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Re: UA guidelines and robots

From: Brian Kelly <lisbk@ukoln.ac.uk>
Date: Mon, 24 May 1999 16:06:19 +0100
Message-ID: <04c301bea5f7$01551190$3c92268a@bath.ac.uk>
To: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org, Jon Gunderson <jongund@staff.uiuc.edu>

----- Original Message -----
From: Jon Gunderson <jongund@staff.uiuc.edu>
To: <b.kelly@ukoln.ac.uk>; <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Sent: Friday, May 21, 1999 9:03 PM
Subject: UA guidelines and robots

> There is currently no mention of WWW robots in the UA guidelines.   I am
> not sure exactly what the accessibility issue is related to robots and
> agents.  If you feel there is an issue please send it to me or the group
> for consideration.
> Thanks,
> Jon

Hi Jon
     Robots should benefit from accessible HTML design (i.e. they don't
understand "click here"; often they can't follow framed sites or clever
Javascripted sites, etc.)  So an accessible site following WAI guidelines
should result in a site being indexed.
    However there is also the issue of whether developments which will aid
robot software (such as site mapping standards) will also potentially
provide accessibility benefits.  For example would the ability to process
link information independently of the HTML resource be of use?  IE5 provides
the capability now (using the DOM, although it could be done in other ways).
For example an RDF-based sitemap schema which defined relationships between
related resources would be of use for indexing purposes (no point in
indexing the same resource in HTML, Word and PDF formats more than once) and
might also be of use for accessibility purposes.
    Definitions for site mapping is not happening within W3C.  Netscape are
doing something for Mozilla  and various library communities are working in
this area.
    My question is whether any of the W3C WAI groups should be involved in
ensuring that these (third-party) sitemapping schemas are developed with the
needs of the disabled communities taken on-board. (Note that this may be
out-of-scope for WAI, as W3C are unlikely to be standardising a sitemapping
    Note that I *think* that there should be benefits (based on informal
discussions with people) but would find it helpful if there was some
discussion on this topic.

Brian Kelly, UK Web Focus
UKOLN, University of Bath, BATH, England, BA2 7AY
Email:  b.kelly@ukoln.ac.uk     URL:    http://www.ukoln.ac.uk/
Homepage: http://www.ukoln.ac.uk/ukoln/staff/b.kelly.html
Phone:  01225 323943            FAX:   01225 826838
Received on Monday, 24 May 1999 11:08:45 UTC

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