitors to page to find stable information. Important for convincing organizations of the stability of the material.

JL: Up to now, we've only had discussion lists. We can expect questions now, but not in a discussion forum. Can we set up a list or page for this type of question (seeking clarification, not discussion only answers).

JB: Two things:

  1. There is an under-promoted list: for general questions about accessibility that may be answered by Team.
  2. The WCAG FAQ does exist, but is not ongoing.

BS: Would it be appropriate to create a news group?

JB: Our lists are archived (and threaded).

AG: The www-talk mailing list is not very busy. Could be a forum for answers.

Action Judy: Take the discussion list issue to EO Working Group.