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Re: Key results and recommendations from Face to Face

From: Wendy Chisholm <wendy@w3.org>
Date: Wed, 23 Mar 2005 14:34:21 -0800
Message-ID: <4241EEED.1020508@w3.org>
To: w3c-wai-gl@w3.org
Cc: shadi@w3.org


 From Gregg's email:

>2.	Techniques documents may provide multiple techniques and thosetechniques may differ based on user agent assumptions. For example, we could have 2  techniques: 1. how to make scripts accessible for user agents and assist.  tech that support scripts 2.  how to write content in such a way that if  scripts are turned off the content degrades gracefully (i.e., still usable  w/out scripting).  however, these two techniques are not mutually exclusive  and one or the other is used depending on what technology choices are made. 
>If you will (need to) provide multiple techniques anyway, why not define
>a default for "authors" who can not (for several reasons) make
>assumptions on their audience? Let's stick to the scripting example:
>Because you do not define a baseline, you need to define conformance to
>the Guidelines under the assumption that user agents and assistive
>technologies support scripting; as well as for the opposite assumption.
Shadi responds:

>Since you already (implicitly) define conformance to both assumptions
>anyway, why not define that (for example) "scripts turned off" is the
>default unless "authors" can safely assume a different audience?
>The reason for my proposal is that I believe it would be very difficult
>to fully shift the burden of "until user agents" onto to the "authors"
>and essentially require them to know this information in order for them
>to be able to use the Guidelines. Just to clarify, I do assume that
>"authors" should have some expertise in order to properly implement
>accessible Web sites but I do not expect them to be able to define a
>baseline unless you provide them with solid guidance on how to do so
>(i.e. guidelines).
To address these concerns, I believe there was some discussion about the 
following points at the face-to-face (although not part of the proposed 
resolutions and no consensus was called for these):
1.  The one assumption that everyone should make is that people with 
disabilities are in the audience.
2. If a decision maker (a government, a customer, a company, a manager, 
or an author) *can* make further assumptions about the audience (either 
because they are a government that gives tools to its citizens or a 
company that sells an enterprise application that requires specific 
technology),  then an alternative  is not needed (for technology that 
might turned off or not supported).
3. If a decision maker *can not* make further assumptions about the 
audience (because the decision maker is publishing to the whole Web or 
doesn't have control over user tools), then the content is functional 
when technologies are turned off or not supported *or* an alternative  
must be provided.

Then, this is not limited to scripting; this applies to all technologies 
that may not be supported or turned on. e.g., CSS, MathML, SVG, etc.

However, it still requires that the decision maker know *something* 
about the technologies that his or her audience is using.  Shadi argued 
yesterday that it is very unlikely decision makers will know about the 
assistive technologies used by an audience because there is no way to 
collect that information other than through extensive study of the 
audience.  It is easy to gather user agent information (through access 
logs) but assistive technology information is not included in those logs.

This gets to Loretta's point about the need for a resource that explains 
country by country, language by language, platform by platform the 
variety of assistive technology in common use.  However, that would need 
to be separated from the guidelines and its not clear who would maintain 

wendy a chisholm
world wide web consortium
web accessibility initiative
Received on Wednesday, 23 March 2005 22:34:27 UTC

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