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Re: Until user agents... (WCAG 1.0 Checkpoint 10.1)

From: Wendy A Chisholm <wendy@w3.org>
Date: Mon, 22 Dec 2003 15:24:16 -0500
Message-Id: <>
To: "Maurizio Boscarol" <maurizio@usabile.it>, "WCAG List" <w3c-wai-gl@w3.org>, rscano@iwa-italy.org


First Roberto Scano's question, "But what is to remove? the text 'Until 
user agents'?  {10.1} will be: 'do not cause pop-ups or other windows to 
appear and do not change the current window without informing the user. 
[Priority 2]'"

We have discussed deprecating some of the checkpoints that have "until user 
agents" clauses in them.  If a checkpoint is deprecated it is no longer 
required for conformance.   For example, if we deprecate checkpoint 10.5 
[0], authors no longer need to include non-link, printable characters 
(surrounded by spaces) between adjacent links.

There are 13 WCAG 1.0 checkpoints that use the "until user agents" clause. 
They are listed in (the soon-to-be-updated) "User Agent Support for 
Accessibility" [1].  We went through all 13 checkpoints in last week's 
techniques task force telecon [2, 3] and "assigned a number of action items 
to ourselves to test the current status of user agent implementation. Of 
these, we believe with various levels of strength that we can recommend 
deprecating 10.2, 10.3, 10.4, and 10.5, but didn't initially think we could 
recommend deprecating the remainder. However, the testing may change our 
responses to all of the above." We hope that most of our test data will be 
found in the UAAG 1.0 test suite and implementation report.  The task force 
will provide the WCAG WG with the results of the research so that we (the 
WCAG WG) can have an informed discussion about which checkpoints to 
deprecate and why.

[0] <http://www.w3.org/TR/WCAG10/wai-pageauth.html#tech-divide-links>
[1] <http://www.w3.org/WAI/Resources/WAI-UA-Support>
[2] <http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/w3c-wai-gl/2003OctDec/0600.html>
[3] <http://www.w3.org/2003/12/17-wai-wcag-irc.html#T15-06-28>

At 10:32 AM 12/22/2003, Maurizio Boscarol wrote:
> > For eg: checkpoint 10.1 said:
> >
> > "Until user agents allow users to turn off spawned windows, do not cause
> > pop-ups or other windows to appear and do not change the current window
> > without informing the user. [Priority 2] "
>The fact is: why are we using here "Until user agents"? Does it mean that if
>user agents would allow user to turn off the popup, then the author can use
>the popup?

Yes, that is what it means.  Several browsers as well as browser helper 
applications allow users to control how and when pop-up windows appear (if 
at all).  For example, in some browsers you can set pop-ups to appear 
either in the foreground or the background. You can also completely disable 
all pop-ups or only allow those that are the result of a user action.

>That is what I understand, but I think it's wrong. We should move
>this check point from guideline 10, and reformulate it as "do not cause
>pop-ups or other windows to appear and do not change the current window
>without informing the user" and put it perhaps in guideline 13?

If we publish a revised WCAG 1.0, it will be to correct errors; not to make 
substantive changes.  Your suggestion changes the meaning of the checkpoint 
by never allowing pop-ups or other windows to appear even if user agents 
allow users to turn them off - a substantive change to WCAG 1.0.  Although 
the until user agents clauses have been difficult to interpret, they help 
clarify what should be the responsibility of the user agent versus that of 
the author (and the authoring tool).  UAAG-conformant user agents (and 
ATAG-conformant authoring tools) are absolutely necessary to increase the 
pace at which the Web is becoming accessible.  Until user agents clauses 
put pressure on the user agents  and, in the future, allow the author to 
focus on providing the information that only the author can provide.

In last week's techniques telecon discussion of checkpoint 10.1[4], the 
initial feeling is that we can not deprecate this checkpoint yet. 
Therefore, in essence, we are saying what you would like to see, but with 
the hope that someday user agents will handle new windows better (even 
better than they do today).

[4] http://www.w3.org/2003/12/17-wai-wcag-irc.html#T15-39-52

Best. Thank you,

wendy a chisholm
world wide web consortium
web accessibility initiative
Received on Monday, 22 December 2003 15:24:48 UTC

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