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RE: "until user agents?" - revisiting baseline capabilities

From: Emmanuelle Gutiérrez y Restrepo <emmanuelle@retemail.es>
Date: Thu, 25 Jan 2001 00:11:03 +0100
To: "Wendy A Chisholm" <wendy@w3.org>, <w3c-wai-gl@w3.org>
Cc: "Anne Pemberton" <apembert@crosslink.net>, <allan_jm@tsb1.tsbvi.edu>, <thoeg@get2net.dk>, <seeman@netvision.net.il>, <Max@w3.org>, "Jason White" <jasonw@ariel.ucs.unimelb.edu.au>, <cpl@starlingweb.com>
Message-ID: <LPBBIBHMFONPBODMLDAOAEHBDBAA.emmanuelle@retemail.es>
Dear Wendy:

I can gather some information about Spain and Latin America. But for what I
have seen the diversity on the use of navigators it is very wide (some names
I had never heard them) and I am also certain that in some places and school
centers are used old computers with old operative systems.

So, if what we want is to promote the accessibility for "all", although most
uses navigators and potent computers there will always be less favored
people for the fortune that we cannot discriminate against.

As for if the old computers are recycled, the answer is yes, in Spain there
are several organizations that recycle and they send the computers to places
in those that are very appreciated.

Kind regards,

Emmanuelle Gutiérrez y Restrepo
Coordinadora del SIDAR
E-mail: coordina@sidar.org <mailto:coordina@sidar.org>
URL: http://www.sidar.org
Campaña de recogida de firmas por una Internet Accesible para TODOS

-----Mensaje original-----
De: w3c-wai-gl-request@w3.org [mailto:w3c-wai-gl-request@w3.org]En nombre de
Wendy A Chisholm
Enviado el: lunes, 22 de enero de 2001 22:23
Para: w3c-wai-gl@w3.org
CC: Anne Pemberton; allan_jm@tsb1.tsbvi.edu; thoeg@get2net.dk;
seeman@netvision.net.il; Max@w3.org; Jason White; cpl@starlingweb.com
Asunto: "until user agents?" - revisiting baseline capabilities

Message summary:
This message grew more the longer I thought about it.  Reading an article
about Netscape 6 from WebReview.com [1] inspired me to compile some
statistics on browser usage [3].  One of the stickiest WCAG 1.0 issues we
have is the "until user agents" clause.  We don't have a clear answer to
apply to the WCAG 2.0 working draft yet.  Here's an attempt to gather some
information that might help.  I have sent this e-mail specifically to
several people on the GL list since I've included a list of questions about
usage in people's regions or work environments. Answers to these questions
might help us form a clearer picture of the technology that people with
disabilities use and if it is significantly different than the rest of the

WebReview published an article last week called, "Why Netscape 6 Woes Are
Your Best Friends" [1] by Makiko Itoh.  In it, he discusses some of the bugs
in Netscape 6 but also its conformance to W3C standards (DOM Level 1, part
of DOM Level 2, CSS1). Many previous Netscape proprietary document objects
are no longer supported, e.g. the layer and ilayer objects.  Refer to
WebReview's comparison chart (updated 14 January 2001) for more info on CSS1
support [2].

He says, "Despite the frustrations of having to change the way we work, the
strict nature of a browser's adherence to standards makes sense. If there's
a certain level of core standards support in all major browsers, it makes
our jobs as Web designers and developers much easier, much less time
consuming, and more cost effective."

Netscape 6 is much less forgiving of invalid markup which should hopefully
force designers/developers to validate their code.  That push should help
accessibility quite a lot.

Perhaps one of our primary activities should be working to help people
worldwide to upgrade to IE5.5 on Windows, IE5 on the Mac, or Netscape 6 on
Linux/Unix/Win/Mac.  At least that might help solve some of the baseline
capabilities problems.  It's a dream but perhaps not so far off.

I talked with someone who recycles old computers to give to people with
disabilities.  I had assumed that this was his primary business and that
people with disabilities were spending money out of their own pockets to buy
assistive technology and computers.  Instead, he says most of the people he
works with here in Wisconsin (please don't generalize this too much), get
money for technology from the Department of Vocational Rehabilitation.
Since they often spend $1000 or more for assistive technology they are also
getting brand new computers off the shelf.  He receives more offers than he
can handle for donations of old computers and turns a lot of people away -
the computers are too old and worthless (a 386 with a black and white
monitor for example).  He says most of the people he works with, if not all,
will be using the computer to communicate (e-mail, web, messaging, etc.).

I want to know what it is like elsewhere.  What are other people
experiencing in their part of the world? Anne (school environment for
children with learning disabilities - U.S.), Jim (school environment for
children with visual disabilities - U.S.), Claus (Denmark), Lisa (Israel),
Max (Japan), and Jason (Australia), Chuck (Canada) - as well as everyone
else -

What is happening to older computers?  Are they being recycled? Upgraded?
Which operating system(s) do you use at work?  In the schools in your
region?  Disability user groups in your region?
a. DOS b. Windows 3.1 or earlier  c. Windows 98/2000/Millenium d. Windows NT
e. Macintosh 7.1 or earlier  f. Macintosh 8 or later (Macintosh Be, MacOS)
g. Unix  h. Linux i. other - please specify.

Which browser(s) do you use at work? In the schools in your region?
Disability user groups in your region?
a. Microsoft IE 3.x or earlier  b. Netscape 3.x or earlier c. MSIE 4.x d.
MSIE 5.x  e. Netscape 4.x f. Netscape 6.  g. Mozilla  h. Opera 3.x  i. Opera
4.x  j. Opera 5.x  i. IBM Home Page Reader j. PWWebSpeak  k. Other - please

Are there particularly agencies in your state or country that help people
with disabilities acquire technology?   How often are they able to upgrade?
Are they encouraged to upgrade?   Are they given support to answer questions
or to help install new software?

How different is the technology in inner cities versus rural areas?
What connection speeds do people typically use?
Can someone provide information about Russia?  Africa? China? South America?
Other European countries? Other U.S. states?

I collected some data from a variety of sites and published some notes [3].

One interesting quote I stumbled upon is:
What browser are they using? "...it doesn't matter. What DOES matter is that
there are differing browsers with differing characteristics, and there are
LOTS of them already out there. Even if the best "selling" browser changes,
the chances of the majority of users converting to that browser within a
short period of time are very slim. Even if the percentage of users drops
lower, 25% of 276+ million is a respectable figure - around 80 million."

As of October 2000 Internet.com had several accesses by Microsoft IE  1.x as
well as Netscape 1.x. They also report that about 83% of access requests
include Javascript support for Javascript 1.2, 1% were for JavaScript less
than 1.2, and 15% did not support Javascript or had it turned off (is my
interpretation of "Javascript false" although it might mean not supported
rather than turned off).

Most stats show a clear lead of Microsoft over Netscape over other.
however, the breakdowns vary.  An even larger variance is shown just in
support for IE5. Note that it is not always clear if they are reporting
IE5.x, IE5.0, or other.  So i have included how they report it as well as
the date that they reported it.
31.7% WebSnapShot.com (IE5.0 22 January 2001)
81% WebSnapShot.com (IE5 20 January 2001 as reported by Browser News)
32% How Big is the Internet (MSIE5 24 May 2000)
66% The Counter (MSIE5.x - 20 October 2000)
73% The Counter (MSIE5 20 January 2001  as reported by Browser News)
67% My WebSite (MSIE5 20 January 2001 as reported by Browser News)

I think this info might be useful as we try to tackle the baseline
capabilities/until user agents discussions.  I will continue to add to this
summary. Please send info and links that you would like included in this
summary.  I'll be interested to read people's responses to my questions


[1] http://www.webreview.com/2001/01_19/webauthors/index03.shtml
[2] http://www.webreview.com/style/css1/charts/mastergrid.shtml
[3] http://www.w3.org/WAI/GL/2001/01/22-stats.html

wendy a chisholm
world wide web consortium
web accessibility initiative
madison, wi usa
tel: +1 608 663 6346
Received on Wednesday, 24 January 2001 18:16:29 UTC

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