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RE: Validity

From: Robinson, Norman B - Washington, DC <Norman.B.Robinson@usps.gov>
Date: Fri, 4 Nov 2005 14:25:35 -0500
Message-ID: <EAF95052690D174A833DC58B15AB6A8819E8C9@WADCHQSXM24.usa.dce.usps.gov>
To: "Bob Regan" <bregan@macromedia.com>, "Neil Soiffer" <neils@dessci.com>, <w3c-wai-gl@w3.org>
    When valid code creates issues for assistive technology(AT) , the
technology is defective. I'm not pointing fingers at the AT community as
they do an excellent job of keeping up with technology, all things
considered. But they are no different from any other piece of software
created by a vendor. Simply because they are dear and near to people we
care about isn't a reason to get emotional about it. They make software
and software has defects. While you weave a persuasive point about
vendors with limited resources; I think you ignore the realities of
business. The end users will be far better off with a business that can
deal with the resources they have and produce a quality product. I have
open source tools that do perform well and guess what - no commercial
vendor stands behind them. But I digress. 
    If you'll forgive my heavy Section 508 focus, I'd say that authors
can provide a functional equivalent of equal or greater value than
meeting the specific accessibility technical standards. And under
Section 508, if we get valid code, but defective assistive technology,
we still have to provide alternative access. We don't just look at the
users and say "See here, this is coded properly, so you loose out". We
do the right thing, we find another way while we ask the assistive
technology vendor to identify the issue and fix their defect.
    I will highlight their is a danger in meeting the functional
requirements but not the technical standards. Other's can't leverage and
depend upon a standard for access. If you've cleverly invented a way to
provide access then that is specific to your environment. Changing the
original technical standards to support your new invention or taking up
your own standards effort and ensuring others can access your
alternative approach is the only hope for a baseline that supports
everyone - not just the whims of a single implementation or vendor.
    Let me also mention I'm glad you're in the debate.
    Norman B. Robinson

	-----Original Message-----
	From: w3c-wai-gl-request@w3.org
[mailto:w3c-wai-gl-request@w3.org] On Behalf Of Bob Regan
	Sent: Friday, November 04, 2005 1:55 PM
	To: Neil Soiffer; w3c-wai-gl@w3.org
	Subject: RE: Validity

	I think it is important to keep the focus on the generalized
case, not the specific technology issue. 


	What happens when valid code creates issues for AT? 


	I think it is fine for this group to point fingers at the AT
community, but it won't serve the end users very well. Even when
everyone works really hard to work together, there are only specific
opportunities for changes to be made. This issue is amplified in smaller
AT companies with limited resources to make changes. Assuming that
changes can and will be made, in what seems like a quick turn around
from an AT vendor standpoint, where does that leave the end user? 


	This does not relieve the pressure on tool makers or the AT
vendors. As Roberto is eager to point up, this issue is covered in the
other working groups. 


	The question for WCAG is what should authors do in these cases.
Simply pointing to the AT vendors or tool makers does not fundamentally
help the end user. Authors should be allowed to employ techniques when
valid code will not solve the issue. 

Received on Friday, 4 November 2005 19:25:51 UTC

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