Joe Clark writes in A List Apart that web accessibility is under threat from its own guidelines
An upcoming revision to the Web Accessibility Guidelines is in danger of becoming unrealistically divorced from real-world web development, yielding guidelines that are at once too vague and too specific. Your expertise and input can help create realistic guidelines that work.
In this piece Joe runs through his issues with the WCAG 2.0 guidelines – currently a 14,000 word document if you exclude markup examples which makes the prospect of reading it akin to ‘an anaconda trying to swallow a Range Rover’.
It is true to say that Joe has something of a love/hate relationship with the various WAI groups, but it is also true to say that there are few things less pleasurable than reading through the accessibility documentation, be that version 1.0 or 2.0. Explaining what these documents mean to people new to the topic of web accessibility invariably involves dumbing them down to the bare minimum and thus losing the fine points that members of the working group have worked long and hard to get incorporated in the first place. Or, alternatively, you scare them off entirely by insisting that they read the whole lot (which they won’t).
Having attended a face-to-face meeting of the working group, I have seen first-hand how difficult it is to progress the documentation and to get consensus on key points – and this is in a controlled forum where you can get answers instantly from the people directly in charge of the documentation’s direction. I came away with a feeling that to be a full-time working group participant would take a lot of my free time, and I really didn’t think I could realistically offer the commitment that it deserves. However, like Joe, I do believe that it’s important that anyone with an interest in accessibility and a little free time looks at the issue and contributes where they can – Joe lists the many ways at the foot of his article.
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