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Re: definition of User Agent

From: Christophe Strobbe <christophe.strobbe@esat.kuleuven.be>
Date: Thu, 03 Nov 2005 14:48:37 +0100
Message-Id: <>
To: <w3c-wai-gl@w3.org>


At 05:00 30/10/2005, Gregg Vanderheiden wrote:
I just noticed the definition of user agent in our guidelines
1.      The software and documentation components that together, conform to 
the requirements of the User Agent Accessibility Guidelines 1.0 (UAAG 1.0). 
This is the most common use of the term in this document and is the usage 
in the UAAG checkpoints.

2.      Any software that retrieves and renders Web content for users. This 
may include Web browsers, media players, plug-ins, and other programs  
including assistive technologies  that help in retrieving and rendering 
Web content.

Isn’t the second definition the one we mean most?  Not the first?
In fact isn’t the second definition the only thing we mean by the term user 

In my opinion, we can only use the second definition. We can't safely 
assume that user agents conform to UAAG: for some technologies, the user 
agent is not something that is installed on a device controlled by the 
user. For VoiceXML applications, the user agent is the VoiceXML processor 
[1] or the "VoiceXML interpreter context" [2]. This is software that is 
installed on a machine that a user accesses by telephone. It acts upon 
events caused by user action (e.g. spoken or character input, disconnect, 
...) and retrieves files from a document server (e.g. a Web server) when 

[1] In VoiceXML 2.0: 
http://www.w3.org/TR/2004/REC-voicexml20-20040316/#dmlAConformanceProcessor -
in VoiceXML 2.1 CR: 
[2] http://www.w3.org/TR/voicexml20/#dml1.2.1


Christophe Strobbe

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

Disclaimer: http://www.kuleuven.be/cwis/email_disclaimer.htm
Received on Thursday, 3 November 2005 13:52:19 UTC

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