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RE: 'Non-economic' rationale for backward compatibility

From: Cynthia Shelly <cyns@microsoft.com>
Date: Tue, 19 Mar 2002 14:24:54 -0800
Message-ID: <7164D4266FD7B94CA59D551C7FE6618D03D44971@red-msg-08.redmond.corp.microsoft.com>
To: <gian@stanleymilford.com.au>, <charles@w3.org>
Cc: <goliver@accease.com>, <w3c-wai-gl@w3.org>
Yes, but remember that we are building guidelines for the world, not
just the English-speaking world.

I would say that you want your content to be compatible with user agents
and assistive technologies available in the language of the content.
So, if the content is in English, you have a lot of options.  If the
content is in French or Russian or Tagalog, you have fewer. Hmmm...
Maybe that should be a checkpoint?

As to the issue of affordability, I don't think it is reasonable to put
the entire burden on the web author.  The user has some responsibility
to find and use the technologies he needs.  Remember the wheelchair
analogy -- it's the building owner's responsibility to build the ramp,
and the wheelchair-user's responsibility to buy the wheelchair.  If he
can't afford the wheelchair, or the electricity to charge it, he may
need to find funding for it (from governments, charities, family, etc).
The same is true of hardware, software, and assistive technology.  

-----Original Message-----
From: gian@stanleymilford.com.au [mailto:gian@stanleymilford.com.au] 
Sent: Tuesday, March 19, 2002 1:43 PM
To: charles@w3.org
Cc: goliver@accease.com; w3c-wai-gl@w3.org
Subject: RE: 'Non-economic' rationale for backward compatibility

Well using this theory, then I doubt that people having English as a
second language can be defined as a disability - isn't it more a
'problem people encounter in life'?

> -----Original Message-----
> From: charles [mailto:charles@w3.org]
> Sent: Tuesday, 19 March 2002 12:42 AM
> To: Gian Sampson-Wild
> Cc: goliver; w3c-wai-gl
> Subject: RE: 'Non-economic' rationale for backward compatibility
> Well, in your own work you should be avancing whatever is relevant
> information for your clients, and typically that would go beyond "pure
> accessibility".
> 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
> software?
> This is an open issue for WCAG, and one that won't go away on its own.
> cheers
> chaals
> 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
>   people.
>   > 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
> Location: 21 Mitchell street FOOTSCRAY Vic 3011, Australia
> (or W3C INRIA, Route des Lucioles, BP 93, 06902 Sophia 
> Antipolis Cedex, France)
Received on Tuesday, 19 March 2002 17:25:01 UTC

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