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Re: Further thoughts on user agent support

From: Shadi Abou-Zahra <shadi@w3.org>
Date: Thu, 24 Mar 2005 11:10:00 +0100
To: "'Jason White'" <jasonw@ariel.its.unimelb.edu.au>
Cc: "'Web Content Accessibility Guidelines'" <w3c-wai-gl@w3.org>
Message-ID: <000d01c53059$a423f650$4502010a@K2>

Hi Jason,

IMHO, WCAG should not "exclude" any technology as you describe. For me,
the question is finding a sweet spot between "a normative until user
agents" and "first find out which assistive technologies support which
features in order to implement WCAG". -It seems to me that the previous
suggestion from Wendy comes close to that spot.


-----Original Message-----
From: w3c-wai-gl-request@w3.org On Behalf Of Jason White
Sent: Thursday, March 24, 2005 05:41
To: Web Content Accessibility Guidelines
Subject: Further thoughts on user agent support

While I have a few minutes between appointments, here a a few more
disorganized thoughts on the user agent support problem.

Scenarios I want to avoid:

1. (in a year or two) a developer writes a complicated site using XForms
to provide the user interface. It is highly accessible due to all of the
accessibility-related advantages of XForms, and (let us suppose) there
even a user agent available that supports XForms and works well with
assistive technologies. Unfortunately the developer can't conform the
2.0 due to a baseline requirement that excludes XForms.

2. Again in a year or two, a developer is considering implementing a
highly dynamic Web site using the new features of XHTML that are
to make scripted content more accessible. The developer is committed to
using scripts, but is willing to use the new features to make the
accessible to people with disabilities. There is even a user agent that
supports these features compatibly with assistive technologies. The
developer looks at WCAG 2.0, notices the baseline requirement and
as follows:

"If I write my content using the new XHTML features, it won't conform
to the baseline requirement, and it will involve a certain amount of
effort (e.g., changes in my development process and additional testing).
If I write it using legacy techniques it still won't conform and will be
much less accessible, but given that I can't make it WCAG-conformant by
using the new XHTML features, I'm not going to bother and can't justify
the extra work".

Obviously, both of these scenarios are directed against having a
baseline, especially a fixed one, or one that requires "widespread"
availability of a technology (whatever that means in more precise

I don't mind a non-normative, changing baseline in the techniques
documents, to provide guidance to developers and policy setters,
Received on Thursday, 24 March 2005 10:10:01 UTC

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