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Re: Proof of compliance?


From: John Foliot
Date: Dec 13, 2017 10:07AM

> It's too bad that WCAG 2.0 (and 2.1, it seems) provide so little guidance
on this.

​I think that is in part due to the fact that the W3C is not a "compliance"
organization, but rather a consortium of companies that work on voluntary
technical standards. None of the numerous standards at the W3C have the
same legal 'echo-effect' like WCAG does however, and so it is something of
an outlier in that regard​. (Additionally, the W3C does not have an
'enforcement' mechanism either, so everything that comes from the W3C is
voluntary by nature. The fact is that for most W3C Recommendations,
interested parties benefit from the

In fact, WCAG 2.0 (and 2.1) both state:

Conformance claims are *not required*. Authors can conform to WCAG 2.1
without making a claim.

Because of this, WCAG
less interested in conformance claims as a practical outcome; instead it
is legal entities and governmental organizations that are more interested
in claims of this nature, for reasons often outside of the direct "it
benefits the end user" justification (yes, achieving and maintaining
compliance *does* benefit the end user, but reporting that fact has less
value to said end-user)

It seems to me that to see a standardized mechanism for compliance
reporting emerge, a specific proposal needs to come forward to the WCAG
Working Group (and even then, there is no guarantee that they will take up
this particular piece)​. Alternatively, a government organization could
enact a requirement for conformance claims, and that org could (should?)
also provide the reporting mechanism specifics. I'm fairly certain that the
easiest way of doing so is to use metadata, but there are multiple schemas
out there (our EDU friends are likely already aware of Dublin Core) and so
deciding on which schema would need to be articulated by the org requesting
the compliance document.

Duff, if you have a more fleshed out proposal however, please bring it to
the attention of the WCAG WG. For while this 'problem' may not be addressed
in the short-term, the Task Force working on Project Silver (see:



On Wed, Dec 13, 2017 at 10:36 AM, Duff Johnson < <EMAIL REMOVED> >

> > You've answered your own question: due to the non-static nature of web
> > content today, it's kind of hard to have a static, machine-readable
> > "conformance claim" that would always be accurate.
> I didn't mean to imply that it would always be accurate. Clearly, any
> change to the site would require some sort of validation protocol to
> justify the continued use of the conformance claim.
> > And while a 'dynamic'
> > claim could certainly be crafted using things like mechanical testing
> tools
> > and change-log parsing, the value of a claim such as that would likely
> also
> > be diminished from a "legal-defensiveness" position, which is often the
> > root of these types of claims and requirements, due to its malleability
> > ​ and ever-changing reporting values​
> I take this point entirely.
> <shameless PDF plug>
> One of PDF's useful qualities is that it IS entirely self-contained in
> this regard, which makes the conformance claim problem that much easier to
> solve.
> </shameless PDF plug>
> > That said, a machine-*referenceable* conformance claim could be addressed
> > using metadata (perhaps something like Schema.org's "Claim Review" -
> > http://schema.org/ClaimReview), but the conformance claim would still be
> > based upon a "snapshot" and date of review. This is not unlike a CPA's
> > stamp, where the Chartidanered Accountant claims that what was reviewed
> on a
> > specific date met the claim's assertions, but beyond that date, all bets
> > are off.
> >
> > ​Or were you thinking of something different?
> I was thinking of precisely what you've outlined above. It's too bad that
> WCAG 2.0 (and 2.1, it seems) provide so little guidance on this.
> Duff.
> > > > >

John Foliot
Principal Accessibility Strategist
Deque Systems Inc.

Advancing the mission of digital accessibility and inclusion