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RE: definition of User Agent

From: John M Slatin <john_slatin@austin.utexas.edu>
Date: Thu, 3 Nov 2005 09:18:39 -0600
Message-ID: <6EED8F7006A883459D4818686BCE3B3B02505D1C@MAIL01.austin.utexas.edu>
To: "Christophe Strobbe" <christophe.strobbe@esat.kuleuven.be>, <w3c-wai-gl@w3.org>

For what it's worth, the Introductory material for the 30 June working draft discusses (and tries to clarify) the definition of user agent.  We quote both parts of the UAAG definition, then go on to point out that UAAG generally uses the first part of the definition while WCAG 2 generally uses the second part.  Here's the relevant content:

<blockquote>
WCAG 2.0 uses the term user agents according to the definition published in the Glossary for the W3C's User Agent Accessibility Guidelines (UAAG) 1.0. UAAG
1.0 defines user agents in two ways.
List of 2 items
1.The software and documentation components that together, conform to the requirements of the User Agent Accessibility Guidelines 1.0
[UAAG10].
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.
list end

UAAG 1.0 most often uses the first definition. By contrast, WCAG 2.0 most often uses the second definition. It is important to note that assistive technologies
are included in this definition. (Assistive technologies include screen readers, screen magnifiers, on screen and alternative keyboards, single switches,
and a wide variety of input and output devices that meet the needs of people with disabilities.)

</blockquote>

Maybe the explanatory paragraph could be added as a note to the definition as it appears in the Gloassary? This way we stay consistent with UAAG while highlighting how WCAG differs.

John

<blockquote>
WCAG 2.0 uses the term user agents according to the definition published in the Glossary for the W3C's User Agent Accessibility Guidelines (UAAG) 1.0. UAAG
1.0 defines user agents in two ways.
List of 2 items
1.The software and documentation components that together, conform to the requirements of the User Agent Accessibility Guidelines 1.0
[UAAG10].
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.
list end

UAAG 1.0 most often uses the first definition. By contrast, WCAG 2.0 most often uses the second definition. It is important to note that assistive technologies
are included in this definition. (Assistive technologies include screen readers, screen magnifiers, on screen and alternative keyboards, single switches,
and a wide variety of input and output devices that meet the needs of people with disabilities.)

</blockquote>



"Good design is accessible design."

Dr. John M. Slatin, Director 
Accessibility Institute
University of Texas at Austin 
FAC 248C 
1 University Station G9600 
Austin, TX 78712 
ph 512-495-4288, fax 512-495-4524 
email jslatin@mail.utexas.edu 
Web http://www.utexas.edu/research/accessibility 



-----Original Message-----
From: w3c-wai-gl-request@w3.org [mailto:w3c-wai-gl-request@w3.org] On Behalf Of Christophe Strobbe
Sent: Thursday, November 03, 2005 7:49 AM
To: w3c-wai-gl@w3.org
Subject: Re: definition of User Agent



Hi,

At 05:00 30/10/2005, Gregg Vanderheiden wrote:
<blockquote>
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 
agent?
</blockquote>

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 
necessary.


[1] In VoiceXML 2.0: 
http://www.w3.org/TR/2004/REC-voicexml20-20040316/#dmlAConformanceProcessor - in VoiceXML 2.1 CR: 
http://www.w3.org/TR/2005/CR-voicexml21-20050613/#sec-conform-processor
[2] http://www.w3.org/TR/voicexml20/#dml1.2.1

Regards,

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
http://www.docarch.be/ 


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Received on Thursday, 3 November 2005 15:18:49 GMT

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