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Education & Outreach (EO) Working Group Teleconference, November 12, 1999

Scribe/Encoder: Gregory J. Rosmaita
Comments to: Judy Brewer, <>
Last updated: November 15, 1999




Agenda Review

JB: While there is no set agenda, but I would like to address the following topics:
  1. Outreach updates
  2. WAI Curriculum / Slide Set Update
  3. AOL Case as an Outreach Issue
  4. Brainstorming for Authoring Tool Working Group "FAQ"
  5. Wrap-Up and Announcements

Outreach Update

JB: attended 2 meetings this past week in Denmark: fielded a lot of comments on the W3C web site as a whole and the WAI web site in particular; Jakob Nielsen had been in town the week before, and apparantly, the W3C and WAI web space fails most of Nielsen's criteria for what makes a good, usable web site.

MRK: what are his criteria?

GJR: check his web site:

JB: I'm currently updating the EO page--are there any further comments on the WAI slides?

CL: currently in process of trying to get to Albany, NY on Thursday to present curriculum Guidelines to New York State webmasters and policy people; just passed requirement to make web sites accessible (compliant with WCAG); they couldn't get Judy, so they asked for me!

CMN: went to Dusseldorf, hands-on presentation how to make sites accessible (hands-on); Madrid for SIDAR on W3C and WAI;

JB: comments?

CMN: German one geeky -- people asked geeky questions; how do you use CC/PP and XML; Spanish one focused upon dealing with English in order to participate in the WAI -- "how can we be sure that the translations are worth reading?"; one content developer told me that WAI work is best there is and that techies in Spain should learn English! -- several people told me that they had dropped out of the WAI mailing lists because they couldn't keep up with the volume of traffic because the dialogue was being conducted in another language

JB: mailing list in other languages or documents in other languages -- which is more pressing need?

CMN: that the docs are in English is not a huge problem -- people seem happy with idea that they can read a document or get a translation of a document; the problem stated was that solutions that work in the U.S.A. often don't work in Europe -- told them that not everyone in WAI from the U.S.; they also felt that it is very difficult for them to participate in the WAI due to linguistic barriers, as well as geographic constraints (different time zones, etc.) and didn't feel that their concerns were being addressed or would be addressed

JB: did 2 rounds of presentations in Denmark this week -- one of the interesting things that came up specifically was the issue of lag in technology improvements outside of English and fact that priority levels of some of the checkpoints in GLs are based on what was supported in English versions of browsers and screen readers; example: extent to which multiple screen readers in a given language support unwrapping of table markup -- affected final priorities of several table-related checkpoints -- 2 or more month lag before gets rolled into Danish version of Jaws; some context missing; make a note that links to the browser support page where we track interim status of support of "Until user agent" issues; thinking that that's the particular kind of thing that doesn't address all of problems CMN addressed, but could make GLs more relevant and more international; Danish trying to gather information on this topic

HB: hard to get commitment from any vendor for when any language will become available

GJR: international versions of AT often 6 months to a year behind English release; even with major mainstream vendors, internationalization is a problem -- the first release of MSAA, for example, when applied to a computer set to run Windows in a language other than English, caused all of the error and system messages to be output in U.S. English!

JB: Henter-Joyce has a commitment, now supported in English version, but not Danish -- don't know when will be available, but heard that is not supported yet; this is the type of info that needs to be added to the Browser Support Page (BSP):
which currently has no data on it;

CMN: I have one test case for one aspect

JB: Charles, if you put stuff on there send a note to the team to alert them

HB: insidious observation based on Gregory's comments -- a vendor can claim that some version is Double or Triple A compliant, but doesn't follow through to international version -- need to guard against over-statement of claim and that they specify for US English version only if that is indeed the case

JB: sometimes lag is more than a year -- BSP became necessary when WCAG was released in May due to "Until user agent" clauses; page may need some different information -- when feature or software is available for different languages; actually, the BSP needs a few things:

  1. language negotiated versions of docs,
  2. clearer links to translated versions,
  3. clearer info on reliability of translations (official or not);
  4. more reflector lists in different languages;
  5. differences in language-based support for UA or AT behavior
partly coordination question, partly resource question

HB: at December 9 at XML conference there will be a focus on accessibility; since it is being held on the same day as the UA F2F, GJR --- whom I had initially invited -- can't do it, but he has suggested, and put me in contact with, a few potential substitutes; most likely is Janina Sajka of AFB, who is, incidentally, a reviewer for the UAGL

// ACTION GJR: call Janina to confirm participation in XML Conference

JB: how many presenters? Harvey, Janina, and me?

HB: Eric thought he would be able to do UA because he is a reviewer;

JB: let's get a conference call to discuss with all involved

// ACTION JB: check with Daniel Dardailler about WAI participation in Philadelphia XML Conference; co-ordinate conference call with participants (HB, JB, Janina)

JB: I performed 2 presentations this week -- Danish Library Umbrella -- association of 5 different library associations and unions in Denmark; Danish Ministry on Research and Information Technology had conference for web designers; both pretty interesting; Umbrella 15 or 20 or so participants, head of Danish Library Association attended, most there had authority to implement programs; head of DLA trying to get Association to endorse and comply with WAI docs; on task force for IFLA -- will try to get it addressed there too; second event was with the Danish Ministry of Research and Information Technology -- over 250 attendees -- 80% web designers; what struck me was majority of people had been hearing about web accessibility for quite some time; had full day of programs; talked about policy development, examples of different kinds of access; what had driven awareness was blindness association that for 2 consecutive years did survey of governmental municipal web sites and published results, did press releases, and sent reports to webmasters -- strategy had gotten web masters to pay attention, but so far not much progress; frustration about GLs being difficult to use; criticism of WAI site and W3C site in general particularly in regard Jakob Nielsen's comments;

HB: anyone at W3C going to review his comments

JB: already under review; may get commercial developer to help redo site; would anyone on call volunteer to look at his criteria and current version of WAI homepage and review that I began in the summer

// ACTION MRK & GJR: review WAI web space against Jakob Neilson's criteria

MRK: will look at heuristic rules and other stuff available at <>

JT: what is the upcoming meeting in Austin that Harvey mentioned?

JB: December 9 and 10 User Agent WG to process Last Call issues; for active members of that working group to get UAGL ready for Proposed Recommendation; need to send out reminders about last call; notice went out on WAI-IG on November 3 to announce that had reached last call


JB: William Loughburough and Jonathan Chetwynd have already reviewed it; is anyone else willing to review and comment on it?

HB: if I am presenting it at XML conference, will review it carefully

JB: no, not the WCAG overview, but the WAI Overview, located at:

// ACTION CL, HB, WL, and JT: review and comment WAI Overview

JT: can you ask designer to eliminate space at beginning of link?

JB: artifact space or quote before alt text on buttons for slide?

JT: I don't know--but I know I hear "apostrophe on" and "apostrophe back" or some such thing when using JAWS

CMN: no extraneous apostrophes or quotes in source

GJR: problem is that the title is defined in the IMG declaration, rather than the hyperlink definition; need to move it

// WL joins

JB: William, you've already paid your dues on this, but you are welcome to do more; Chuck, is the Curriculum for WCAG cooked?

CL: yep

JB: that should be headline on WAI homepage for a while; maybe competing headline along with Last Call notice for UAGL and a Proposed Recommendation notice for ATAG; needs to be advertised to WAI-IG, W3C Members, added to next iteration of Literature Stuffer

CL: need to move whole thing to W3C space

JB: ok, need to figure out URL for it

CL: will create redirect page from my site for those who have it bookmarked

JB: will be mirrored around the world to speed up access time; CL, do you have shell account access at W3C?

CL: may have been originally given it, but never got the special software to work on my system

JB: if doing ongoing maintenance, do you want to do it offline and send it to us, or do it online? I would prefer if you do it online

CL: if given some help, could do it online

JB: Geoff, are you going to need online access to some of this stuff?

GF: CL doing actual updating -- I just send stuff to him

JB: anything else about curriculum?

GF: want to thank CL for doing the lion's share of this work

HB: would either of you want to present this at the XML Conference?

GF: I'm already committed that day

CL: doubt highly if could do it; could we talk about it offline, Judy?

JB: yes

HB: prepared to do it, but might be good if author was there

JB: HB, you can give it an XML spin

CL: (laughs) well, I certainly couldn't do that!

HB: will be presented one way or another

JB: HB talk with CL about presenting them

CL: HB call me and I'll help however I can


JB: want to talk about how WAI is handling this; appears that the issue is accessibility of client software and less of the AOL site, potentially relevant guidance in the User Agent Guidelines and Web Content Accessibility Guidelines. Have gotten a number of press requests -- is it possible to make this type of technology accessible? focus of comments: WAI helps develop solutions for people who want to make sites accessible; Is it required? been pointing folks to U.S. Department of Justice opinion from September 1996; directing people to Cynthia Waddell and other places as well; done btw 6 and 8 interviews including one on TV

GJR: don't forget ATAG -- what about AOL Press? -- the software provided by AOL for members to create pages?

JB: interesting point; W3C industry consortium, AOL is a member; WAI has been producing GLs that are relevant; we are not in a place where can take position on lawsuit, but can use it as an opportunity to increase awareness of resources WAI has produced -- how to make sites and software accessible

JT: demonstrated online shopping using adaptive technology this week for a reporter from the Christian Science Monitor; coverage didn't appear in the paper this week -- expect to be a story next Wednesday; Judy, are you encouraging or discouraging press inquiries?

JB: encouraging; discuss solutions that are available and those coming down the pike

JT: Monitor article had to be delayed an extra week -- may be blown up into several articles as a result, so author may be looking for more angles and related stories

AGENDA ITEM 4: Authoring Tool FAQ

JB: want to take a second pass at the list of questions generated at the October 15 EO teleconference:
  1. which tool can I use (top three questions, according to CMN)
  2. is it a problem if I use an authoring tool to create pages with a an extension other than .htm or .html?
  3. what tools comply
  4. does ATAG apply to tools that can "Save As HTML" or "Save to Web"?
  5. does ATAG cover the conversion features of applications such as WordPerfect, Word, and Excel?

JB: what are the questions that we are going to get hit with?

GJR: one question I get asked repeatedly -- at least 4 or 5 times a week -- is: "are there any tutorials tailored for authors who are blind?" or are there any tutorials tailored for authors with disabilities?" -- people need more than just a tool, they want guidance and examples

JB: I've received many similar requests

CMN: there is a set of tutorials on HTML4 and CSS somewhere on the web -- I found them again recently, and will send URI to the EO list

WL: can HotDog use Lynx as viewing browser? HotDog is pretty accessible

CMN: don't know off top of my head; how to do the whole lot; what about people who still want to do their HTML from scratch, but still address accessibility?

WL what about Dave Raggett's stuff?

JB: more basic how-to do HTML than how to do accessible HTML; want to refocus on ATAG FAQ; "how can I learn how to use authoring tools?" -- "does ATAG address theaccessibility of authoring tools' interface?" -- "will authoring tools that follow ATAG be more accessible?" -- any others?

WL: I don't know if it addresses the need for tutorials, but ATAG encourages good documentation

JT: how can I verify whether my pages are accessible?

JB: great -- should turn into questions the info in ATAG

WL: is the output created by an ATAG-compliant tool going to be too vanilla to use in commercial settings? -- will an authoring tool going to allow me to create interesting pages?

JB: good question to keep in there; I really want to point out what is actually in ATAG by turning checkpoints and guidelines into questions, such as "will it help me create accessible content?"

WL: will W3C's own authoring tool Amaya comply with ATAG?

JB: what is in the ATAG that we want to highlight? -- point out sample implementations?

CMN: they're now refered to as "reference implementations", and can be located (for now) at:

JT: can you choose your level of compliance?

JB: are there different levels of compliance?

WL: do you just tell people what to do, or do you tell them how to do it?

JB: isn't that the same as reference implementation?

JT: yes, but it makes sense and is in English

WL: are you going to furnish any kind of boilerplate / template in addition to ALT-registry? open source validators, etc.

GJR: are there repair tools available for my existing pages?

CMN: where should I start? (answer: checklist)

JB: is there some kind of checklist that I can use to assess my current policy / implementation?

WL: why should I do this? do I have to do this?

JB: is there a consumer demand for this?

GJR: how do I convert my existing code to bring it in line with the code I will generate from now on, using an ATAG-compliant tool and WCAG? will I have to rewrite my core code?

HB: what can I salvage from my underlying methods of work?

JB: think about it from web design company's point-of-view

JT: will use of an ATAG compliant tool really help me reach more people?

JB: will authoring tool developers actually comply?

WL: will these tools enable me to pass the government's requirements?

MRK: how do my customers benefit from this?

JB: will my customers be happier if I use tools that follow these guidelines? should I be asking tool developers to implement ATAG?

GJR: how does ATAG relate to WCAG and UAGL?

WL: will my tool help me design for all browsers? will it create things that aren't consistently supported by all browsers?

GJR: tie that to UAGL -- stress relationship between authoring tool and user agent -- one provides accessible content, the other needs to render and/or expose it

JT: any update on the web review team?

JB: not very much; one regrouping meeting between Daniel, Sylvie, Dominique, and myself; I'm supposed to be drafting 2 short statements

CL: would be handy if can get to that soon; trying to get funding for Canadian government sponsored web review team

JB: won't be travelling much in next few weeks, so that should help

WL: HTML Writers' Guild policy statement -- if they're going to deal with the pages that way, can also deal with the tools that people are using

JB: already have testimony from HWG for ATAG

WL: can we use this announcement by them to shame other such groups into doing something similar?

JB: a number of groups that are looking at different levels of promotion; not interested in setting up a shame list

GJR: would it be mentioned on Policy page or somewhere else, as it really isn't a policy, per se -- at least not in the way that the other policies listed there are

JB: Promotions page -- what guild is doing, what IBM is doing (requiring subcontractors to follow WCAG), what others are doing -- need to capture but right now is a resource issue keeping it from becoming a reality


JB: next meetings scheduled for 3 and 5 weeks from today:
Terminal Index
1. Minutes from other EO Meetings
2. return to the EOWG Home Page
3. return to the WAI homepage

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