W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > w3c-wai-gl@w3.org > April to June 2005

Re: addition proposal, GL 4.2

From: Joe Clark <joeclark@joeclark.org>
Date: Mon, 16 May 2005 20:51:24 +0000 (UTC)
To: WAI-GL <w3c-wai-gl@w3.org>
Message-ID: <Pine.LNX.4.60.0505162045040.30336@aristotle.multipattern.com>

> When rendering or operating content requires a plug-in or applet, a 
> mechanism is available and associated with the content for downloading a 
> version of the plug-in or applet that allows the content to conform to 
> these guidelines.

I don't really understand this one. It seems to require everybody to link 
e.g. to a download site for Acrobat Reader whenever they use a PDF, even 
though rather a lot of people know you need that (or an equivalent 
program) to read the content.

(And in fact, the advice is Windows-centric. On Macs, I don't *need* a 
link to a plug-in or applet to view a PDF.)

Now, if you're talking about something like Flash, I don't think this 
proposal would be at all in line with what we know about progressive 
enhancement. (It's another thing we outside the Working Group have been 
working on for four years.)

1. If you to go to the homepage of a site that uses Flash, it may advise 
you that you need the Flash player. It may or may not tell you where to 
get it. Really badly designed sites won't let you go anywhere until you 
download and install the plug-in; they won't even let you *attempt* to 
read the content without this plug-in. (Typically this case is confused 
with the case of "Yes, I do have the right plug-in, but your crappy and 
outdated detection script thinks I don't.") Letting you in anyway, even 
with a text-only browser like Lynx, is the correct method according to 
progressive enhancement and it seems not to be encompassed by the 

2. Techniques like sIFR to replace well-marked-up heading text with 
Flash-based font images need the plug-in if you want to see the nice 
fonts, but otherwise default to styled h1 through h6 elements if you 
don't. In this case it's really irrelevant whether or not you have the 
plug-in; you always view the heading text.

Also, the wording makes it seem as though the act of downloading the 
plug-in is what transforms content from inaccessible to accessible. I 


     Joe Clark | joeclark@joeclark.org
     Accessibility <http://joeclark.org/access/>
       --What's wrong with top-posting?
Received on Monday, 16 May 2005 20:57:55 UTC

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