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Thread: WCAG Extensions

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Number of posts in this thread: 12 (In chronological order)

From: Jared Smith
Date: Thu, Aug 20 2015 9:36AM
Subject: WCAG Extensions
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I thought it best to start a new thread to continue this conversation.

Léonie Watson wrote:

> I'd be interested to know what people think about
> WCAG extensions for people in these user groups
> being optional though.

I've been rather vocal in my criticism of WCAG extensions. I believe
that WCAG needs to be simplified and made more understandable, not
made more complex and convoluted with extensions. That there's a 228
page "Understanding WCAG 2.0" document (not to mention 385 pages for
"How to Meet WCAG 2.0") to explain a standard which has a core
principle of "Understandable" is quite telling, I think. If the
working group itself can't decide how extensions would impact
conformance, whether they would be required, or even what "extension"
means, how can they expect authors to?

> Although WCAG 2.1 would itself be optional,
> particularly where WCAG 2.0 is required in law

This is precisely the problem. WCAG 2.0 has become so tied to
legislation that the W3C is reluctant to update it for fear of
derailing legal processes - particularly the excruciatingly long
updates to Section 508 and ADA in the US. These are valid concerns,
but ones that ultimately result in us relying on increasingly stagnant
and outdated WCAG 2.0.

As of right now, the W3C's intentions are to develop extensions under
their current draft charter and then MAYBE begin a WCAG 2.1 or WCAG
3.0 no sooner than 2018, with (if history holds) a several year
development process - which means we might see a true update to WCAG
around 2021, at very best. While extensions would certainly be
insightful, I don't believe that 13+ years between WCAG 2.0 and an
update (there were 9 years between WCAG 1 and 2) is adequate to meet
the accessibility requirements of innovating web technologies.

The WAI director has also suggested that to best ensure stability with
legal standards that WCAG should never be updated, but that they'd
eventually create a new, broader WAI 3.0 standard for accessibility -
https://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/w3c-wai-gl/2015JulSep/0128.html

The W3C must decide whether they are more interested in optimally
meeting the needs of web authors and people with disabilities by truly
updating WCAG in a timely manner or in appeasing the legislative
processes by keeping WCAG stable. I'd remind them that the G in WCAG
stands for Guidelines. I think guidelines should guide! Yes, a true
WCAG update will be a lengthy, difficult, and ugly process, but I
believe it's what is needed to best provide meaningful and relevant
accessibility guidance.

Jared

From: Patrick H. Lauke
Date: Thu, Aug 20 2015 11:00AM
Subject: Re: WCAG Extensions
← Previous message | Next message →

> Léonie Watson wrote:
>
>> I'd be interested to know what people think about
>> WCAG extensions for people in these user groups
>> being optional though.

I've been quite open about not being thrilled with the idea of the
extensions over on
https://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/public-mobile-a11y-tf/2015Jul/0035.html,
https://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/public-mobile-a11y-tf/2015Jul/0037.html
and
https://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/public-mobile-a11y-tf/2015Jul/0040.html

To reiterate, I feel that there are quite a few things (specifically
regarding inputs in my case) that should be generalized in WCAG 2 core.
Currently WCAG 2 has some very keyboard-specific language. The mobile
"extension" would spend a lot of time redefining some of these concepts
to also include sequential touch-AT navigation, for instance. The same
would then need to happen in other extensions (imagine, for instance, an
extension specifically dealing with voice controls or similar). This
will simply pile extra stuff on top of what is fundamentally something
that's not quite right/up to date anymore (WCAG 2 core).

Further, there's also obviously the danger that once we have everything
compartmentalized into "extensions", which are potentially seen as
optional, you'll end up with organizations/clients simply trying to meet
the most basic WCAG 2 core, and leave all the good clarifications and
patches that are relegated to the extensions by the wayside.

Long story short: not a fan. I'd much rather see some core parts of WCAG
2 core to be amended/fixed...though I understand the other side of the
problem, having one big monolithic set of guidelines (seeing the glacial
pace that some of these discussions take before reaching consensus, or
at least uneasy truces, I'd also be concerned about the ability to even
deliver on this in a timely manner).

P
--
Patrick H. Lauke

www.splintered.co.uk | https://github.com/patrickhlauke
http://flickr.com/photos/redux/ | http://redux.deviantart.com
twitter: @patrick_h_lauke | skype: patrick_h_lauke

From: _mallory
Date: Thu, Aug 20 2015 11:26AM
Subject: Re: WCAG Extensions
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On Thu, Aug 20, 2015 at 09:36:16AM -0600, Jared Smith wrote:
> The W3C must decide whether they are more interested in optimally
> meeting the needs of web authors and people with disabilities by truly
> updating WCAG in a timely manner or in appeasing the legislative
> processes by keeping WCAG stable. I'd remind them that the G in WCAG
> stands for Guidelines. I think guidelines should guide!

A split? Something that's okay to be somewhat stale for the lawyers
and something that is aware of new technology and new needs and
new services, for developers, vendors and spec-writers to lean on?

Yeah yeah, double the work I know, and opens more wormcans, but...
if we can't speed up laws and politics, it seems dumb to let those
hold back useful guidelines and information.

_mallory

From: Léonie Watson
Date: Thu, Aug 20 2015 12:06PM
Subject: Re: WCAG Extensions
← Previous message | Next message →

> From: WebAIM-Forum On Behalf Of _mallory
> Sent: 20 August 2015 18:27

> On Thu, Aug 20, 2015 at 09:36:16AM -0600, Jared Smith wrote:
> > The W3C must decide whether they are more interested in optimally
> > meeting the needs of web authors and people with disabilities by truly
> > updating WCAG in a timely manner or in appeasing the legislative
> > processes by keeping WCAG stable. I'd remind them that the G in WCAG
> > stands for Guidelines. I think guidelines should guide!
>
> A split? Something that's okay to be somewhat stale for the lawyers and
> something that is aware of new technology and new needs and new
> services, for developers, vendors and spec-writers to lean on?
>
> Yeah yeah, double the work I know, and opens more wormcans, but...
> if we can't speed up laws and politics, it seems dumb to let those hold back
> useful guidelines and information.
>

I don't think it has to be twice the work. In my original email (to which Jared responded via this new thread) [1], I suggested:

"One suggestion is WCAG 2.1, consisting of WCAG 2.0 as it stands (possibly with editorial corrections), plus the extensions for low vision and cognitive.
Although WCAG 2.1 would itself be optional, particularly where WCAG 2.0 is required in law, it would present a clear and holistic set of guidelines for
people to use if they wish - without raising the possibility that accessibility for certain groups might be optional."

This wouldn't take any longer than what is currently proposed in the draft WCAG charter [2]. It could also be worked on whilst we all consider what the long term future for such guidelines might be, be they WCAG 3.0 or WAI 3.0 or something else altogether.

It wouldn't be a perfect solution, but it feels like a reasonable stepping stone along the way to me.

Léonie.
[1] http://webaim.org/discussion/mail_message?id)208
[2] http://www.w3.org/2015/04/draft-wcag-charter

From: Ron
Date: Thu, Aug 20 2015 12:19PM
Subject: Re: WCAG Extensions
← Previous message | Next message →

Unfortunately based on my experience it could be a lot more than twice the
work.

Often times in these conversations we are basing our decisions on working
with expert users. Yet data available shows that the typical user is a
NOVICE with their AT.

When you are proposing these one offs to deal with design desires how are
you disinfranchising the majority of users who will encounter your pages.

As someone who works with hundreds of IHE on an annual basis I an very
opposed to taking this in further expansion of the Guidelines.

Ron Stewart


On Thursday, August 20, 2015, Léonie Watson < = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED = >
wrote:

> > From: WebAIM-Forum On Behalf Of _mallory
> > Sent: 20 August 2015 18:27
>
> > On Thu, Aug 20, 2015 at 09:36:16AM -0600, Jared Smith wrote:
> > > The W3C must decide whether they are more interested in optimally
> > > meeting the needs of web authors and people with disabilities by truly
> > > updating WCAG in a timely manner or in appeasing the legislative
> > > processes by keeping WCAG stable. I'd remind them that the G in WCAG
> > > stands for Guidelines. I think guidelines should guide!
> >
> > A split? Something that's okay to be somewhat stale for the lawyers and
> > something that is aware of new technology and new needs and new
> > services, for developers, vendors and spec-writers to lean on?
> >
> > Yeah yeah, double the work I know, and opens more wormcans, but...
> > if we can't speed up laws and politics, it seems dumb to let those hold
> back
> > useful guidelines and information.
> >
>
> I don't think it has to be twice the work. In my original email (to which
> Jared responded via this new thread) [1], I suggested:
>
> "One suggestion is WCAG 2.1, consisting of WCAG 2.0 as it stands (possibly
> with editorial corrections), plus the extensions for low vision and
> cognitive.
> Although WCAG 2.1 would itself be optional, particularly where WCAG 2.0 is
> required in law, it would present a clear and holistic set of guidelines for
> people to use if they wish - without raising the possibility that
> accessibility for certain groups might be optional."
>
> This wouldn't take any longer than what is currently proposed in the draft
> WCAG charter [2]. It could also be worked on whilst we all consider what
> the long term future for such guidelines might be, be they WCAG 3.0 or WAI
> 3.0 or something else altogether.
>
> It wouldn't be a perfect solution, but it feels like a reasonable stepping
> stone along the way to me.
>
> Léonie.
> [1] http://webaim.org/discussion/mail_message?id)208
> [2] http://www.w3.org/2015/04/draft-wcag-charter
>
>
>
>
> > > > >

From: Chagnon | PubCom
Date: Thu, Aug 20 2015 12:58PM
Subject: Re: WCAG Extensions
← Previous message | Next message →

I agree with every point Jared made below.

Especially his comment "That there's a 228 page 'Understanding WCAG 2.0' document (not to mention 385 pages for 'How to Meet WCAG 2.0') to explain a standard which has a core principle of "Understandable" is quite telling..."

A handful of good tech editors could reduce the existing 228-page and 385-page WCAG reference documents in half, at least, and put them into a more comprehendible, palatable format. WCAG's current presentation is dysfunctional and chaotic.

It's time for a complete revamp of WCAG's presentation. I don't mean changing or updating the standards themselves, but the actual WCAG 2.0 document as well as the references Jared cited. Get them edited and presented in a more understandable format that is usable -- and understandable -- by the mere mortals who have to create accessible websites and documents.

A better presentation of WCAG might give us a better foundation to build the extensions or whatever method will be used for updating the standards.

Using a building analogy can help create a strategy that improves WCAG's presentation, allows for faster and easier updates, and encourages easier formal adoption by governments. The analogy: Correct the foundation's problems first (revamp WCAG's presentation and references), and then add the 2-story addition (the extensions or amendments).

--Bevi Chagnon

PS: And I don't think extensions should be optional. Why would we allow for a group of users to be "optionally" discriminated?

-----Original Message-----
I thought it best to start a new thread to continue this conversation.

Léonie Watson wrote:

> I'd be interested to know what people think about WCAG extensions for
> people in these user groups being optional though.

I've been rather vocal in my criticism of WCAG extensions. I believe that WCAG needs to be simplified and made more understandable, not made more complex and convoluted with extensions. That there's a 228 page "Understanding WCAG 2.0" document (not to mention 385 pages for "How to Meet WCAG 2.0") to explain a standard which has a core principle of "Understandable" is quite telling, I think. If the working group itself can't decide how extensions would impact conformance, whether they would be required, or even what "extension"
means, how can they expect authors to?

> Although WCAG 2.1 would itself be optional, particularly where WCAG
> 2.0 is required in law

This is precisely the problem. WCAG 2.0 has become so tied to legislation that the W3C is reluctant to update it for fear of derailing legal processes - particularly the excruciatingly long updates to Section 508 and ADA in the US. These are valid concerns, but ones that ultimately result in us relying on increasingly stagnant and outdated WCAG 2.0.

As of right now, the W3C's intentions are to develop extensions under their current draft charter and then MAYBE begin a WCAG 2.1 or WCAG
3.0 no sooner than 2018, with (if history holds) a several year development process - which means we might see a true update to WCAG around 2021, at very best. While extensions would certainly be insightful, I don't believe that 13+ years between WCAG 2.0 and an update (there were 9 years between WCAG 1 and 2) is adequate to meet the accessibility requirements of innovating web technologies.

The WAI director has also suggested that to best ensure stability with legal standards that WCAG should never be updated, but that they'd eventually create a new, broader WAI 3.0 standard for accessibility - https://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/w3c-wai-gl/2015JulSep/0128.html

The W3C must decide whether they are more interested in optimally meeting the needs of web authors and people with disabilities by truly updating WCAG in a timely manner or in appeasing the legislative processes by keeping WCAG stable. I'd remind them that the G in WCAG stands for Guidelines. I think guidelines should guide! Yes, a true WCAG update will be a lengthy, difficult, and ugly process, but I believe it's what is needed to best provide meaningful and relevant accessibility guidance.

Jared

From: Léonie Watson
Date: Thu, Aug 20 2015 1:26PM
Subject: Re: WCAG Extensions
← Previous message | Next message →

From: Ron [mailto: = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED = ]
Sent: 20 August 2015 19:19



When you are proposing these one offs to deal with design desires how are you disinfranchising the majority of users who will encounter your pages.



I’m not proposing a one-off to deal with a design desire. I’m suggesting that if we add guidance to WCAG for specific user groups that it should not be done in the form of an optional extension, but that to add such guidance to WCAG 2.1 would not mean that we needed to update the existing guidance from WCAG 2.0.



As someone who works with hundreds of IHE on an annual basis I an very opposed to taking this in further expansion of the Guidelines.



I’m not sure I understand your position. You don’t think we should continue to evolve WCAG at all, or you don’t think the optional expansions is the right approach?





The long term proposal from WAI is to replace WCAG (and bits of UAAG and ATAG) with a completely new set of guidelines, currently being referred to as WAI 3.0. There is little/no information about what these guidelines might actually look like though.





Léonie.



--

Senior accessibility engineer @PacielloGroup @LeonieWatson

From: Jon Metz
Date: Thu, Aug 20 2015 1:35PM
Subject: Re: WCAG Extensions
← Previous message | Next message →

My biggest problem with using optional (or otherwise) extensions is that
we already have that currently. It¹s called AAA guidelines, something
implemented in such a way to specifically pacify disparaged stakeholders
without mandating any compliance to them in order for said needs to be
met. These parts of the standard were written as though they were an
afterthought, as proven by the fact that it¹s virtually impossible to meet
every one of them without conflicting with another.

If for no other reason AAA should be the purpose of revamping the
standards. To make matters worse, WAI itself makes no absolute commitment
to adhering to those same guidelines, choosing instead to meet them when
it¹s most convenient. How can anyone expect to take an optional extension
seriously when the authoring organization doesn¹t even hold much value to
them?

I appreciate the value in ensuring that the guidelines remain stable, but
it¹s naturally expected that technology that they are based on changes.
When that occurs, it should be the authoring organizations duty to revise
them as they can. Laws and regulations change with time, but it shouldn¹t
be within scope of a standard¹s body to align specifications to them. It
should work the other way around.

Case in point is what¹s happening with ISO 14289. Say what you will about
PDF/UA, but within the 508 ICT refresh (for example), there is no mention
of later iterations of this standard. Despite that stipulation there is
currently work taking place to update 14289 to the new ISO 32000-2
specification. These are being updated to remain current with technology.

If a standard is intended to be ³stable,² it should adapt to reflect the
current situation. Extensions are *not* the answer. Optional adherance is
a waste of time, because who in their right mind would choose to do extra
work?

Thanks,
Jon Metz


PS: Thanks to Léonie for posting a link to her original thread for
context, and thanks to Steve Faulkner for posting this on Twitter so I
could see it.

On 8/20/15, 3:26 PM, "WebAIM-Forum on behalf of Léonie Watson"
< = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED = on behalf of
= EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED = > wrote:

>From: Ron [mailto: = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED = ]
>Sent: 20 August 2015 19:19
>
>
>
>When you are proposing these one offs to deal with design desires how are
>you disinfranchising the majority of users who will encounter your pages.
>
>
>
>I¹m not proposing a one-off to deal with a design desire. I¹m suggesting
>that if we add guidance to WCAG for specific user groups that it should
>not be done in the form of an optional extension, but that to add such
>guidance to WCAG 2.1 would not mean that we needed to update the existing
>guidance from WCAG 2.0.
>
>
>
>As someone who works with hundreds of IHE on an annual basis I an very
>opposed to taking this in further expansion of the Guidelines.
>
>
>
>I¹m not sure I understand your position. You don¹t think we should
>continue to evolve WCAG at all, or you don¹t think the optional
>expansions is the right approach?
>
>
>
>
>
>The long term proposal from WAI is to replace WCAG (and bits of UAAG and
>ATAG) with a completely new set of guidelines, currently being referred
>to as WAI 3.0. There is little/no information about what these guidelines
>might actually look like though.
>
>
>
>
>
>Léonie.
>
>
>
>--
>
>Senior accessibility engineer @PacielloGroup @LeonieWatson
>
>
>
>
>
>>>>

From: Kroon, Kurtis@FTB
Date: Fri, Aug 21 2015 12:33PM
Subject: Re: WCAG Extensions
← Previous message | Next message →

-----Original Message-----
From: _mallory [mailto: = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED = ]
Sent: Thursday, August 20, 2015 10:27
To: WebAIM Discussion List
Subject: Re: [WebAIM] WCAG Extensions

A split? Something that's okay to be somewhat stale for the lawyers and something that is aware of new technology and new needs and new services, for developers, vendors and spec-writers to lean on?

[KK]
IANAL, but as I understand it, that's how it already works for regulations:

"Incorporation by reference of a publication is limited to the edition of the publication that is approved. Future amendments or revisions of the publication are not included."[1]

So, once the regulation incorporates by reference, say, WCAG 2.0 as published on 11 December 2008[2], the W3C can extend, update, fold, spindle, or mangle their recommendations (to WCAG ∞) and it won't affect the regulation one jot.

I find it interesting that, to my knowledge, no federal agency has decided "Section 508 is getting long in the tooth -- let's use the Equivalent Facilitation clause[3] and choose WCAG 2.0 as our new accessibility standard."

Regards,

Kurt
Web Services
Franchise Tax Board
State of California

Citations:

[1]: 1 CFR §51.1(f)
[2]: http://www.w3.org/TR/2008/REC-WCAG20-20081211/
[3]: 36 CFR §1194.5

CONFIDENTIALITY NOTICE: This email from the State of California is for the sole use of the intended recipient and may contain confidential and privileged information. Any unauthorized review or use, including disclosure or distribution, is prohibited. If you are not the intended recipient, please contact the sender and destroy all copies of this email.

From: Chagnon | PubCom
Date: Fri, Aug 21 2015 1:08PM
Subject: Re: WCAG Extensions
← Previous message | Next message →

Kurt wrote:
" I find it interesting that, to my knowledge, no federal agency has decided "Section 508 is getting long in the tooth -- let's use the Equivalent Facilitation clause[3] and choose WCAG 2.0 as our new accessibility standard." "

FYI, most federal agencies here in Washington DC don't have a clue what "508" is.
Those that do have a 508 policy are lucky and have made some progress, but the political appointees who head up the agencies are still clueless.
So it's unlikely they'll make any decision on implementing 508 within their agency in the near future.

And now that's it's election season, not much will change for the next 2 years...after the election and new top brass are appointed by the president to head up the agencies. Timeline:
Nov 2016, election
Jan 2017, inauguration
Jan 2018, final appointments of agency heads.
June 2018, real work commences at the agencies.

Here in DC, we all are just trading water for the next 18-24 months. Same ol' same ol'. On this point, it doesn't matter which party is elected, either.

—Bevi Chagnon

— — —
Bevi Chagnon | www.PubCom.com
Technologists, Consultants, Trainers, Designers, and Developers
for publishing & communication
| Acrobat PDF | Digital Media | XML and Automated Workflows
| GPO | Print | Desktop Publishing | Sec. 508 Accessibility | EPUBs
— — —

From: Jon Metz
Date: Mon, Aug 24 2015 7:00AM
Subject: Re: WCAG Extensions
← Previous message | Next message →

On 8/21/15, 3:08 PM, "WebAIM-Forum on behalf of Chagnon | PubCom" wrote:

>FYI, most federal agencies here in Washington DC don't have a clue what
>"508" is.

I feel a need to clarify this statement. A more accurate statement would
be that really small agencies do not know what 508 is (or, for that matter
any of the referenced standards). Accessibility in the government works by
trickling down knowledge to smaller agencies, and it rarely works out very
well. However, nearly 70% of agencies have a Section 508 Office or Program
(1), and 50% of agencies have a written policy for it.

On 8/21/15, 2:33 PM, "WebAIM-Forum on behalf of Kroon, Kurtis@FTB" wrote:


>
>I find it interesting that, to my knowledge, no federal agency has
>decided "Section 508 is getting long in the tooth -- let's use the
>Equivalent Facilitation clause[3] and choose WCAG 2.0 as our new
>accessibility standard."

To the best of my knowledge, the agencies that have decided to implement
1194.5 (Equivalent Facilitation) do not keep a written record of doing so.
Most of it is done ad hoc, so I can only speak to personal experiences
here (so something about anecdotes not being data an obvious disclosure).
Like AAA, the low hanging fruit of making things accessible for a specific
situation are the biggest consideration. These often include making PDF/UA
when easily available, or using Sign Language for prerecorded audio for
e-Learning.

Jon

(1) 2012 Section 508 Report to the President, II. General Processes for
Section 508 Implementation

From: Haritos-Shea, Katie
Date: Mon, Aug 24 2015 9:54AM
Subject: Re: WCAG Extensions
← Previous message | No next message

In the training that Bruce Bailey (of the Access Board) and I give for 'Using WCAG 2 for Section 508' for the last two years in fact states that, under Equivalent Facilitation agencies can choose to use WCAG 2.0 today!!

* katie *
 
Katie Haritos-Shea
Senior Accessibility SME (WCAG/Section 508/ADA), Standards QA Architect
JPMC dCE eCAT: Visit our Digital Accessibility Knowledge Base (DAKB), your source for JPMC accessibility best practices.

JPMC Digital | Wilmington, DE | = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED = | Office: 302-282-1439 | Ext: 21439 | Cell: 703-371-5545 | LinkedIn Profile | Bridge: 888-575-5762 Passcode: 2831-7977#

-----Original Message-----
From: WebAIM-Forum [mailto: = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED = ] On Behalf Of Jon Metz
Sent: Monday, August 24, 2015 9:00 AM
To: = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED = ; WebAIM Discussion List
Subject: Re: [WebAIM] WCAG Extensions

On 8/21/15, 3:08 PM, "WebAIM-Forum on behalf of Chagnon | PubCom" wrote:

>FYI, most federal agencies here in Washington DC don't have a clue what
>"508" is.

I feel a need to clarify this statement. A more accurate statement would be that really small agencies do not know what 508 is (or, for that matter any of the referenced standards). Accessibility in the government works by trickling down knowledge to smaller agencies, and it rarely works out very well. However, nearly 70% of agencies have a Section 508 Office or Program (1), and 50% of agencies have a written policy for it.

On 8/21/15, 2:33 PM, "WebAIM-Forum on behalf of Kroon, Kurtis@FTB" wrote:


>
>I find it interesting that, to my knowledge, no federal agency has
>decided "Section 508 is getting long in the tooth -- let's use the
>Equivalent Facilitation clause[3] and choose WCAG 2.0 as our new
>accessibility standard."

To the best of my knowledge, the agencies that have decided to implement
1194.5 (Equivalent Facilitation) do not keep a written record of doing so.
Most of it is done ad hoc, so I can only speak to personal experiences here (so something about anecdotes not being data an obvious disclosure).
Like AAA, the low hanging fruit of making things accessible for a specific situation are the biggest consideration. These often include making PDF/UA when easily available, or using Sign Language for prerecorded audio for e-Learning.

Jon

(1) 2012 Section 508 Report to the President, II. General Processes for Section 508 Implementation


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