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RE: [4.1] Overview and summary of guideline 4.1

From: Yvette P. Hoitink <y.p.hoitink@heritas.nl>
Date: Sun, 25 Jan 2004 15:19:26 +0100
To: "'lisa seeman'" <seeman@netvision.net.il>, "'WAI-GL'" <w3c-wai-gl@w3.org>
Message-Id: <E1Akl6k-0002YZ-Sm@smtp5.home.nl>

Hello Lisa,

During the last telecon, we had a similar discussion about whether required
plug-ins were an accessibility problem (for example Flash, PDF). My
standpoint was similar to yours: if you require special plug-ins, this
limits accessibility because not everyone will want to install that or may
have the technical knowledge or administrative rights to do that.

John Slatin explained to me that this is not an accessibility problem in the
disability-accessibility sense: this is a problem for people without
disabilities as well. The aim of the WAI is to level the playing field for
people with disabilities. If people with disabilities have the same problems
as people without disabilities, the goal is reached. 

There are different kinds of accessibility problems. The WAI focuses on
disability-accessibility. Another kind could be called
availability-accessibility problems (you don't have the required plugin,
operating system, gadget, etc.), which is outside the scope of the WAI. 

Even though I recognize the validity of this point, I still would not advise
any of my clients to build a website requiring plugins for important parts
of their website. I think the use of proprietary formats/plugins introduce
new barriers, which tend to be higher for people with disabilities than for
people without them.

The issue you raise would fall in the availability-accessibility category,
not the disability accessibility. People with disabilities using Linux would
have the same problems with MS Windows-only web content as people without
disabilities using Linux. 

I think there is a grey area in the middle though. For example: with a
plugin that only works in certain browsers, the content is not available to
people who rely on text browsers. Do we require the developers to develop
plugins to work with each assistive technology out there? 

Yvette Hoitink
CEO Heritas, Enschede, the Netherlands
E-mail: y.p.hoitink@heritas.nl

> -----Original Message-----
> From: w3c-wai-gl-request@w3.org 
> [mailto:w3c-wai-gl-request@w3.org] On Behalf Of lisa seeman
> Sent: zondag 25 januari 2004 8:40
> To: 'Wendy A Chisholm'; 'Joe Clark'; 'WAI-GL'
> Subject: RE: [4.1] Overview and summary of guideline 4.1
> 
> 
> There is one big catch, is that the proprietary technology 
> needs to meet WCAG 2.0 on _the platform of the users choice_. 
> 
> When a proprietary technology allows you to meet WCAG but 
> only for users on using a given operating system (say you 
> have to be on Windows) then the effect is a lot less 
> accessible then the page was WCAG conformant using a W3C technology.
> 
> Also note that in poorer countries free platforms (read 
> Lynix)are starting to take off in schools ect. It seems a bit 
> limiting that to read a website you may need an expensive 
> operating system.
> 
> Side note: Someone needs to create an open rapper for API's 
> to the operating system and platform. I am not sure though 
> that it is the WAI...
> 
> 
> All the best
> Lisa Seeman
Received on Sunday, 25 January 2004 09:19:28 UTC

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