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Programming The Internet IT Technology

Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0 Now Final 57

Posted by kdawson
from the standards-grind-slow dept.
beetle496 writes "It has been going on nine years now, but finally there are formal standards for Web accessibility for technologies other than HTML. They ask that you start with the press release (lots of links), but regulars might be more entertained by the last time WCAG made the front page here. Many folks here will point out that web accessibility is old hat, and by implication this is hardly news, but if you do Web development for any government organization, you should expect that accessibility is a base requirement. The Section 508 standards are to be updated (relatively) soon too."
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Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0 Now Final

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  • Red heading (Score:1, Offtopic)

    by sakdoctor (1087155)

    Is the red heading an accessibility feature,
    or is it just to alert trolls that 1st post is still available?

  • Nine years? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Jeff Hornby (211519) <jthornby@@@sympatico...ca> on Friday December 12, 2008 @04:23PM (#26095203) Homepage

    Nine years? Nine YEARS? Are you kidding me?

    Is it any wonder that so much software is not standards compliant. I mean seriously, if standards bodies really want to be taken seriously outside of academia, they really need to start working more than a few minutes a month. Have these people thought about adopting this standard: the forty hour work week.

    • Bureaucracy. Everyone has its own ideas on how it should be. :(

    • by MacDork (560499)
      9 years? IE 8 will finally support the <q> tag [alistapart.com] If they worked any faster, it wouldn't matter because Microsoft would never catch up anyway.
  • Oh, crap... (Score:5, Funny)

    by Curien (267780) on Friday December 12, 2008 @04:28PM (#26095277)

    Guideline 2.3 Seizures: Do not design content in a way that is known to cause seizures.

    Well, so much for all MY code!

    • Yeah. But the real questions is -- what are all the sites with Perl example code on them going to do?

      • by tsalmark (1265778)
        Continue to show Perl example code? The fact that you can not read it does not make it any less beautiful to the initiated.
        • It's a joke. I know how to program in Perl, I just hate Perl. The reason I hate Perl is the reason so many like Perl -- TIMTOWTDI. Ironically, my love/hate relationship with Python revolves around the concept of TIOOTDI.

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by tsalmark (1265778)
      <BLINK>Whats wrong with your code?</BLINK>
  • nine years? (Score:5, Funny)

    by girlintraining (1395911) on Friday December 12, 2008 @04:33PM (#26095357)

    Nine years and this is what they come up with? What else came from 1999... Oh, right: The first delay in the release of Duke Nukem Forever. And I also believe that's the year they came out with "cooler ranch" potato chips, and they've sucked ever since. Ah, and there was that Prince song. Yes, that one. So based on empirical evidence, I conclude that this too shall suck, but we'll party like it's... *bang*

    NO CARRIER

  • that half the web is not standards compliant.... good thing they are finally publishing this.

  • i wonder... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by pwolf (1016201) on Friday December 12, 2008 @04:57PM (#26095667)
    Now that this has been released, i wonder when the first lawsuit will be filed against [insert random government agency] for not having a W3C Web Accessibility Standard wesbite. Little Timmy can't read the website using his text to speech :(
    • A school, perhaps? Or maybe a government organization. A hospital?

      Y'know, something that should be accessible to everyone?

    • It's not like 508 is something new. They're just revising the guidelines that have been out there for years. I would think by now all Government agencies have gotten clued in as to how to satisfy 508 requirements. (Or they know how to get waivers approved.)

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Good luck with your non-CSS, table-based layout, javascript and Flash-required things you like to refer to as "websites".

    • A lot of what 508 is striving for is just good design and usability, with accessibility being the foundation upon which usability is built. (If it's not accessible how can it be usable?) As you point out a lot of things that fail are just poorly designed or implemented.
    • by MacDork (560499)
      From what I've read WCAG2 is a step backwards. [alistapart.com] The sort of sites you mention are indeed inaccessible, but then... they didn't pass WCAG 1 either.
  • by Spikeman56 (543509) on Friday December 12, 2008 @05:44PM (#26096419) Homepage
    The title has to be the farthest I've seen "Web" away from "two-point-oh" in a long time... a whole three words!
  • by twmcneil (942300) on Friday December 12, 2008 @05:45PM (#26096443)
    Is it just me or are most of these Accessibility Standards (sadly) just not worth the time and trouble?

    I am hearing impaired. What's the accessibility standard to help me enjoy a podcast? Do we require closed captioning for all podcasts? Require a written transcript to be posted with every podcast?

    Sure, there's plenty of podcasts I'd like to "listen" to and can't but for each pound of extra baggage we pile on a publisher, we reduce the incentive to publish. How long before all this well-intentioned madness starts to limit the amount of good material that is published?

    The inevitable end result is an artificial reduction in the amount of material available to all.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Shados (741919)

      long before all this well-intentioned madness starts to limit the amount of good material that is published?

      It already does. Some companies that are bound by these standards or regulation (since in certain case, it is enforced by law) have been slapped on the wrists (or more) for publishing things without following all accessibility rules, and the result sometimes has been to simply not publish them at all, because it ended up being too much worse (let say, for a professor who wanted to publish some extra i

      • There are lots of workarounds to make things accessible, like providing plain-text alternatives through a link to equivalent content. As I said in another post, Section 508 is only the law for (US) Government-procured systems and applications. You can even find workarounds for multimedia and Flash to make them compliant, though this is easier if you start out with accessibility in mind rather than trying to change a complex site or system that's already out there. The regulations also allow for "undue burde
        • by Shados (741919)

          Section 508 isn't the end of the world, yeah (though some sections of it get somewhat ignored...thankfully, else it would quickly get out of hand)... but there is precedents outside of that, like the judgement against Target in 2006. Now granted, for that one it was a fairly stupid thing that Target could have fixed easily, but its still a scary precedent. There are some colleges that have similar policites for accessibility that have caused issues over the internal web sites that stopped some people from p

    • by FatMacDaddy (878246) on Friday December 12, 2008 @06:33PM (#26097091)
      I couldn't disagree more.

      I guess they're not worth your time and trouble as long as you can get to most of what you want. Nearly one in four Americans has some sort of disability, so savvy publishers who don't want to lose out on a big chunk of marketshare find it worthwhile to comply.

      In the case of commerical sites, vendors find that disabled users are a loyal lot and will keep frequenting sites and businesses that support their needs. And they won't waste time struggling with a non-compliant site if the competition is compliant.

      The argument that this puts undue burden on content providers is BS. The same thing was said about forcing car makers to include seat belts, and on and on. Like the cutouts in sidewalks, not just disabled people benefit from the efforts to accommodate their needs; the general public does, too.

      Lastly, while it is well intentioned for general use, 508 applies only to things being provided to the (US) Government. If you didn't factor in the costs of accessibility into your bid, then too bad for you.

      • ...Nearly one in four Americans has some sort of disability, so savvy publishers who don't want to lose out on a big chunk of marketshare find it worthwhile to comply. ...

        That's a bit misleading... how many of those have a disability that actually matters when it comes to web disability.

        I think of all the people I know (yes, it's more than 4... good for a nerd), and I can only think of a handful that might be slightly disadvantaged when using a non-standard page.

    • Agreed. I like to use a Mount Everest metaphor. Can no one go to Mount Everest until we build a wheelchair ramp up it? Or should we let those who are able to as far as they can?

      We can make things accessible as much as possible, but with finite resources, sometimes you can only fund a trip to Everest for an able-bodied person, or you can make a few local buildings wheelchair accessible for the same money.

      Where's the money better spent? Both are worthy causes.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        Sorry but wtf are people doing on Mount Everest that's so important?

        To use your metaphor, there's been a lot of sending people up Mount Everest while someone in a wheelchair can't get around at work.

    • Or at least, the writing of the standards were. From Joe Clark's comments from early 2006 [alistapart.com]:

      The process stinks
      And now a word about process, which you have have to appreciate in order to understand the result. The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines Working Group is the worst committee, group, company, or organization I've ever worked with. Several of my friends and I were variously ignored; threatened with ejection from the group or actually ejected; and actively harassed. The process is stacked in favour

    • I am hearing impaired. What's the accessibility standard to help me enjoy a podcast? Do we require closed captioning for all podcasts? Require a written transcript to be posted with every podcast?

      No, we have guidelines which suggest providing a text alternative enclosed in a semantically meaningful, standards-compliant markup so anyone browsing with a user agent which deals with things in those terms can make some amount of use of them. In terms of audio content, this can range from full transcripts to a

  • Reading Level (Score:4, Interesting)

    by nuigi (924821) on Friday December 12, 2008 @07:04PM (#26097469)
    I disagree that the reading level of sites should be brought down to a 9th grade reading level [w3.org] [w3.org]. A reading level rating would be more appropriate. Most of the internet, slashdot included, will not have a problem with that; the web content worth reading, slashdot included, are well above that.

    According to the linked page, "popular software" can determine the reading level of text in multiple languages. A quick Google search revealed a PHP project php-text-statistics [google.com]; it would be interesting to see if there is a correlation between highly moderated comments and some of the reading comprehension metrics.
    • I agree completely. If you use a word like "microprocessor" in a sentence, then you've pretty much shot the RGL of that sentence unless you just have one or two other words in it. RGLs are meaningless in technical material, and not all of the web is commercial or entertainment sites.

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by mad_robot (960268)
      One is behooved to concord that perspicuity is indubitably the sine qua non of all linguistic pereginations.
    • by jonadab (583620)

      > the web content worth reading, slashdot included, are well above that.

      You're joking, right?

      I would have estimated the reading level on slashdot, on a good day, at about third grade, roughly at the same difficulty level with such childhood favorites as The Wizard in the Tree, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, and The Adventures of Tom Sawyer.

      By ninth grade you're supposed to be able to read Shakespeare.

  • Don't be afraid to give them tasks you don't understand how it can be done.
    Don't be afraid to let them do things you can't do.
    Don't let other managers have access to them directly, they are your people, if someone has a problem with one of them, or a task for one of them, they need to talk to you.
    Don't play favorites. Spread the work load evenly (let them help you do this.)
    When you assign them tasks, give them pre-determined checkpoints for checking progress. This really helps you avoid micro mana

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