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meaning of accessibility supported unclear

From: WCAG 2.0 Comment Form <nobody@w3.org>
Date: Tue, 22 Jan 2008 00:13:57 +0000 (GMT)
To: public-comments-wcag20@w3.org
Message-Id: <20080122001357.25D80C6DBE@barney.w3.org>

Name: Roger Hudson
Email: rhudson@usability.com.au
Document: W2
Item Number: Important Terms in WCAG 2.0
Part of Item: 
Comment Type: general comment
Summary of Issue: meaning of accessibility supported unclear
Comment (Including rationale for any proposed change):
The whole issue of \"accessibility supported\" evolved from the concept of \"Baseline\" which was widely misunderstood and/or incomprehensible by many people. Unfortunately I don\'t find \"accessibility support\" much clearer. The definitions and descriptions of \"accessibility supported\", which are provided in the WCAG 2.0 and \"Understanding Accessibility Supported\" documents, and the implications for web pages, I find difficult to understand. 

Does the issue of \"accessibility supported technologies\" only come into play if someone wishes to make a formal claim for conformance? Or, does it also relate a more general determination of whether or not a web page conforms to a particular Success Criterion? If so, who will be responsible for determining the supported technologies?

When a regulator or court is asked to determine if a web site is inaccessible, is it the expectation of the Working Group that the guidelines for determining if a technology is accessibility supported will be taken into consideration?

It seems to me that the information about \"accessibility supported technologies\" in the WCAG document body and Glossary raises a number of issues or questions including:

1. The document talks about a technology being able to support accessibility but it does not appear to mention the implementation of that technology. For example, Flash, AJAX, PDF that are well made can be accessible, but poorly implemented are totally inaccessible. Is it sufficient to use an \"accessibility supported technology\" or should the use of that technology be accessible?

2. The Working Group and W3C don\'t see the need to specify \"which or how many assistive technologies must support a Web technology in order for it to be classified as accessibility supported\". Point 2 in the Glossary says, \"The web content technology must have accessibility-supported user agents that are available to users\". Does this mean that a content technology can be considered accessible so long as a version of user-agent that supports that content technology is available in the market place regardless of the price of the user-agent or how many people use it?  

3. In my opinion, Point 2d in the Glossary is pretty worthless. Charging someone with a disability more for a user agent (assistive technology) than you would charge a non-disabled person is not really the point and many countries have discrimination or trade laws that would already cover this situation. Surely, the key issue is the additional cost of accessing a web service that someone who is dependant on an assistive technology needs to pay when compared to someone who can access the same service without requiring an assistive technology. Given that only one of the four conditions in Point 2 needs to be true, Point 2d appears to be the ultimate escape clause under the guise of offering protection and needs to be rewritten. Obviously, assistive technology manufacturers shouldn\'t be asked to provide their products without charge. However, I believe it is equally obvious that making available a 1 million dollar tool that is priced the same for everyone, but is only essential for a person with a disability ho wants to access a specific service, is not an equitable or fair solution.

I fully recognise that my interpretation of the meaning and intent of \"accessibility supported\" maybe wrong, and if that is the case I apologise for my mistake. But if I am wrong, then it is likely others may experience problems understanding this.

Proposed Change:
The Working Group should consider re-writing the information relating to \"accessibility supported\" with the aim of providing greater clarity.
Received on Tuesday, 22 January 2008 00:14:06 UTC

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