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Re: Murky ratings

From: Josh Krieger <jkrieger@cast.org>
Date: Thu, 14 May 1998 09:39:00 -0400
Message-ID: <355AF3F3.FC439425@cast.org>
To: Jason White <jasonw@ariel.ucs.unimelb.EDU.AU>
CC: WAI Markup Guidelines <w3c-wai-gl@w3.org>
In regards to your comment about recommending obsolete solutions. 
This is not what I'm advocating. I am advocating creating a database 
of individual guidelines marked with extra information regarding the
browsers and assistive technologies for which they are relevant. These
guidelines can then be compiled by a simple program into a different
collections that suit our varying needs. One compilation could
be what we we now consider the WAI authoring working draft, but
another collection would be the WAI working draft plus those
guidelines that are necessary for making pages accessible on
current versions of IE 4.0, Netscape 4.0, and the major screen
readers. Such an approach provides a definitive notion of
accessibility that takes into account the past, present, and future
of the guidelines while denying the idea of a single measure of

Josh Krieger

Jason White wrote:
> I agree entirely with Nir's position and would strongly oppose any attempt
> to take account of the limitations of specific browsers, or specific
> browser and assistive technology combinations, in the guidelines. What is
> needed is a set of guidelines which, it should be remembered, will be in
> use and circulation for some time, and which will not only assist authors
> in the further development and refinement of their existing web sites, but
> which will also be incorporated, thanks to the "education and outreach"
> component of the WAI, into training materials, governmental regulations,
> etc.
> For this reason, it would be wrong to recommend obsolete solutions which
> are only necessitated by limitations of particular implementations.
> Instead, the guidelines should be formulated in terms of browsers that
> comply with different versions of the HTML specification (2.0, 3.2 and
> 4.0). This approach need not be stated explicitly, but it should be, and
> to a large extent has been, implicitly operative in the distinction
> between "new" and "interim" recommendations.
> Moreover, since the "authoring tool" working group is relying on the page
> authoring guidelines to provide recommendations of best practice which
> will be paralleled in their own recommendations, it is clear that whatever
> this group recommends will be setting in concrete as a standard that will
> be normative for a considerable time.
> In this and other fora, page authors have argued, quite reasonably, that
> they should not be expected to compensate for the inadequacy of outdated
> technology. Also, they should not be expected to adopt one solution today
> and a different approach in the future. To some extent, it is appropriate
> to take account of those features of HTML 4.0 that have not yet been
> implemented; and this is achieved by the "interim" recommendations in the
> guidelines.
> It is time to set aside, so far as possible, the problems of the past and
> work toward developing a long lasting solution which will ensure that the
> Web can in principle become universally accessible, meaning, concretely,
> that it will embody the characteristics which Gregg Vanderheiden has so
> aptly termed "medium independence" and "medium redundancy".
> The "interim" guidelines, so long as they are firmly based on different
> versions of the HTML specification and assume correct implementation
> thereof, will provide a bridge between solutions applicable to HTML 3.2
> technology, and the new HTML 4.0 and CSS framework.
Received on Thursday, 14 May 1998 09:49:41 UTC

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