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Web Page vs. Web Unit

From: David MacDonald <befree@magma.ca>
Date: Wed, 18 Oct 2006 11:20:46 -0400
To: "'List WAI GL'" <w3c-wai-gl@w3.org>, "'Gregg Vanderheiden'" <gv@trace.wisc.edu>, "'Judy Brewer'" <jbrewer@w3.org>
Message-ID: <000001c6f2c8$fddf2b00$650fa8c0@home>
As we try to decide on a term for what we are temporarily calling a "page
unit" I would like to reflect on the term "web page."

I agree "web page" may not accurately describe what is happening behind the
scenes of dynamic environment which assembles and aggregates on the fly.
However, our SC are not measured by *how* it is assembled. I would say
conformance is measured by what is received by a User Agent at any specific
moment in time.  For example, in Firefox, when we open "view source" we find
a snap shot of what the browser received at that moment. I would call that a
"Web Page" regardless of what happened on the back end of the server.
Whether the snap shot changes every 2 seconds as in an Ajax based site or
every 2 months as in static HTML, doesn't matter too much as far as I can
see. The important thing is that conformance would have to remain consistent
across multiple "snap shots" in order to make a claim. 

Perhaps the evolution of the web is a bit like the evolution of the
photograph, which started as a static image and eventually evolved into a
moving picture that is made up of 24 frames a second. On an aggregate or
dynamic site, it appears that pages are constantly changing, but it is
actually many discrete instances of static information like discrete frames
of a movie.  I would call each on of those instances a web page. 

I agree that, in some respects "web Page" is an outdated concept. But many
terms have survived and morphed  into the current age because of wide
historical acceptance. For instance, I'm sure that standards bodies in the
early days of the automotive industry argued back and forth about the
accuracy of the word "horsepower". They probably sounded a lot like us. 

It is kind of an oxymoron to "ship" something by airmail, but it works
because of the history of the word. In the old days a "teamster" was someone
who drove a *team* of horses but today it is someone who drives a truck. The
word "Automobile" makes reference to a buggy that drives by itself (auto). A
"movie" is short for a "moving picture" which gives a nod to its historical
predecessor, a photograph.

I think "web page" is a prime candidate for that kind of morphing process.

Perhaps this will help us as web try to decide what term we will use.


David MacDonald

access empowers people...

        ...barriers disable them...




From: w3c-wai-gl-request@w3.org [mailto:w3c-wai-gl-request@w3.org] On Behalf
Of Bailey, Bruce
Sent: Wednesday, October 18, 2006 8:56 AM
To: List WAI GL
Subject: RE: Minutes 12 October 2006


I am pleased to be continuing my track record of getting dropped from the
call as soon as I am asked to say something.  Confirmation bias I am sure!


Cynthia suggested the issue difficultly with conformance claims and the
debate over web unit versus web page might be ameliorated from a more
task-oriented approach.  Loretta asked if my experience at the Department of
Education, evaluating software and web content against the 508 Standards,
lead me to the feeling that equivalent facilitation and the Functional
Performance Criteria were problematic.  I said no, but I wanted to provide
some exposition on my reasonably well informed opinion.


The FPC (508 Subpart C,1194.31) are very high level.  There are only six of
them, and they follow a consistent pattern:
(a) At least one mode of operation and information retrieval that does not
require user vision shall be provided, or support for assistive technology
used by people who are blind or visually impaired shall be provided.


The reference for equivalent facilitation (1194.5) reads as follows:
Nothing in this part is intended to prevent the use of designs or
technologies as alternatives to those prescribed in this part provided they
result in substantially equivalent or greater access to and use of a product
for people with disabilities.


The provision has created some consternation, but I think all sides
(government, vendor, and consumer) are pleased to have it.  It has been
clarified that "meeting the functional performance criteria in Subpart C of
the Board's standards is the test for equivalent facilitation."  [1] Section
508 Acquisition FAQ's, January 2002, B.3., i; search for:
i. What is equivalent facilitation?


That said, I would be hard pressed to provide great examples of developers
making good use of this opportunity.


On the call I stated that at ED, we have experienced more difficulties from
situations where the products satisfied the specific success criteria but
were still not accessible.  Reasonable people can disagree about the wisdom
of applying the FPC on top of the more specific and objective criteria.  [2]


What I wish I had thought of, and my primary motivation for following up to
this list on this subject, is that I wanted to point out that some of the
508 provisions are themselves quite process oriented.  Most people here
probably know that most of 1194.22 comes straight from WCAG 1.0, but there
are a few notable exceptions:


(l) When pages utilize scripting languages to display content, or to create
interface elements, the information provided by the script shall be
identified with functional text that can be read by assistive technology.


(n) When electronic forms are designed to be completed on-line, the form
shall allow people using assistive technology to access the information,
field elements, and functionality required for completion and submission of
the form, including all directions and cues.


The conditionality of these provisions makes them, in my experience,
extremely powerful and flexible.  In our evaluation process, we are
comfortable deciding when they have been achieved (or not).  It would be
hard, however, to have the kind of inter-rater reliability we expect from
the WCAG 2.0 success criteria.


[1] http://www.section508.gov/index.cfm?FuseAction=Content
<http://www.section508.gov/index.cfm?FuseAction=Content&ID=75#b> &ID=75#b 

[2] http://trace.wisc.edu:8080/mailarchive/sec508/msg02531.shtml

[3] http://trace.wisc.edu:8080/mailarchive/sec508/msg02525.shtml

Received on Wednesday, 18 October 2006 15:21:28 UTC

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