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RE: Javascript alternatives not necessary?

From: Fentress, Robert <rfentres@vt.edu>
Date: Wed, 21 Jul 2004 08:05:56 -0400
Message-ID: <E7BD4EDD62660F44922C0B11258FBE8F40121E@fangorn.cc.vt.edu>
To: "Lee Roberts" <leeroberts@roserockdesign.com>, <w3c-wai-gl@w3.org>

[uberquote]
-----Original Message-----
From:	Lee Roberts [mailto:leeroberts@roserockdesign.com]
Sent:	Wed 7/21/2004 12:55 AM
To:	w3c-wai-gl@w3.org
Cc:	
Subject:	RE: Javascript alternatives not necessary?

Robert says {quote]You cannot view an HTML page without an
appropriate user agent of some sort, and yet we don't say
web pages are inaccessible.[/quote]

First, web pages can be viewed using any thing as base as
Lynx to as robust as Firefox.  They can be presented by
Braille displays and screen readers.  If they are
developed correctly!  So, your argumnet about web pages is
full of holes.
[/uberquote]

Different web browsers support different features and implement common features differently.  Thus, any web resource is unlikely to be functional in all user agents.  So, in a sense, every developer designs for particluar user agents, based on their prevalence in the market--even developers senstive to concerns about accessibility.  This is not to say that developing for one browser on one platform is ideal.  It isn't, but that isn't exactly what we are talking about in terms of Flash.  Flash works on all browsers and all major platforms (Windows, Mac, PocketPC, and Linux).  Since it is based on a plug-in controlled by a company, rather than by a standards body, it can be counted upon to behave consistently across those plaforms, which is more than can be said for many other technologies.

While disabled users are limted to using IE on a PC, this program is essentially built into the OS.  I would be curious as to what percent of the disabled population uses anything other than a PC to access web content.  What are the screen readers for Mac OS X and Linux and what is their market penetration?  If it is vanishingly small, is it reasonable to assume that companies will develop plug-in technologies that are accessible for each of their proprietary accessibility APIs?  At a certain point, I think, the responsibility is encumbent on the Operating System manufacturer to adopt what may be a de facto standard, ie. MSAA.

[uberquote]
User tracking?  Does that provide me, the user, any
information?  No!  It provides you, the site owner,
information.  So, why should I care about your stats?  It
doesn't help me as a blind user.
[/uberquote]

User tracking in SCORM is a fundamental aspect of the learning experience.  User's performance data are used to deliver customized content in order to meet learning objectives.  Thus, user tracking is of concern to all users, in this instance.  If you would like to learn more about SCORM, the standards are available at http://www.adlnet.org.

[uberquote]
Just because you're a Flash junkie doesn't mean that Flash
is accessible.  Just because other propogandaist step up
to the plate and say it is doesn't mean that it is.  It
simply isn't.  Anything that requires me to use Windows
and IE isn't accessible and never will be.

Your assumption that 90% of the world are on Windows and
that all disabled persons use Windows is short-sighted.
Linux has accessibility features.  Mac has accessibility
features.  So, until you and Macromedia start gaining
support from better systems don't assume Flash is
accessible.
[/uberquote]

Please, do not make assumptions about me.  Unless I have met you in a past life, you don't even know me. ;-)  I am not a Flash junkie.  I do use Flash when the occasion warrants and no other more widely-supported standards-compliant solution is up to the task.  And there are instances where this is the case.

Users with all disabilities can access Flash content.  Thus, it is accessible.  It may not run on all platforms for all users with disabilities.  You can say it is not a cross-platform application, but this seems to me a seperate, though related, issue from whether it is accessibile to users with disabilities.

[uberquote]
[quote]There is a reason that standard uses javascript as
a requirement: because, combined with an API adapter, it
allows for interoperability of educational content between
learning management systems.[/quote]

Another situation full of holes.  You again assume you
have the right to tell me I have to use your chosen set of
tools.  You have no such rights.  That's what accessbility
is all about ... providing choice.  If you provide no
choice you are inaccessible.  Don't assume your rights as
a site owner over bear my rights as a student or
subscriber to your services.
[/uberquote]

Again, please do not assume what I am assuming.  There is really no need to be so combative.  Can't we all just get along. ;-)

The whole point of SCORM is that of providing choice.  Content developed in proprietary learning management systems is not usable in other learning management systems.  SCORM was develpoped as a standard to address this problem.  Since no assumptions can be made about what technology is running on the server, the standard defines a javascript-based API that can be used as a way of communicating with proprietary learning management systems.  The learning management system is responsible for providing an API adapter, usually in the form of a Java applet, that receieves the javascript API calls and translates them into that learning management system's proprietary format.

This necessarily requires prescribing that user's access the content with a javascript-enabled browser.  Just as HTML pages require a browser of some sort to access them as they were intended, web-based applications may require require certain language interpreters are available.  That is just the nature of the thing.  You can't access a TV show with a toaster.  Interactivity is not text and often cannot be represented as such.

Rob
Received on Wednesday, 21 July 2004 08:06:07 UTC

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