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RE: A better term for "software" - from M376

From: Michael Pluke <Mike.Pluke@castle-consult.com>
Date: Tue, 14 Aug 2012 03:28:21 -0400
To: Gregg Vanderheiden <gv@trace.wisc.edu>
CC: "Hoffman, Allen" <Allen.Hoffman@HQ.DHS.GOV>, David MacDonald <david100@sympatico.ca>, "public-wcag2ict-tf@w3.org" <public-wcag2ict-tf@w3.org>
Message-ID: <5735ED0D92A3E6469F161EB41E7C28A81D1BB35F1B@MAILR001.mail.lan>
I have always taken "software" to mean just that - whether it is in the form of a separate software product or as an "aspect" of another product; it is still software.

Maybe all that is required is the addition of a note that says:

"NOTE: The term "software" includes both software-only products and software aspects of other products."

If "user interface" is a scoping element of the term that we use, then we will get into debates about what is part of the user interface and what is not. "Software that provides a user interface" does not suffer from this boundary problem. This together with the note may cover all issues (I will argue within M376 that we should add a note similar to what I propose above).

Best regards


From: Gregg Vanderheiden [mailto:gv@trace.wisc.edu]
Sent: 14 August 2012 07:33
To: Michael Pluke
Cc: Hoffman, Allen; David MacDonald; public-wcag2ict-tf@w3.org
Subject: Re: A better term for "software" - from M376

I think we have lost the "software aspects of products"

the guidelines are supposed to apply not just to stand alone software but to the software aspects of kiosks, laptops, tablets, smartphones and other hardware.

So I think we need to think about

software user interfaces of products


product's software user interface     (or product software user interface)
product's software   (or product software)

we can also go with software aspects of products  --- but product software is shorter


Gregg Vanderheiden Ph.D.
Director Trace R&D Center
Professor Industrial & Systems Engineering
and Biomedical Engineering
University of Wisconsin-Madison

Technical Director - Cloud4all Project - http://Cloud4all.info
Co-Director, Raising the Floor - International
and the Global Public Inclusive Infrastructure Project
http://Raisingthefloor.org   ---   http://GPII.net

On Aug 13, 2012, at 4:10 PM, Michael Pluke <Mike.Pluke@castle-consult.com<mailto:Mike.Pluke@castle-consult.com>> wrote:

What you are happy with is also what I am happy with - good news!

Software that provides a user interface is intended as a substitute for software only - not for documents and software.

Best regards


From: Hoffman, Allen [mailto:Allen.Hoffman@HQ.DHS.GOV<http://HQ.DHS.GOV>]
Sent: 13 August 2012 18:56
To: David MacDonald; Michael Pluke; public-wcag2ict-tf@w3.org<mailto:public-wcag2ict-tf@w3.org>
Subject: RE: A better term for "software" - from M376

So we have:
User interface context
Software that provides a user interface

My only problem is that most folks can separate documents from software so I could be happy with
Documents and software that provides a user interface

I don't buy the exceptions separating simple documents from  software that provides a user interface which were pointed out in the WCAG top-level as significant challenges to understanding the differences.  So, I'm sure that we could use documents and software that provides a user interface and be a bit more vague than we could be, but more precise than not doing it at all.

From: David MacDonald [mailto:david100@sympatico.ca]<mailto:[mailto:david100@sympatico.ca]>
Sent: Monday, August 13, 2012 1:50 PM
To: 'Michael Pluke'; public-wcag2ict-tf@w3.org<mailto:public-wcag2ict-tf@w3.org>
Subject: RE: A better term for "software" - from M376

"software that provides a user interface"

Just wondering... couldn't some people think this refers to the entire software product... i.e., the product has a user interface therefore the entire product must meet WCAG (even those backend parts that don't have an interface...

David MacDonald

CanAdapt Solutions Inc.
  "Enabling the Web"

From: Michael Pluke [mailto:Mike.Pluke@castle-consult.com]<mailto:[mailto:Mike.Pluke@castle-consult.com]>
Sent: August-13-12 12:29 PM
To: public-wcag2ict-tf@w3.org<mailto:public-wcag2ict-tf@w3.org>
Subject: A better term for "software" - from M376

I am putting together an "interaction context"-based survey. One issue that is recognised in this survey is that, for practical purposes it will often be better to, wherever possible, try to apply WCAG SCs to "software/software UI, ....." rather than all of the "interaction contexts" that may be within that software. Where  we are safe to apply the SCs at this level we must have a suitable term. We have been struggling for some time with variants. I would like to more seriously propose a term that we use in M376.

M376 has used the term "software that provides a user interface" when referring to what should conform to WCAG.

I believe that this:

-          is better than "software" or "software application" as it excludes software that has no UI;
-          is better than "software UI" as that term focuses on the UI only and raises questions such as what is UI and what is content. Using "software that provides a user interface" also avoids the question whether it is the software "behind" the UI that is actually influencing the accessibility; as such hidden components would also be included within the M376 term;
-          is better than "software product" as it clarifies that conformance should be judged for each bit of software "that provides a UI" i.e. it should be applied to each application in a package like MS Office, as the package does not "provide A UI".  It also doesn't include the word "product" that has too strong associations with "commercial product" for some people;
-          happily covers multi-function applications like Outlook as this software still only provides one UI (that presents several interaction contexts).

Maybe I have become too used to it, but I have not yet seen any obvious limitations with the use of this term (except that it is a little longer than its alternatives).

Best regards

Received on Tuesday, 14 August 2012 07:28:56 UTC

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