19 April 2001 - WCAG 2.0 Telecon

Minutes taken by Matt May. (Thanks Matt!)

In Attendance:


Action Items:

KHS, JW Checkpoint on summaries and linking information (3.n?)


JW Verifiability: relationship between requirements and issues surrounding testing, verification, clarification. Consensus seemed to be clarification of troublesome requirements is necessary, rather than excluding or separating them. We hadn't devoted enough time to defining/clarifying them. I analyzed the guidelines and their difficulty of verification by checkpoint on list. It's a first attempt at discerning verifiability and distinguishing which are not. 1.1 for example we identified the issue of non-uniform creation of content across formats. This was identified by Len Kasday. Makes it difficult to determine whether 1.1 has been satisfied.

CS Go over the ones with problems?

JW Obvious ones...

WC What about "write clearly and simply"? any resolution?


CS Defining audiences

GV About defining the content

JW Is what it's already said

CS Anne's site has info on French and Indian war, written for kids, but same content could be written for college audience as well.

GV "Physics for Poets" as another example. Issue is, we can't make this measurable because groups could include people who have low enough cognition as not to know what a web site is.

CS Testing strategies, or document about writing style?

GV Strategies, yes, but testing requires a criterion, and that defines a cutoff point

JW If there's a scale, the hard part is determining where along the scale you put it. Testing would have to be relative to that. Almost defeats the purpose.

KHS No decision on priorities?

CS Not yet.

KHS Options for alternative language levels. Then it's still not normative, more foggy, but makes the point that it would be nice to make info available to a number of audiences, and thus they don't have to dumb down.

CS Techniques for writing for cognitively disabled

KHS And similar documents. But important to say.

CS Going to be hard to draw a line, but knowledge to transfer

GV To go into techniques. We should put requirements on memory, etc. But, if you're dealing with an audience with low cognition, there are techniques relevant to that. To make a page that works without words, page needs to be extremely concrete.

JW Where there's that kind of content, you can't do it

GV So how does one make it meaningful to use? Can't order products if you can't understand words.

KHS Cognitive techniques document? For users who are writing for that target

GV Use a special document. Not W3C's responsibility, but maybe we should get someone to do that.

CS Posted as a note or something.

GV Or done by another group, and linked from W3C to encourage targeted development

WC How does this affect PWDs?

GV W3C not chartered to determine how to design assistive technologies.

WC How about adaptive content (e.g. Kynn's product, Edapta)

GV That's a general access technology for standard content.

WC I think those definitions are dangerous and broad.

GV If you design something only for PWD, with no value to the mass market, that's assistive technology. Same product for everyone else, which can be used by PWDs, that's a mass market technology. Different laws and regulations to their use, as well as objectives. WAI is charged with making web sites accessible, but I don't know if we're excluded from doing this. Within 24 hours, there would be articles in 50 publications talking about how ridiculous the requirements were. Would be misunderstood really fast.

WC We have a communications department so that doesn't get spread in that way. Careful scrutiny of everything we publish.

GV If we had guidelines for specialized audiences, it's an attractive nuisance. Something will happen to have it misused.

JW Different thing from something applicable across sites. What's the main checkpoint? I don't see a major enhancement from WCAG 1.

GV Designers will say, my sites aren't designed for PWDs. It's a content and audience issue?

CS It is legitimate concern

MM Could modularize the techniques to say that if you expect your audience to contain people with this disability, this is what you do with the content.

GV Should be careful about how to state that. Laws say required for low vision. 4 years ago, we said, here's everything you need to do. Now goverments are saying, here's what you must do. We can only put things up there that are required. Or, we can put up guidelines that are recommended. Higher-ups are trying not to do that. One of the problems with the US (S.508), and then there were issues with which guidelines to comply to. We need to think in regulatory terms, unless we want people not to use our guidelines.

WC What we modularize is our techniques. Write clearly and simply, for example. We say "6th grade, college, and low cognition" techniques.

JW There are issues with cognitive because some things are just incomprehensible to some people. You can minimize, and that's as far as you can go.

GV Do we start layering -- I'll pick high-school as my reading level. That doesn't help. Too high. If we do start layering, orgs will start saying, maybe we will aim for lower levels. Cognitive disability advocates have been targeting below kindergarten.

JW What are the criteria for determining simplicity while expressing the same idea.

CS Concerned with lowering reading level of the web as a goal.

JW Me too. I wouldn't lower my writing level under any circumstances. I try to write as clearly as I can, and that's as far as I can go. I write appropriately for my audience, and that needs a reasonable grasp of vocabulary to understand.

GV Jason's undergrad study was law and philosophy. Hard to understand the subject matter anyway.

CS Scientific American article on the semantic web. Still at a college reading level, but the easiest description so far. Herculean task to get it down even to that level.

GV You have to think in terms of the web, and if you can't understand those concepts, you can't understand the semantic web

KHS Have to define levels.

GV Two holes: tools for assessing reading content is "hokey"; we don't say we should lower the graphic content for people with lower vision, we just make sure that it can be done alternatively. Same might work for cognitive. How many different levels are there, and do we make them do one of each?

WC Not even that you have to divide it, but if Tim Berners-Lee writes a semantic web article, and no one understands it, we can say, here's a simpler description. It's not that he has to rewrite it, but here's another way of putting it

KHS One can be soft in terms of level, because even grade level is subjective.

JW Good idea, but still one problem. If you say is X is simpler than Y, how do you determine if X is equivalent to Y, or a good alternative to Y? What does X have to convey that Y doesn't, how much is in X that has to be in Y? We have a clear criterion with images, etc., because we make an assumption to context of material, and ensure that text equivalent is suitable to assisting understanding. Different versions on cognitive grounds are a different question.

KHS Can't simplify a photo. Not giving the same thing. Not easy to pin that down, but we shouldn't give up on it because of that.

JW Not suggesting we don't, suggesting that there's a problem with equivalency.

KHS But do your best.

ASW How do you regulate that?

WC It's a technique, not something to apply to every page. For those who want to do level 3.

GV If we keep levels out of it, people can progress naturally. When we add levels, we add gate points. We say the main content should be lowered in the guidelines now. Now we're saying we should provide an alternative, which ostensibly involves adding a second web page. A lot of work. If we require it, it doubles the size of the web.

JW One should be watching writing style anyway. That might be as much as you can do in some cases. Otherwise there might be background material or potential for rewrite/repurposing.

WC You can make something accessible but ridiculously unusable. One site I know can make their site accessible using video, but that's not how blind users will learn it. It's partly audience, and partly why you're educating. E-commerce vs. education sites, for example. Documents vs. applications. Can we have one set of documents for all?

MM E-commerce sites will require that people are able to read well enough to use a credit card. Can't require less from sites where something like that is an issue.

CS Executive summary idea: lots of parallels with cognitive disability. Both groups are resource-constrained (time vs. cognitive ability)

GV It'd be great if we could tell them to provide a summary at a certain level.

CS You're supposed to write executive summaries at a low level.

JW Summarize my novel?

WC I don't think it's that ridiculous an idea. Card catalogue has basic information attached to everything

MM Same thing with meta description and keywords

JW So, pay attention to grammar, spelling, orthography, using standard terminology to express meaning, then summarize keywords, provide links or references to background material for people who don't grasp the content, applicable to a lot of content out there. Strategies being set out, now which belong in guidelines, how are they defined regarding requirements and compliance, and how do they fit in the document structure?

WC Metadata being discussed. Already in WCAG 1, as well as document collections. Don't know what's in 2.0, but metadata is one thing to explore.

KHS How can one say "this page is optimized for low vision", etc., so that someone comes up with optimized pages by search?

CS RDF description for conformance.

WC Partly expressed in evaluation

$Katie Haritos-Shea 05-01-2001$