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Baseline Browser Characteristics

From: Kynn Bartlett <kynn-edapta@idyllmtn.com>
Date: Wed, 6 Feb 2002 16:30:50 -0800
Message-Id: <a0510100fb887792ca9bd@[10.0.1.22]>
To: gian@stanleymilford.com.au, mcmay@bestkungfu.com, w3c-wai-gl@w3.org
At 10:31 AM +1100 2/7/02, gian@stanleymilford.com.au wrote:
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>	;Creation-Date="Thu, 7 Feb 2002 10:31:44 +1100"
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>Inflexibility is one thing, but while playing the political game we
>can't forget why we are doing this in the first place. In the long run,
>if these things are a problem for people with disabilities then we need
>to deal with them in the guidelines, otherwise WCAG will turn into just
>one more irrelevant document that pays lip service to the real problems
>people with disabilities face.

On the other hand, we don't want to _hold back_ progress either. Whether
or not the PDF format has reached the level we wish it to meet, the
folks at Adobe (including some involved in WAI) are working on hard
on improving accessibility of that product. There's talk of access
improvements in Flash. CSS, SVG, and other new technologies are
working to successfully meet accessibility criteria. Sun has invested
a great deal in making Java accessible.

If we say, "sorry, no, only HTML circa 1997 can ever qualify as
accessible" then we're locking ourselves into an unreasonable state
_and_ we're removing any incentive for progress from people such as
Adobe, Macromedia, and Sun.

A baseline browser for 2002 shouldn't look like a baseline browser
from 1997. And the baseline browser for 2007 shouldn't look like
today's, either.

Here's a reasoanble example of what a baseline browser _should_ be
expected to support:

* HTML roughly equal to HTML Basic and perhaps a bit higher.
* Key portions of CSS (to be defined later).
* If supports scripting: support DOM and standardized ECMAscript.
* If supports images: GIF, JPEG, and PNG formats.
* Some way to extend the browser via third party additions, to
   support things like Java, SVG or Flash.

This is actually a reasonable spec for a 2000 baseline browser, but
I am erring conservatively and trust others to argue for more
features if appropriate.

--Kynn

-- 
Kynn Bartlett <kynn@idyllmtn.com>                 http://kynn.com
Chief Technologist, Idyll Mountain            http://idyllmtn.com
Web Accessibility Expert-for-hire          http://kynn.com/resume
Next Book: Teach Yourself CSS in 24       http://cssin24hours.com
Received on Wednesday, 6 February 2002 19:31:02 GMT

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