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RE: 'Non-economic' rationale for backward compatibility

From: Charles McCathieNevile <charles@w3.org>
Date: Mon, 18 Mar 2002 08:42:16 -0500 (EST)
To: <gian@stanleymilford.com.au>
cc: <goliver@accease.com>, <w3c-wai-gl@w3.org>
Message-ID: <Pine.LNX.4.30.0203180834270.21475-100000@tux.w3.org>
Well, in your own work you should be avancing whatever is relevant
information for your clients, and typically that would go beyond "pure

For WCAG, the requirement is that this helps people solve the problems that
they encounter which are related to a disability. This doesn't normally
include all the problems people encounter in life - there are bureaucracies
taht are difficult to deal with for everyone, poorly designed systems that
cause real problems for people with and without disabilities in equal
measure, and things that are problems because someone has a disability. It is
the last category of things that WCAG is designed to address.

So an argument based purely on "people ca't afford to upgrade" isn't a
sufficiently strong one. It needs to explain why people can't afford to
upgrade, and what level of support people do have - do we need to cater for
Netscape 1? For people using email-based access to the Web? (People are still
doing this, for good reasons) Do we need to assumme that people have
telnet-only browser access and need to work with very old browsers, or that
they may have text-only systems, but have modern SSH and XML capable

This is an open issue for WCAG, and one that won't go away on its own.



On Mon, 18 Mar 2002 gian@stanleymilford.com.au wrote:

  With regards to below.

  If this argument holds true, then why can't Graham and I use the
  economic rationale to enforce backwards compatibility?  Surely if a site
  doesn't work for someone because that someone can't afford the latest
  hardware/software/etc, then we would fail the making things work for

  > Graham
  >   3. It takes time for non-English (internationalised)
  >   versions of software to be produced.
  > Gian
  >   I don't think this falls under our charter.
  > Chaals
  > well, our charter requires us to make things work for people.
  > It doesn't say
  > "for people who speak english", and we would fail to get past
  > the i18n review
  > in last call if we don't recognise this.
  > chaals

Charles McCathieNevile    http://www.w3.org/People/Charles  phone: +61 409 134 136
W3C Web Accessibility Initiative     http://www.w3.org/WAI  fax: +33 4 92 38 78 22
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Received on Monday, 18 March 2002 08:42:20 UTC

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