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

From: Jason White <jasonw@ariel.ucs.unimelb.edu.au>
Date: Thu, 25 Jan 2001 15:05:58 +1100 (EST)
To: Web Content Accessibility Guidelines <w3c-wai-gl@w3.org>
Message-ID: <Pine.SOL.4.10.10101251446400.5418-100000@ariel.ucs.unimelb.edu.au>
One approach to the "user agent capability" problem, which I don't think
has been clearly enunciated thus far, would be as follows:

1. To make it clear that socio-economic factors, which may be a direct or
indirect result of various forms of discrimination, can affect access to
computing resources and may thus preclude certain individuals and groups
from taking full or immediate advantage of recent developments in user
agent software and/or assistive technologies.

2. To acknowledge openly that any firm criterion as to when a particular
technology or feature has become so widespread as to be available, for
practical purposes, to everyone who uses the web, is bound to be somewhat
arbitrary and to exclude certain individuals who, for whatever reason,
have not upgraded their hardware and/or software.

3. To state that, for the purpose of defininng conformance to the
guidelines, such socio-economic considerations will not be taken into
account, but that implementors of the guidelines should bear them in mind
in deciding to what extent their content should be backward compatible.
Thus, implementors would be free, within certain limits, to weigh the
advantages of backward compatibility against other factors, such as the
added convenience, improved features and reduced development costs which
may be associated with newer technologies.

4. To prescribe, for purposes of conformance to the guidelines, that a
particular format, protocol or feature of any given technology may be
utilized or relied upon in web content when the following conditions have
been met: (1) there exist one or more implementations thereof, available
under major operating systems (E.G. MacOS, MS-Windows and Unix); (2) these
implementations are compatible with assistive technologies; and (3) the
implementations are interoperable. For this purpose, only the latest
versions of user agents and/or assistive technologies will be considered;
if user agents/assistve technologies vary across platforms, only the
common features thereof (available on all platforms for which development
is ongoing) will be taken into account.
Received on Wednesday, 24 January 2001 23:06:11 GMT

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