W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > w3c-wai-gl@w3.org > January to March 2001

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

From: William Loughborough <love26@gorge.net>
Date: Wed, 31 Jan 2001 09:54:17 -0800
Message-Id: <>
To: w3c-wai-gl@w3.org
At 08:50 AM 1/31/01 -0800, Kynn Bartlett wrote:
>Maybe it -is- insoluble

The "until user agent" conundrum is a classic "moving target" riddle.

For one thing part of the "when" of it is self-proclaimed herein! When we 
mighty "lords of ivory" so decree, then someone who was perfectly happy 
with stuff has to scream/kick while being dragged into an imperial notion 
of what her future should be like. Just the pressure on Lynx exemplifies 
the dilemma.

I had a severe problem with the then "new" interface that *required* a 
mouse to use. I was (still am!) much more comfortable with keyboard 
interactions but was left no choice.

The same mind-set that proclaims "let them eat cake" as to such seemingly 
trivial acts as downloading/learning/de-bugging a new version of a browser 
(however much "improved" it claims to be) must be guarded against in the 
"legacy maintenance" area.

In some sense of how Kynn used "insoluble", I believe it is outside our 
capability/scope/power to decree that "thou shalt not 
hover/mouseover/blink" even though we try to do much of that. And as to 
proscribing, we'd best think long/hard about for whom we exist. Our clients 
have a long history of being ignored/overlooked/demeaned/+ and the last 
thing we should do is decide that some are "more equal".

This doesn't pretend to offer much for specificity in "conformance 
objectivity" but just like the laws in Oz, the decisions as to whether 
something is accessible will be decided by "the people" (at least their 
repressentatives) and the guidelines are just that. They make the rules, we 
just provide what we think are baseline criteria to the best of our 
ability. With levels of "importance".

If we re-examine every instance of "until user agents" in WCAG 1.0 it might 
be instructive from the viewpoint of how "general/abstract" impacts on 
"what must I do?". We just can't tell users they have to work around 
systems that require a mouse nor the designers that they can't use mouse 

Hence "conundrum".

Functions (interactivity, etc.) as well as content must persevere despite 

Received on Wednesday, 31 January 2001 16:19:59 UTC

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.3.1 : Tuesday, 16 January 2018 15:33:36 UTC