- The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0 (WCAG 2) have attracted little or no support from standards-compliant Web developers, grassroots people with disabilities, or really anyone other than the multinational corporations that stack the WCAG Working Group.
- WCAG 2 is years delayed. It is so faulty in its existing form that it is essentially unfixable. An ideology that every guideline must be testable has led to the jettisoning of useful accessibility requirements. WCAG 2 itself is overlong and cannot be understood on first reading by anyone other than a longtime Working Group member.
- The Working Group, and its domination by big business, are the cause of great suspicion and concern. Some of the Working Group’s numerous chairs have conducted an ongoing program of belittlement and harassment of members who aren’t in the multinationals’ inner circle.
- WCAG 2 was so deficient for people with learning disabilities, admittedly a group that is difficult to accommodate on the Web, that many experts submitted a formal objection, an unprecedented vote of no confidence.
- We do not need WCAG 2. One alternative among many is to continue to use WCAG 1.0, albeit with corrections, given that it remains adequate for most Web sites even today.
- Largely without the W3C’s help, hundreds of individual developers now have more than enough knowledge to create and test accessible Web sites, sometimes in excess of, or without the need for, actual written guidelines. A culture of Web standards and accessibility has grown and flourished while the W3C’s back was turned.
- Some WCAG Working Group members have useful expertise and good ideas. And the W3C’s accessibility work is certainly not all bad – ATAG and UAAG are mature standards developed by largely harmonious Working Groups. But WCAG is different in a number of ways, the most important of which is simple to state: It’s a failure.
The W3C is not in the habit of admitting its mistakes. It will be a huge bruise to the Consortium’s corporate psyche to acknowledge that it no longer runs the Web and that its subjects no longer hold it in the royal esteem it feels it deserves.
But preserving corporate ego does not translate into understandable guidelines, created in an irreproachable process, that developers will actually use – and that actually improve the Web for people with disabilities. Almost unbeknownst to the Working Group, that was the goal all along, one that stands no chance of being met. It is time for the W3C to accept reality and cancel the entire project.
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