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Browser and Technology Support [Was: Re: [w3c-wai-gl] <none>]

From: Wendy A Chisholm <wendy@w3.org>
Date: Tue, 25 Sep 2001 11:59:06 -0400
Message-Id: <>
To: "Jim Ley" <jim@e-media.co.uk>, "Matt May" <mcmay@yahoo.com>, <w3c-wai-gl@w3.org>
The main question I think we ought to be focusing on, and where I thought 
this thread started, was if client-side scripting techniques were 
accessible.  We keep trying to figure out if we should assume that 
ecmascript be supported.

Jim states that scripting is not safe and therefore questions if we should 
support it.  It is my experience that client-side scripting is used quite 
often for security reasons.  For example, when submitting personal data to 
a site, if you have to continue sending it back to the server for data 
verification, each time it is sent through the 'net is a possible security 
breach. therefore, many sites prefer to do the verification on the 
client-side to avoid possible security breaches as the info travels the 'net.

Also, it decreases the response time and gives the user a better 
experience.  Instead of waiting for data to be sent to the server, 
processed, and returned, using the client's machine for the verification 
decreases server load and increases response time.

There are many good cases that e-commerce sites build for using scripting.

As for the question if scripting has ever been used to make an inaccessible 
site accessible - yes it has.  When I worked at the Trace R&D Center, Mark 
Novak created a javascript that would let the user navigate a table.  This 
was before user agents or assistive technologies were able to navigate 
tables cell by cell, row by row, column by column.  I have also seen a 
client-side script that creates a navigation window that hovers over a page 
creating large icons for people who do not move well.

I don't see client-side scripting disappearing. Matter of fact, with SMIL, 
SVG, etc I only see its use increasing. I do not think it is useful to 
debate how to make it go away or how to completely avoid it - as I 
interpreted some of your message, Jim.  Please correct me if I have 
misunderstood.  Instead, let's try to answer the questions and debate the 
scenarios that Gregg posed in his original e-mail:

508 says you can use scripts, if functional text is provided - in other 
words if they are usable by a screen reader.
Access Board's info: http://www.access-board.gov/sec508/guide/1194.22.htm#(l)

I don't think this is an unreasonable request.

More info:
National Cancer Institute: http://oc.nci.nih.gov/web508/tut-l.html

It's similar to saying, "use style sheets for HTML, but make sure the page 
is readable without them."

wendy a chisholm
world wide web consortium
web accessibility initiative
seattle, wa usa
Received on Tuesday, 25 September 2001 11:56:51 UTC

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