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Can non-W3C technology meet WCAG? (was: RE:... NEW: Issue #1544)

From: Christophe Strobbe <christophe.strobbe@esat.kuleuven.be>
Date: Thu, 18 Aug 2005 11:27:19 +0200
Message-Id: <>
To: w3c-wai-gl@w3.org

At 20:56 13/08/2005, Bob Regan wrote:
>I would add that this is the very same strategy used by W3 technologies 
>such CSS and SVG. Further, to my knowledge, there are no configurations of 
>user agents that directly render SVG.

Opera 8 supports SVG 1.1 Tiny (http://www.opera.com/features/svg/) but I 
don't know how it works with screen readers (someone tried the beta of 
Opera 8 in December 2004, see 

>Let's present the question directly to the group. It is relevant. Can a 
>non-W3 technology meet WCAG? Can a proprietary technology meet WCAG? I 
>have long been under the assumption that the answer is yes, it can. If the 
>definition of accessibility has changed, then we should get that out in 
>the open.

I don't think that "Can a non-W3 technology meet WCAG?" is the right 
question (if the wording accurately reflects the intention). To my 
understanding, WCAG does not describe the properties that technologies X, Y 
and Z should have, but the properties that delivery units using 
technologies X, Y and Z should have. If a web page uses XHTML, CSS and 
Flash, accessibility is determined by how these three technologies are made 
to work together: for example, you can use HTML to provide a text 
alternative for your Flash content (I'm ignoring baseline here to simplify 
the discussion).
However, if you tried to build a purely Flash-based site (with no HTML 
except for the home page), you would have to rely solely on the features of 
Flash to make your content accessible. For example, you would have to 
indicate changes in natural language, but the LanguageCode field currently 
only allows the values Latin, Japanese, Korean, Simplified Chinese and 
Traditional Chinese (Macromedia Flash (SWF) File Format Specification: 
Version 7, p. 25)[1], which is insufficient to indicate changes in natural 
language. (The SWF spec says that: "A language code does not specify a text 
encoding; it specifies a spoken language.") There may also be other issues; 
I just wanted to provide one example.



Christophe Strobbe

>bob regan | macromedia | 415.832.5305

Christophe Strobbe
K.U.Leuven - Departement of Electrical Engineering - Research Group on 
Document Architectures
Kasteelpark Arenberg 10 - 3001 Leuven-Heverlee - BELGIUM
tel: +32 16 32 85 51
Received on Thursday, 18 August 2005 09:28:36 UTC

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