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New guideline needed: user agent independence

From: Leonard R. Kasday <kasday@acm.org>
Date: Tue, 19 Dec 2000 12:32:38 -0500
Message-Id: <>
To: "w3c-wai-gl@w3.org" <w3c-wai-gl@w3.org>
There's a site (currently under development and testing) in which some of 
the page content that you see in MSIE is missing when the page is viewed 
with lynx.  In fact, the content is missing from the HTML source 
itself.   It's also missing when viewed with Navigator, Opera, and the 
Wave.  The page is the output of an asp script, and apparently the server 
is browser sniffing and failing to output some of the page content.  This 
was not intentional of course... it's just a bug.

I think this is something that everyone here will agree is a problem!

But technically this page seems to pass WCAG 1.0 and also the guidelines in 
2.0.  So we need a new guidelines, e.g.

"Design for User Agent Independence."

This means that the same content is delivered to all user agents.  It does 
not require the presentation to be the same however.

That leaves open the question of whether the content needs to be the same 
on a page by page basis or whether the site as a whole is equivalent when 
viewed through different user agents.  I suggest we postpone that 
discussion till after we get consensus on the more general requirement.

Leonard R. Kasday, Ph.D.
Institute on Disabilities/UAP and Dept. of Electrical Engineering at Temple 
(215) 204-2247 (voice)                 (800) 750-7428 (TTY)
http://astro.temple.edu/~kasday         mailto:kasday@acm.org

Chair, W3C Web Accessibility Initiative Evaluation and Repair Tools Group

The WAVE web page accessibility evaluation assistant: 
Received on Tuesday, 19 December 2000 12:32:48 UTC

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