WCAG Techniques Communications - Draft Proposal

Status: This is an unapproved, in-progress Editors' Draft. It does not represent consensus of Working Group participants, WAI, or W3C.

Updated: $Date: 2013-07-10 21:34:25 $ (changelog below)
Editor: Shawn Lawton Henry
Comments: EOWG wiki page

Overall Approach

Summary:

Proposal: For this publication, leave the FAQ text out of the Understanding doc so we can get more feedback and edit it as warranted. Then, consider including it in a later update to the Understanding doc. (proposal from 20 June telecon with Andrew, Michael, Gregg, Judy, Shawn)
Background: The FAQ is easy to change quickly; the Understanding & Techniques docs are not. Therefore, Shawn suggested using more conservative language in the Understanding & Techniques docs, and maybe being a little more out-there in the FAQ.

Main point for current issue:

The basis for determining conformance to WCAG 2.0 is the success criteria from the WCAG 2.0 standard, not the techniques. W3C's Techniques for WCAG 2.0 is informative, which means the techniques are not required. W3C cautions against requiring only W3C's published techniques. To learn more, please see What would be the negative consequences of allowing only W3C's published techniques to be used for conformance to WCAG 2.0? in the WCAG 2 FAQ.

Details:

  1. Understanding WCAG 2.0 — new section is the foundation for addressing the issues: Understanding Techniques for WCAG Success Criteria (draft below) (replaces similar information in latest Editor's Draft).
    Make this section available as it's own subpage (like other Understanding pages) so it can be pointed to.
    Rationale: The Techniques document is not intended to be read, nor usually is read, as a whole document; whereas, the Understanding document is intended to be read more thoroughly.
  2. Techniques for WCAG 2.0 — delete most of the content in the introduction of the Editor's Draft. replace with summary and pointer to Understanding section. Introduction to Techniques for WCAG 2.0 (draft below)
    Rationale: The Techniques document is not intended to be read, nor usually is read, as a whole document; whereas, the Understanding document is intended to be read more thoroughly.
  3. WCAG 2 FAQ:
  4. How to Meet WCAG 2.0 quick reference Introduction (draft below) — update wording to be inline with this overall approach
  5. Techniques - for each technique (draft below) — brief section at end clarifying they're not required & pointing to more info
    Rationale: Lots of people (most?) read the QuickRef/How to Meet and individual techniques, and never read the Techniques intro, nor the Understanding pages.
  6. Understanding - for each technique listing (draft below) — brief blurb clarifying they're not required & pointing to more info
    Note: WCAG WG already put text in editor's draft. this suggestion has less text in each section and points to the new explanation.
  7. Announcements — Along with any announcements of updated Techniques, clarify the issues, e.g., blog from 2012 and Key Points (below).

(p.s. It might seem like there is a lot of text in these drafts, but it is a small fraction of what is currently in the Understanding and Techniques documents combined. :-)

Understanding WCAG 2.0

Abstract

[edit down substantially]

Introduction to Understanding WCAG 2.0

...

Understanding Techniques for WCAG Success Criteria

WCAG 2.0 guidelines and success criteria are designed to be broadly applicable to current and future web technologies, including dynamic applications, mobile, digital television, etc. They are stable and do not change.

Specific guidance for authors and evaluators on meeting the WCAG success criteria is provided in techniques, which include code examples, resources, and tests. W3C's Techniques for WCAG 2.0 document is updated periodically, about once a year, to cover more current best practices and changes in technologies and tools.

The three types of guidance in Techniques for WCAG 2.0 are explained below:

Also explained below:

Understanding Conformance provides related information, including on understanding accessibility support.

Techniques are Informative

Techniques are informative — that means they are not required. The basis for determining conformance to WCAG 2.0 is the success criteria from the WCAG 2.0 standard — not the techniques.

Note 1: W3C cautions against requiring W3C's sufficient techniques. The only thing that should be required is meeting the WCAG 2.0 success criteria. To learn more, see:

Note 2: Techniques for WCAG 2.0 uses the words "must" and "should" only to clarify guidance within the techniques, not to convey requirements for WCAG.

Sufficient Techniques

Sufficient techniques are reliable ways to meet the success criteria.

There may be other ways to meet success criteria besides the sufficient techniques in W3C's Techniques for WCAG 2.0 document, as explained in Other Techniques below. (See also Techniques are Informative above.)

Numbered Lists, "AND"

The W3C-documented sufficient techniques are provided in a numbered list where each list item provides a technique or combination of techniques that can be used to meet the success criterion. Where there are multiple techniques on a numbered list item connected by "AND" then all of the techniques must be used to be sufficient. For example, Sufficient Techniques for 1.3.1 has: "G115: Using semantic elements to mark up structure AND H49: Using semantic markup to mark emphasized or special text (HTML)".

Advisory Techniques

Advisory techniques are suggested ways to improve accessibility. They are often very helpful to some users, and may be the only way that some users can access some types of content.

Advisory techniques are not designated as sufficient techniques for various reasons such as:

Authors are encouraged to apply all of the techniques where appropriate to best address the widest range of users' needs.

Failures

Failures are things that cause accessibility barriers and fail specific success criteria. The documented failures are useful for:

Content that has a failure does not meet WCAG success criteria, unless an alternate version is provided without the failure.

If anyone identifies a situation where a documented failure is not correct, please report the situation as a WCAG comment so that it can be corrected or deleted as appropriate.

General and Technology-specific Techniques

General techniques describe basic practices that apply to all technologies. Technology-specific techniques apply to a specific technology.

Some success criteria do not have technology-specific techniques and are covered only with general techniques. Therefore, both the general techniques and the relevant technology-specific techniques should be considered.

Other Techniques

In addition to the techniques in W3C's Techniques for WCAG 2.0 document, there are other ways to meet WCAG success criteria. W3C's techniques are not comprehensive and may not cover newer technologies and situations.

Web content does not have to use W3C's published techniques in order to conform to WCAG 2.0. (See also Techniques are Informative above.)

Content authors can develop different techniques. For example, an author could develop a technique for HTML5, WAI-ARIA, or other new technology. Other organizations may develop sets of techniques to meet WCAG 2.0 success criteria.

Any techniques can be sufficient if:

Submitting Techniques

The WCAG Working Group encourages people to submit new techniques so that they can be considered for inclusion in updates of the Techniques for WCAG 2.0 document. Please submit techniques for consideration using the Techniques Submission Form.

Testing Techniques

Each technique has tests that help:

The tests are only for a technique, they are not tests for conformance to WCAG success criteria.

Thus while the techniques are useful for evaluating content, evaluations must go beyond just checking the sufficient technique tests in order to evaluate how content conforms to WCAG success criteria.

Failures are particularly useful for evaluations because they do indicate non-conformance (unless an alternate version is provided without the failure).

User Agent and Assistive Technology Support Notes

Some techniques require that web content users have specific browsers or assistive technologies in order for the technique to be accessibility-supported. The User Agent and Assistive Technology Support Notes sections of individual techniques include some information to help determine accessibility support.

Support Notes Change Over Time

As time passes, the versions of user agents (browsers, etc.) or assistive technologies listed may not be the current versions. The Working Group may not update most of these notes as new versions are released. Authors should test techniques with the user agents and assistive technologies currently available to their users. See also Understanding Accessibility Support.

Using the Techniques

Techniques for WCAG 2.0 is not intended to be used as a stand-alone document. Instead, it is expected that content authors will usually use How to Meet WCAG 2.0: A customizable quick reference to read the WCAG success criteria, and follow links from there to specific topics in Understanding WCAG 2.0 and to specific techniques.

Alternatives must meet success criteria

Some techniques describe how to provide alternate ways for users to get content. For example, G73: Providing a long description in another location... mentions a transcript as an alternative for an audio file. Some alternatives must also conform to WCAG. For example, the transcript itself must meet all relevant success criteria.

Example Code

The code examples in the techniques are intended to demonstrate only the specific point discussed in the technique. They might not demonstrate best practice for other aspects of accessibility, usability, or coding not related to the technique. They are not intended to be copied and used as the basis for developing web content.

Many techniques point to "working examples" that are more robust and may be appropriate for copying and integrating into web content.

Techniques for WCAG 2.0

Abstract

This Techniques for WCAG 2.0 document provides guidance for web content authors and evaluators on meeting Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 [WCAG20] success criteria. It is part of a series of documents published by the W3C Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) to support WCAG 2.0. For an introduction to WCAG, supporting technical documents, and educational material, see Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) Overview.

Techniques are informative — that means they are not required. The basis for determining conformance to WCAG 2.0 is the success criteria from the WCAG 2.0 standard — not the techniques. For important information about techniques, please see the Understanding Techniques for WCAG Success Criteria section of Understanding WCAG 2.0.

Techniques for WCAG 2.0 is not intended to be used as a stand-alone document. Instead, it is expected that content authors will usually use How to Meet WCAG 2.0: A customizable quick reference to read the WCAG success criteria, and follow links from there to specific topics in Understanding WCAG 2.0 and to specific techniques.

Status of This Document

...

Table of Contents

...

Introduction to Techniques for WCAG 2.0

This Techniques for WCAG 2.0 document provides guidance for web content authors and evaluators on meeting Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 [WCAG20] success criteria. It is part of a series of documents published by the W3C Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) to support WCAG 2.0. For an introduction to WCAG, supporting technical documents, and educational material, see Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) Overview.

WCAG 2.0 itself is a stable document that does not change. This Techniques for WCAG 2.0 document is updated periodically, about once a year, to cover more current best practices and changes in technologies and tools.

Techniques are informative — that means they are not required. The basis for determining conformance to WCAG 2.0 is the success criteria from the WCAG 2.0 standard — not the techniques.

Note: W3C cautions against requiring W3C's sufficient techniques. The only thing that should be required is meeting the WCAG 2.0 success criteria. To learn more, see:

Techniques for WCAG 2.0 is not intended to be used as a stand-alone document. Instead, it is expected that content authors will usually use How to Meet WCAG 2.0: A customizable quick reference to read the WCAG success criteria, and follow links from there to specific topics in Understanding WCAG 2.0 and to specific techniques.

For important information about techniques, please see the Understanding Techniques for WCAG Success Criteria section of Understanding WCAG 2.0.

WCAG 2.0 FAQ

Do content authors (developers, designers, etc.) have to follow W3C's techniques to meet WCAG?

No, you do not have to use the techniques in W3C's Techniques for WCAG 2.0 document.

The techniques are informative; that means they are not required. The basis for determining conformance to WCAG 2.0 is the success criteria from the WCAG 2.0 standard — not the techniques.

While many authors find W3C-documented techniques useful, there may be other ways to meet WCAG success criteria. You can use other techniques. Web content could even fail a particular technique test, yet still meet WCAG in a different way. Also, content that uses some of the Techniques does not necessarily meet all WCAG success criteria.

For important additional information, see the Understanding Techniques for WCAG Success Criteria section of Understanding WCAG 2.0.

What would be the negative consequences of allowing only W3C's published techniques to be used for conformance to WCAG 2.0?

Background: Some organizations have considered requiring all web content to use W3C's published techniques.

W3C recommends that the only thing that is required is meeting the WCAG 2.0 success criteria. The basis for determining conformance to WCAG 2.0 is the success criteria from the WCAG 2.0 standard — not the techniques. W3C's Techniques for WCAG 2.0 document is informative (that is, not required, not normative).

W3C cautions against requiring web content to use only W3C's published sufficient techniques and not allowing other techniques for several reasons, including:

Therefore, W3C's published techniques should not be required as the only way to meet WCAG 2.0 success criteria unless the limitations and consequences above are understood and acceptable.

For additional information, see:

How to Meet WCAG 2.0

Introduction

This web page can be used as a checklist for WCAG 2.0. It provides:

You can customize what is included in this page by selecting from the Customize this Quick Reference section which Technologies, Levels of success criteria, and Sections of techniques you want to include.

For an introduction to WCAG, Techniques, and Understanding documents, see the WCAG Overview.

Note that even content that conforms at the highest level (AAA) will not be accessible to individuals with all types, degrees, or combinations of disability, particularly in the cognitive language and learning areas. Authors are encouraged to seek relevant advice about current best practice to ensure that Web content is accessible, as far as possible, to this community.

About the Techniques

For important information about the techniques, please see the Understanding Techniques for WCAG Success Criteria section of Understanding WCAG 2.0.

Note: The basis for determining conformance to WCAG 2.0 is the success criteria, not the techniques. (The success criteria have 3-level numbering (0.0.0) and in this page they are followed by a link "Understanding Success Criterion".) All techniques are informative; that means they are not required. There may be other techniques besides the ones listed here.

New Techniques and Comments

The Techniques for WCAG 2.0 document is updated periodically, and anyone can submit techniques that will be considered for inclusion in an update. Please submit corrections, updates, or new information related to techniques, failures, or other WCAG documentation to the WCAG Working Group, per the instructions for commenting.

reviewer note: We previously had the following text in this draft. This proposal does not have these details under "About the techniques" — because if there is some info here people are less likely to follow the link to get the rest of the important info.

[[
The sufficient techniques are reliable ways to meet the success criteria.

The advisory techniques are suggested ways to improve accessibility. Authors are encouraged to apply all of the techniques where appropriate to best address the widest range of users' needs.

The failures are some common mistakes to avoid.

Some success criteria do not have technology-specific techniques and are covered only with general techniques. Therefore, both the general techniques and the relevant technology-specific techniques should be considered.
]]

Each Technique - add section at the end

Techniques are Informative

These techniques are informative — that means they are not required. Even the sufficient techniques are not required. Other techniques may be used. For important information, see the Understanding Techniques for WCAG Success Criteria section of Understanding WCAG 2.0.

OR [added 5 July]:

Techniques are informative—that means they are not required. The basis for determining conformance to WCAG 2.0 is the success criteria from the WCAG 2.0 standard—not the techniques. For important information about techniques, please see the Understanding Techniques for WCAG Success Criteria section of Understanding WCAG 2.0.

Understanding - for each technique listing

Techniques and Failures for Success Criterion 1.1.1

Each numbered item in this section represents a technique or combination of techniques that the WCAG Working Group deems sufficient for meeting this Success Criterion. [begin change] However, it is not required to use these particular techniques. For information on using other techniques, see Understanding Techniques for WCAG Success Criteria, particularly the "Other Techniques" section. [end change]

Summary of Key Points

WCAG 2.0 guidelines and success criteria are designed to be broadly applicable to current and future web technologies, including dynamic applications, mobile, digital television, etc. Guidance on meeting the WCAG success criteria is provided in techniques. Techniques are informative — that means they are not required. The basis for determining conformance to WCAG 2.0 is the success criteria from the WCAG 2.0 standard — not the techniques.

W3C's Techniques for WCAG 2.0 document provides specific guidance for authors (developers, designers, etc.) and evaluators, including code examples, resources, and tests. For most success criteria, the document includes:

While many authors find W3C's techniques useful, there may be other ways to meet WCAG success criteria. You do not have to use the W3C-documented sufficient techniques. You can develop different techniques that satisfy the success criteria and meet the WCAG 2.0 conformance requirements. (We encourage you to share new techniques via the Techniques for WCAG 2.0 submission form.) Web content could even fail a particular technique test, yet still meet WCAG in a different way. Also, content that uses some of the techniques does not necessarily meet all WCAG success criteria.

W3C's techniques are not intended to be required. The only thing that should be required is meeting the WCAG 2.0 success criteria. For cautions against requiring the only W3C's published techniques, see What would be the negative consequences of allowing only W3C's published techniques to be used for conformance to WCAG 2.0? in the WCAG 2 FAQ.

For additional information, see the Understanding Techniques for WCAG Success Criteria section of Understanding WCAG 2.0.





Internal notes

Changelog

Not included

Points from other documents or drafts that are not included in these drafts:

To Do:

Previous wording ideas not to lose just in case we want to go back to it

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