W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > w3c-wai-gl@w3.org > October to December 2000

Baseline capabilities

From: Charles McCathieNevile <charles@w3.org>
Date: Tue, 17 Oct 2000 18:13:16 -0400 (EDT)
To: WAI GL <w3c-wai-gl@w3.org>
Message-ID: <Pine.LNX.4.21.0010171752270.19713-100000@tux.w3.org>
One of the things we have struggled with again and again is the "until
technology X is widely impemented, use some nasty hack".

On the one hand, Accessibility in theory is no good to people if they can't
actually make use of it themselves.  On the other hand, this can lead to a
problem of developers not putting a high priority on new features that will
improve accesssibility, since there is no market for them becuase everyone is
relying on the old method anyway. So the situation doesn't improve very fast.

In addition, it is often harder for people with disabilities to actually go
about upgrading and learning a new version of software (or a new tool

And as a group, we do not, as far as I can tell, have a consensus on what can
be done reliably with CSS, or when it will be acceptable to rely on
Javascript. We don't even have a method for finding an answer to the question
"is CSS implemented widely enough to require its use for specifying fonts?"

So I think we first need to work out how to answer such questions in general,
and then to apply our method to some specific things we need to know (can the
Java Accessibility Bridge be relied on? When will SVG be a reasonable
solution?). This will give us some good test cases as well as some
information that we need to establish.

So I propose the following:

A technology is considered to be sufficiently implemented when it is
implemented in at least two free products available that meet the following

1. There must betwo such products available for each of

    - Windows 95
    - Windows 2000
    - MacOS 8+
    - Unix (must include linux)

2. They must be known to be usable with at least two speech output systems,
including one free one where that is available.

3. They must work with standard keyboard modifications (including modified
keyboards) and one voice input system.

4. The products must have been available for at least 6 months.

Note that this can apply to partial features of a technology. For example, it
might be possible to state that CSS font and colour control are sufficiently
implemented, but CSS behaviour and layout control are not.


Charles McCN

Charles McCathieNevile    mailto:charles@w3.org    phone: +61 (0) 409 134 136
W3C Web Accessibility Initiative                      http://www.w3.org/WAI
Location: I-cubed, 110 Victoria Street, Carlton VIC 3053, Australia
September - November 2000: 
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Received on Tuesday, 17 October 2000 18:13:16 UTC

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