19 Sep 2002 - WCAG WG Teleconference Minutes


doyle, wendy, lisa, jason, gregg, ben, bengt, john, andi, avi, lee, loretta

on irc: Roberto, Maurizio


gian, matt, eugenia

Action Items

action ls, aa: draft proposal for 4.1 based on today's discussion. will try to do by 10 october.

checkpoint 4.1

ls there is not question this is tricky. what are the sticking points? I'd like to articulate them.

ls think we have 3 choices:

  1. write checklist of success criteria that would be useful for people with cognitive disabilties that would require anything that is widely applicable. do our best where not applicable into the criteria. (e.g. where style is not the main issue...use short sentences, etc.)

    we would end up with minimal accessibility that is something people would reject since we assume that people will not be that rigorous.

  2. give a compromised version. not require the same rigor for cognitive disabilities that we do for other disabilities.

    all images require text equivalent. but for cognitive, we'd water it down. "where appropriate..."

    result, might be the best we can do, but if we go that route should acknowledge it. state it clearly. the result, the guidelines are not equal to cognitive disabilities.

  3. (requires the most work) do something more creative. involve changing markup, new standards (like ILS), etc.

    ls use RDF. it should be possible. we cna create a standard that requires people to use different authoring techniques. is not a compromise in either direction.

jw there are 3 levels in which to work. this analysis is not mutually exclusive. it is possible to do any of those in a 3 level framework.

gv one of premises is that if we don't make pages completely accessible to everyone with a cognitive disability then we are treating this one with less. it is saying we are less rigorous with this one.

gv that puts us in a place that does not help.

gv we are trying to be as rigorous as we can with all disabilities.

gv there are many of the guidelines that help people with cognitive disabilities. there are also pieces of content not accessible to people with other disabilities.

gv e.g. how do we make symphonies accessible to people who are deaf?

gv we don't require anything in that instance.

gv we say to describe diagrams, but there is no way to provide an equivalent experience.

gv what we are able to do is a function of what can be done without asking authors to reauthor material. to create it over.

rscano yes... we cannot grant more "benefits" to only some disabilities: this will be no right for other disability classes. We need to make an equal valutation for all the disabilities

gv there are some areas that we have some difficulty with. but, it is not because we feel they are 2nd class citizens.

gv as we look at the cognitive area, as we have done with other areas...pages are only accessible to technologies not to the people.

gv it is then up to the tools to make them accessible.

rscano yes... the same mind of mine

gv requiring authors to make directly accessible is something we have not done in other areas.

ls i don't think anyone thinks cog. disabilities are 2nd class citizens. We are trying to write something that is accepted and don't want this issue to be why it is not accepted.

ls however, i would like to disagree that providing text equiv for image is all we do. we also talk about restructuring the page.

ls we also talk about alternative renderings.

ls it may be legitimate to say we want to make it realistic, but if we argue we want to make it equal, then today's discussion is to do our best to make things with significant impact a level 1 criteria.

ls if widely applicable and testable, make level 1. we need to find the right wording to make it widely applicable.

gv missed that. can anyone on the phone fill in what gregg said?

ls level 3 is anything that is testable

cs testable that didn't meet level 1 or 2 criteria.

cs the levels don't really address importance but applicability.

ls 3 could be things that are not applicable on all sites.

gv or extraordinarily hard to do.

ls level 1 be widely applicable.

ls in your summary email you said we could build that into the criteria text so that it becomes widely applicable.

jw i don't think it helps to talk about whehter something can or can't be built in. in the absence of discussion of particular criteria we might invest a lot of time in general discussion.

jw we needto talk about specific criteria to make progress. let's talk at a concrete level. discuss particular proposals.

cs agree

js begin at the beginning? read 1st posted proposal.

jw avi's proposal

cs don't set up a situation where new content can not claim any level of conformance.

aa something written at phd level could claim conformance if fellow phds can understand.

cs want to make sure we allow that people can read at a more difficult reading level.

aa not easier to understand but more difficult to misunderstand.

aa if people can say, "we've written a summary that is appropriate for phds. we've made an effort to make it easier fr any human to understand."

js in addition, to make it explicit that simple measures of "readability" that assign grade level are not sufficient.

aa i wanted to avoid that as a criteria.

js in an advisory note, explicitly say that relying only on those measure is not a good measure.

gv that which make its easier for everyone could make it more difficult for phds.

gv if it makes it easier for one person, it could make it more difficult for another. this also involves different ethnicities.

gv if make it easier for one ethnic group might make it more difficult for another.

gv is there something that is absolutely "more" or "less" understandable that is widely acceptable.

cs as with art, there are things not expressed in teh words.

aa looking at the other checkpoints and criteria, there is flexibility built-in.

aa think of it not as an absolute rule. it doesn't impose so much as encourage. you don't have to dumb-down or oversimplify. keep your audience in mind.

aa no matter what, you have an audience in mind when you write. i know we don't want to associate too much with one group or another. but you have an audience.

cs if i write an email for this group it is different than an email for another group.

aa no guidelines can reasonably say "you have to write for everyone." if you are going to claim conformance, then you have made an effort (in the context of what you are doing) to help aid understanding.

aa it won't simplify, but add a summary or bullet items (instead of long paragraph), etc. as desired or where it can benefit.

cs i hope the idea of appropriateness is not lost.

aa right. people become defensive when you ask them to change how they write. most people often don't think like a writer.

aa i was tempted to put in, "the tension between writers and editors and writers and audiences has always existed. these guidelines aren't intended to end the conflict, but offer ways to reduce needless complexity."

js perhaps you are getting at these are guidelines that might provide support for the editorial conversations.

js the assumption is that in most professional writing situation, there is some sort of group process.

js person X puts out Y. other people review. the challenge is to figure out the criteria to decide when we have done the right thing.

js this checkpoint proposes to offer that criteria to use in those discussions.

cs i'm all for triggering editorial discussions where they haven't happened before. i want to ensure we are not causing meaning to be lost.

ls jw pointed out that the discussion should be based on practical ideas.

ls this is the difference of the two approaches: avi is suggesting something idealistic. that people will read the guideliens and do the best job they can. my experience is that people get a reduced version of the checklist and told "do this."

ls it is often at the end of the process and they often don't have much time.

ls e.g. "use active voicing" is not widely applicable.

ls does a phd have to use active voice? of the approaches, use it and people discuss. instead, write it twice.

ls write it "in instructions use active voice." that is widely applicable.

ls then at level 3, "use active voicing."

ls if you want a list of things, that could be included in a list of htings to check off.

js we are doing something with written language that we do not do with respect to any other media that we discuss.

js there is nothing about quality of graphics, intelligle graphics, etc. e.g. "good graphic design vs bad graphic design."

js i'm not saying it is a wrong thing to do, but it is qualitatively different.

aa right. the key is to avoid aesthetic judgements.

aa here could be something to spur discussion about editorial decisions.

aa can the checklist be used internally so that the provider says, "we are following x, y, z then someone else say 'yes, you are'"

jw getting some interesting work here. when 4.2 criteria come up for detailed analysis, the issue of good graphics/audio will come up (as a counterpart to good language).

jw 4.1 and 4.2 share that issue. Sometimes measures make written content for some harder for others.

wac is there more than anecdotal evidence for this?

gv things that are generally true are not always true.

gv lawyers/law suits will characterize interactions with professors. it is not accurate if it is not qualified.

ls are we talking about stating your lexicon? defining your term? e.g. what do you mean by reasonable?

cs it goes beyond defining words.

ls remove the ambiguity. write the rdf that say what you meant in what place, regardless of what languag eyou use.

cs i'm not against specific criteria. there needs to be an art exception.

ls absolutely.

mvittoria but it is different for different audiences

ls if someone is making a site that explains directions to the train station...

cs if making cold fusion, might need to use jargon.

aa when president clinton first printed a memorandum (on plain language) there are exceptions. e.g. a scientist has to use terms appropriate for their area.

aa i recognize the danger in turning words around to simplify them. if everyone is used to 'a" being called 'a' to call it some place else can be confusing.

gv there are lots of used for 'snow.' but, we call them all snow. slush is different from powder.

gv snow is not just snow when you are talking about skiing.

gv mostly new terms are created to increase precision.

ls there is no question. keep the meaning.

gv and specificity.

cs is "change the meaning" testable?

ls human testable, yes. "I didn't mean snow. i meant powder."

gv powder is snow.

cs in scientific text...

rscano only human testable, so we need to let the user to decide if is used in right mode or not

aa "dot to dot" testing. assemble a group of people, have them read a particular section, then ask them what they are asked to do. the person from the group explains in own terms.

cs that is a great test, if looking for general purpose content.

cs if talking about content that only 5 people in the world understand, how do you say if you've lost meaning?

aa do the best you can. think of this in the same way as the other checkpoints. they won't solve all of the problems in the world but it will make it better.

cs where do we draw the "your problem" line.

jw ...

aa we have been wanting to start a center for plain language. everyone has done their own study on their own segment. we want to know the answers so we can apply it rigorously.

mvittoria and the "plain language" is not an utopia now?

ls what if we take some of these complex things and see which have been applied or could have been and it would have helped?

ls someone who can't read philosphy because they are dyslexic does not mean they can not understand it.

ls that material is not accessible to them. when think of audience, think about people who could be capable of understanding if they could get it.

db most info on the web was not intended to be put on the web. do we want people to change that? no. readability of text regardless of field, people will write to the bulk of the people in their audience.

ls it's not everyone. it's everyone who is interested, capable, and irrespective of disability.

js i am trying to make a case in a proposal that the percentage of students with disabilities on our campus b/c we have done so little to make materials that they need to succeed accessible.

js i have had several chicken and egg arguments with colleagues.

aa by rewriting announcement, understanding increased 5-fold.

gv rewrote more simply and put them in new places. not sure which responsible.

jw thinking about success criteria, we have avi's proposal.

jw is it the basic way to operate? how to move forward? we know the constraints.

aa taking js's idea: are you considering your audience? ... you've made it clear who's done the action. if you've met x number (or percent)

aa then you pass. or you've considered it. if you follow, that's fine. if not, that's fine.

jw in other checkpoints, "you have considered the list and taken action where appropriate" (level 1)

jw level 2 - asserting it has been reviewed for appropriateness and quality.

aa to consider an item tha tyou might not have before, the fact that you are considering is the success.

aa b/c in some cases, the success is to consider but not to use it.

db i agree w/that.

rscano me too

ls i'm not trusting people. that's the difference. my experience of what i've seen of how they implement accessiblity is "let's get it over with asap."

ls giving people a way out, is not what i want to do. i would rather say, "in instructions use active voice."

wac "active voice" is perhaps a very european concept. in some cultures, something like active voice could be considered rude.

ls perhaps "where not considered rude"

aa in culturally appropriate way...

aa even within those languges probably better and worse ways to do. perhaps by context.

aa we have to at least raise it. a term of address.

aa the target of the instruction knows that he or she is expected to do this

js and what "this" is.

ls make success criteria widely applicable or do something softer and more encouraging and less rigorous.

js possible to do something that sounds soft but is not soft. write general criteria that operate at high level that can apply across languages and cultural contexts.

js that is not less rigorous, it might be more rigorous rather than hard and fast rules.

js language is inherently unstable and ambiguous. understanding is not in the document it is in the people who are trying to understand.

js a document mediates between author and audience. you have to deal with informed judgement.

js i teach writing. people who are good writers spend their whole lives mastering their craft. we are trying to get into 150 words 3,000 years worth of what makes clear communication.

ls why are we attempting this instead of working on markup to help the tool? e.g. alt attribute to give alternative rendering.

ls then write what you like, use rdf in a separate document somenoe else can represent what you meant via wordnet or something. then that could be translated to symbol codes at the user ends.

js i don't see it as an either or. perhaps develop that markup. also possible to provide guidance to writers.

js not saying "drop the whoel thing." but, provide people with flesiblity to use their judgement. we are using in a limited space.

js there are hundreds books published each year on how to write.

jw probably the best that we have at the moment is to write success criteria that require certain matters be taken into account and that give author flexibility in how they do it.

jw not a matter of thinking about for 5 seconds, but considering where changes can be made.

wac have you asked yourself these quesitons? yes/no then provide a list.

aa provide at each level?

aa might include adhereing to set of guidelines, e.g. US guidelines, vs UK or something - you've gone the extra mile.

ls e.g. boeing

ls invested so much time and money in using controlled language.

jw suspect we will have a reasonably comprehensive list of items divided out among levels (perhaps) that success criteria that asks you to do more than look at them.

jw next phase is to set out action items to draft something.

jw level 2 should be similar to others, "have been reviewed for quality" and author makes assertion.

jw agree that at level 3 insist on controlled language or something to demonstrate taking the extra step.

action ls, aa: draft proposal for 4.1 based on today's discussion. will try to do by 10 october.

$Date: 2002/09/20 01:13:38 $ Wendy Chisholm