Thread Subject: Re: Authoring Tools
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From: Hoffman, Allen
Date: Wed, Apr 11 2007 6:15 AM
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Getting back to Allen's proposal for a provision specific to authoring
Allen's original proposal on March 5th  was:
When software allows creation of, or modification to information stored
in a specific set of encoding formats, all accessibility attributes
contained in those formats must be available to the author, and
programmatic assessment and remediation of those attributes must be
provided to expedite such creation or modification.
We discussed it at both the March 7th  and 14th  meetings.
The discussion summaries are quite long but I believe these are the
- We need a definition of content that addresses Web content, e-mail,
and office software documents
AH: This may be contained in the content format minimum requirements
proposal I provided.
- We should use the W3C definition of authoring tool - Any software or
collection of software components used to create or modify web content
ah: This isn't just for web anymore.
- Requiring the creation software to provide the assessment function is
too restrictive. Software is available to do automated assessments and
so this function does not have to be built into every authoring tool.
ah: I think by allowing this to be a neutral point, vendors who include
such assessment/remediation features in their tools should be given
points somewhere. paying "extra" for accessibility is not the model we
really are after, and while accessibility assessment/remediation does
improve accessibility for people with disabilities, it certainly isn't
assistive technology in that sense. I would not want to proscribe that
assessment/remediation *MUST* be included in the tool but would like to
identify that is the most cost effective way.
- Authoring tools should not delete or alter any accessibility
attributes that are already in the content (in the case of editing
- Content production often involves several steps, with different tools
being used in each step. May be too restrictive to require every tool in
the process to provide the authoring function proposed above. The
collection of tools must support ATAG or whatever requirements are
defined in 508.
ah: Agreed, if this can be made more clear than mud--has to do with the
platforms issues, and possibly the whole concept of encapsulating
- Content management systems need to be included
- What approaches would be incentives for vendors to produce tools that
create accessible content?
ah: Section 508 procurement preference.
So .... here's an alternative proposal:
Any software or collection of software components used by people to
create or modify content, including but not limited to Web content
authoring tools, multimedia editing tools, word processors, and content
management systems, shall:
- allow the author to utilize all accessibility features defined by the
- avoid deleting or altering any accessibility attributes that exist in
with the following definitions:
content: any information that is encountered as part of a user
experience including but not limited to text, images, sounds, videos and
animations , content format: an encoding mechanism for storing
information. Examples are HTML, JPEG, SMIL, PDF, others?
ah: I like it. How can we make it more testable?
 adapted from Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Web_content