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Re: form orientation, navigation, and submission techniques

From: Gregory J. Rosmaita <unagi69@concentric.net>
Date: Fri, 17 Mar 2000 17:25:48 -0500
Message-Id: <>
To: Scott Luebking <phoenixl@netcom.com>
Cc: w3c-wai-gl@w3.org
aloha, scott!

i'm not quite sure how to respond to your latest post to the GL list 
addressed to me, but i'm going to attempt a response anyhow...  gregg, in 
deference to your appeal to this list's subscribers to re-think and 
carefully review their comments before they post them to the GL list, i 
promise to re-read this at least 5 times before sending it!

scott wrote,

The assumption you're making is that there is no problem because the 
clients will be incorporating the user agent guidelines.  First, where does 
that leave blind people these days and in the near future?  Second, how 
many developers of user agent technology are going to incorporate the 
standards?  For example, what was the participation of Netscape/Mozilla in 
the process of developing the standards?  I wonder how much Microsoft is 
willing to actually implement in IE.

1. your assumption about my assumption is wrong -- i was merely pointing 
you towards a co-dependent guidelines document in which several of the 
problems you identified have been explicitly addressed in a 
forwards-looking manner...   of course there will be bumps and miscues as 
developers strive to achieve conformance to the guidelines documents, but 
that is part-and-parcel of the developmental process, is it not?  and, 
since developers have been collaborating on the guidelines not only with 
representatives of a wide array of disability groups, but with assistive 
technology vendors, i expect that achieving the goals of the User Agent and 
Authoring Tool guidelines will be a far less painful process than making 
quote mainstream unquote applications accessible to users with disabilities 
has been in the past...

2. WAI guidelines are not holy writ, nor are they treated as such...  what 
they are is the best attempt of a numerically small -- but extremely 
dedicated group of individuals, with widely varying backgrounds -- to 
provide guidance to individual page authors, user agent developers, 
assistive technology vendors, and authoring tool developers...

3. no, i don't expect the User Agent Guidelines to change my or anyone 
else's online experience overnight, but i do expect that enough pressure -- 
of the economic, moral, and regulatory kind -- has been brought to bear on 
the 4 targeted  constituencies enumerated above, that i do fully expect 
developers to attempt to conform to both the User Agent Guidelines and the 
Authoring Tool Guidelines sooner, rather than later...  both working groups 
have actively sought, and received feedback from developers, and both 
groups have been actively working _with_ developers to ascertain the 
implementability of the checkpoints they contain...  moreover, both 
documents have been--on the whole--positively received by their target 
audiences, so yes, i do expect an honest effort on the part of developers 
to conform to the User Agent and Authoring Tool Guidelines

4. developer bashing is not only counter-productive, but -- in the case of 
developer participation in the WAI, and the W3C as a whole -- 
unfounded...  there has been considerable developer input into the User 
Agent Guidelines and the Authoring Tool Guidelines -- in particular (and i 
apologize if i leave anyone out of this list), on the behalf of IBM, by 
Rich, Thatch, and Phil, as well as several of the IBM employees working on 
the Mozilla project who participated in the UA face2face meeting hosted by 
IBM in Austin in December 1999; and Microsoft, in particular in the person 
of Dick Brown (who is also a member of this working group, as are one or 2 
other Microsoft employees) and in the person of Tim  Lacey (especially at 
the UA face2face hosted by Microsoft last October, and hopefully at the 
upcoming UA face2face in april)...  in addition, a number of other 
Microsoft employees have made concrete contributions to the UA Guidelines 
-- including such quote top level unquote project managers as Chris Wilson 
-- a name that should be familiar to readers of W3C recommendations!

those i have mentioned by name above have been particularly generous in 
lending the UA WG their time and expertise...  in particular, Rich 
Schwerdtfeger, the lead architect for IBM Special Needs Systems, has been 
an invaluable resource for several WAI working groups -- so much so that i 
have a feeling that Rich hasn't slept since 1997!

note that, while i singled out IBM and Microsoft to illustrate this point, 
there are several other companies which are actively and constructively 
engaged in the effort to create a more accessible web by developing better, 
more configurable, and more accessible quote mainstream unquote user agents 
and authoring tools...

5. there has been a lot of passive participation -- by which i mean 
monitoring of the UA list, formal and informal reviews of working drafts, 
and periodic comments posted to the UA list -- by representatives of other 
quote mainstream unquote browser manufacturers such as Lakespur Rocca of 
Netscape, and Håkon Lie of Opera, as well as reps from Allaire, Lotus, and 
Real Networks, to name a few...

6. the User Agent Guidelines have benefited enormously from the active 
contributions and participation of several assistive technology developers 
-- in particular, Productivity Works, Alva Access Group, and 
Henter-Joyce...  again, i have named names only as an illustration that 3 
of the most influential adaptive technology manufacturers have been 
actively participating in the guidelines writing process...  in addition, 
the contributions of the Trace Center, NCAM, CAST, and the University of 
Toronto's Adaptive Technology Resource Centre, to name but a few of the 
accessibility-oriented research and development projects, have been 
invaluable to the creation of the User Agent, Authoring Tools, Web Content, 
and Evaluation & Repair documents, as well as the WAI in general...

7. the current Web Content guidelines do deal with current technology -- 
and the effort to revise and modularize the techniques document is an 
attempt to keep the document inline, as you put it, with current technology

8. current technology also includes: the W3C DOM, HTML 4.01, XHTML 1.0, 
CSS2, XSL, XML, XSLT,  JFW 3.5, Window-Eyes 4.0, HomePage Reader, 
PWWebSpeak, the Java Access Bridge for Windows, the Self-Voicing Kit for 
Java, VIPInfoNet, and BrailleNet, to name but a few of the programs that 
take advantage of the extended semantic and logical structural features of 
W3C promulgated (and PF-reviewed) markup languages

9. why did you casually dismiss the last 3 paragraphs of my post, in which 
i proposed that you set up a proxy server to deliver tailored content to 
users?  if you want to improve the online experience of blind users in the 
most expeditious manner possible, the most efficacious means of doing so 
would be through the provision of a proxy server, and not by drafting yet 
another set of guidelines that may or may not be implemented...  moreover, 
proxy served solutions would permeate through the audience you have 
targeted far more comprehensively and quickly than attempting to convince 
the maintainers of dynamically generated web sites to implement disability 
profiling...  thus, i am at a loss as to why you are not willing to devote 
any effort in this direction...

10. have you investigated CC/PP, as ian and others have suggested?

11. finally, what do quote B2B unquote and quote B2C unquote mean?


At 11:38 AM 3/17/00 -0800, Scott Luebking wrote:
>Hi, Gregory
>Perhaps that's an problem.  The assumption you're making is that there
>is no problem because the clients will be incorporating the user
>agent guidelines.  First, where does that leave blind people these
>days and in the near future?  Second, how many developers of user
>agent technology are going to incoporate the standards?  For example,
>what was the participation of Netscape/Mozilla in the process of
>developing the standards?  I wonder how much Microsoft is willing
>to actually implement in IE.
>The guidelines should be inline with current technology.  If the technology
>changes, the guidelines should also change.  However, setting up the
>guidelines to work with technology which doesn't exist is creating
>another technology gap into which disabled people will fall.
>The technology I've developed is not transforming an existing web page
>into another type of web page.  As I've said before, there is a technological
>limit on transforming on the basis of semantic content.  The technology
>I've developed allows for creating highly flexible, adaptable web pages which
>are tailored to each user's needs.  This is the direction that sites
>which are B2C or B2B are heading rather than forcing all users to use
>the same web page.
>PS  An interesting result I got from my experiment was that a couple of people
>who sue and like JFW 3.5 still preferred using the web pages formatted for
>blind users.  The organization of the web page designed for blind users
>was easier to work with.

CYNIC, n.  A blackguard whose faulty vision sees things as they are, not
as they ought to be.  Hence the custom among the Scythians of plucking out
a cynic's eyes to improve his vision.
      -- Ambrose Bierce, _The Devil's Dictionary_
Gregory J. Rosmaita <unagi69@concentric.net>
Camera Obscura: <http://www.hicom.net/~oedipus/index.html>
VICUG NYC: <http://www.hicom.net/~oedipus/vicug/index.html>
Read 'Em & Speak: <http://www.hicom.net/~oedipus/books/index.html>
Received on Friday, 17 March 2000 17:16:08 UTC

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