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RE: proposed update to "critical parts" of Guide Doc for G2.5L2SC2 - User definition

From: Sofia Celic <sofia.celic@nils.org.au>
Date: Mon, 3 Oct 2005 14:23:13 +1000
To: "WCAG WG Team C" <public-wcag-teamc@w3.org>
Cc: <mcmay@bestkungfu.com>
Message-ID: <LJEEKBBBNGHHOJHGKNLFIELDDLAA.sofia.celic@nils.org.au>


On a personal level I agree that the definition of "user" should be any
person. For some W3C specs this is a perfectly legitimate definition.
However, I don't believe this is the case for WCAG (unfortunately).

This is an issue for the WG as a whole to discuss, and not just Team C. If
the word "disability" is deemed inappropriate, then a definition using a
softer or more encompassing word, such as "difficulties", may be more


Matt May wrote:

[start excerpt]
I propose a subset of your definition:

User: Person.

When used in W3C specs and elsewhere, as far as I'm aware, "user" is a
synonym for "human being accessing the Web." Anything that can't be
determined as human is a "client," anything that can be determined as
non-human is a "robot," and anything operating on a human's behalf is a
"user agent."

While many in the field of usability dislike the term (see: "user" is a
term only applied to drug addicts and people on computers), most people
instantly know what a user is. We shouldn't overload that to mention
disability for a couple of reasons: first, it overloads the commonly
understood definition of "user"; and second, it suggests that the
benefits of the document are somehow limited to those who identify or
are diagnosed as having a disability, rather than a much larger set of
people with different levels of difficulty accessing Web content.

[end excerpt]
Received on Monday, 3 October 2005 04:23:50 UTC

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