WCAG Techniques Communications - Draft Proposal

Updated: $Date: 2013-05-17 19:02:33 $ (changelog below)
Editor: Shawn Lawton Henry
Comments: EOWG wiki page

Overall Approach

Summary:

(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. :-)

Details:

  1. Understanding WCAG 2.0 — new section is the foundation for addressing the issues: Informative 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. How to Meet WCAG 2.0 quick reference Introduction — [@@ shawn yet to draft]
  4. WCAG 2 FAQ: [maybe merge these into one question]
  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).

Understanding WCAG 2.0

Abstract

[@@ edit down considerably]

Informative Techniques for WCAG Success Criteria

WCAG 2.0 guidelines and success criteria are designed to be broadly applicable across technologies and time. They are stable and do not change.

Guidance for developers on meeting the WCAG success criteria is provided in techniques, which include code examples, resources, and tests. The 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 1: Techniques for WCAG uses the words "must" and "should" colloquially, not as normative terms as defined in RFC 2119.[@@better link?] "Must" and "should" are used only to clarify guidance within the techniques; they do not convey requirements for conforming to WCAG.

Note 2: The WCAG 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 techniques, see Should content be required to follow the Techniques for WCAG 2.0? in the WCAG 2 FAQ.

Sufficient Techniques

For most success criteria, there are sufficient techniques — if you follow the sufficient techniques, you meet the success criteria.

Sufficient techniques are provided in a numbered list where each list item provides the technique or combination of techniques that can be used to meet the success criterion. When there are multiple techniques on a numbered list item connected by "AND" then all of the techniques must be used. [@@ simpler example? link to it} For example, Situation B in Understanding Success Criterion 2.2.1 lists as the third sufficient technique: SCR16: Providing a script that warns the user a time limit is about to expire (Scripting) AND SCR1: Allowing the user to extend the default time limit (Scripting).]

Advisory Techniques

Advisory techniques can enhance accessibility, yet are not designated as sufficient for various reasons, including:

Advisory techniques are often very helpful to some users, and may be the only way that some users can access some types of information. Authors are encouraged to use the advisory techniques wherever appropriate to increase accessibility of their web content.

Failures

Failures are common mistakes. They tell developers what to avoid, and are particularly useful for evaluating conformance to WCAG.

General and Technology-specific Techniques

General techniques describe basic practices that are applicable to any technology. Technology-specific techniques provide best practices applicable to specific technologies.

Developers using a specific technology should consider both the general techniques and technology-specific techniques.

Other Techniques

While many developers find the WCAG Techniques useful, there are other ways to meet WCAG success criteria. Web content does not have to use the WCAG sufficient techniques.

Content authors can develop different techniques. For example, an author could develop a technique for a 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 you 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.

Tests

Each technique has tests to help developers verify that they implemented the technique properly, and help evaluators determine if web content meets the technique.

Testing Techniques

Because the techniques are discrete and not required, failing a technique test does not necessarily mean failing WCAG; the content could meet WCAG in a different way. Thus, conformance evaluations must go beyond simply checking the sufficient technique tests.

Conversely, content that passes the sufficient techniques for a specific technology does not necessarily meet all WCAG success criteria. General techniques and accessibility-support circumstances must also be considered. (For example, the Flash Techniques for WCAG 2.0 say: "Flash accessibility support for assistive technology relies on use in Windows operating systems, using Internet Explorer 6 or later (with Flash Player 6 or later) or Mozilla Firefox 3 or later (with Flash Player 9 or later).")

Failures do indicate non-conformance. If web content has one of the documented failures, it does not meet WCAG success criteria (unless an equivalent version is provided without the failure). For related information, see Understanding Conformance Requirement 1 and Requirement 5.

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 Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0 requirements (success criteria) and techniques to get the WCAG success criteria, and link 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.

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.

Support Notes Change Over Time

Some techniques include User Agent and Assistive Technology Support Notes. 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.

Techniques for WCAG 2.0

Abstract

[@@ edit down considerably and point to Informative Techniques for WCAG Success Criteria section of Understanding WCAG 2.0.]

Introduction to Techniques for WCAG 2.0

This document is part of a series of documents published by the W3C Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) to support WCAG 2.0 [WCAG20]. See Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) Overview for an introduction to WCAG, supporting technical documents, and educational material.

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.

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 Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0 requirements (success criteria) and techniques to get the WCAG success criteria, and link from there to specific topics in Understanding WCAG 2.0 and to specific techniques.

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

WCAG 2.0 FAQ

[maybe merge these 2 into 1 question]

Do I have to follow the Techniques to meet WCAG?

No, you do not have to use the sufficient techniques in Techniques for WCAG 2.0.

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 developers find the WCAG Techniques useful, there are other ways to meet WCAG success criteria. Web content could even fail a particular technique test, yet still meet WCAG in a different way. Also, content that uses some of the WCAG Techniques does not necessarily meet all WCAG success criteria.

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

Should content be required to follow the Techniques for WCAG 2.0?

[@@ this section needs more work]

No. The WCAG Techniques are not intended to be required. The basis for determining conformance to WCAG 2.0 is the success criteria from the WCAG 2.0 standard — not the techniques. The only thing that should be required is meeting the WCAG success criteria.

[It is unwise to require only the sufficient techniques in W3C's Techniques for WCAG 2.0 document because]:

Limiting authors to the published Techniques for WCAG 2.0 would prevent them from using other techniques that would be better in certain circumstances. It would limit authors from using new techniques and technologies until they were published by W3C, which is usually many months.

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

Each Technique - add section at the end

Techniques are Informative

Techniques for WCAG 2.0 are informative, even sufficient techniques are not required. Other techniques may be used. For important information, see the Informative 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 Informative Techniques for WCAG Success Criteria, particularly the "Other Techniques" section. [end change]

Key Points

WCAG 2.0 guidelines and success criteria are designed to be broadly applicable across technologies and time. 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.

The Techniques for WCAG 2.0 document provides guidance for developers, including code examples, resources, and tests. For most success criteria, there are sufficient techniques — if you follow the sufficient techniques, you meet the success criteria. There are advisory techniques that you are encouraged to consider. There are also common failures that show you what to avoid.

While many developers find the WCAG Techniques useful, there are other ways to meet WCAG success criteria. You do not have to use these sufficient techniques. You can develop different techniques that satisfy the Success Criterion 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 WCAG Techniques does not necessarily meet all WCAG success criteria.

The WCAG 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 techniques, see Should content be required to follow the Techniques for WCAG 2.0? in the WCAG 2 FAQ.

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





Internal notes

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

SLH to do:

Changelog

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