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

From: Matt May <mcmay@bestkungfu.com>
Date: Wed, 28 Sep 2005 07:21:42 -0700
Message-ID: <433AA6F6.9070101@bestkungfu.com>
To: Sofia.Celic@nils.org.au
CC: public-wcag-teamc@w3.org

Sofia.Celic@nils.org.au wrote:
> My response is:
>
> Yes, good point. How about using part of the WAI's definition of web
> accessibility [2] which is:
> "Web accessibility means that people with disabilities can use the Web.
> More specifically, Web accessibility means that people with disabilities
> can perceive, understand, navigate, and interact with the Web, and that
> they can contribute to the Web."
>
> So I'm wondering whether something along the lines of the following may
> suffice:
>
> User: Person with a disability or disabilities perceiving, understanding,
> navigating and interacting with the web.
>   

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.

-
m
Received on Wednesday, 28 September 2005 14:22:10 GMT

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