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Re: untill:

From: Kynn Bartlett <kynn-edapta@idyllmtn.com>
Date: Wed, 20 Dec 2000 12:35:30 -0800
Message-Id: <>
To: "David Poehlman" <poehlman1@home.com>
Cc: <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
At 12:54 PM 12/20/2000 , David Poehlman wrote:
>untill is in the guidelines for specific reasons and I suggest that if
>you don't know it has come to past regard it as not.  It is not hard
>to find out whether the untill has been met and there will be another
>pack of guidelines for us to learn coming along shortly.

I respectfully disagree; "until user agents" has serious problems
for any implementor and does not belong in any guidelines which
are supposed to actually be followed.

It _is_ hard to figure out if a guideline has been met, and the
W3C itself does not even undertake to publish a list of which
"until user agents" checkpoints have been satisfied by user agents
and which have not.

There are no standards for determining whether or not an "until
user agents" clause has been been met.  For that reason, and because
it requires an exceptional amount of research --  when the point of
guidelines is that web designers don't _have_ to be experts on
assistive technology if they follow the guidelines -- the "until
user agents" phrasing is being phased out and being replaced with
more specific advice and technology-specific checkpoints in future
version of WCAG.

(Don't believe me that there's no standards?  Okay, then tell me
this -- how many user agents have to support something for the
"until user agents" clause is unnecessary?  One?  "All" of them?
What about older versions of user agents?  How long must they
be out?  What percentage of market penetration is necessary?  Does
that figure change when talking about assistive tech which is by
definition a niche market?  How do you measure accurately which
user agents are being used?  What level of support is necessary?
How long do you wait for people to upgrade?  Must they be freely
available, or is it okay if you have to pay for the upgrade?  Does
it need to be available on all platforms?  Most platforms?  Just
Windows?  Just Mac?  Windows, Mac, and Linux?  What about Solaris?
How about WebTV?  Etc, etc, etc.  There are no agreed-upon
standards for resolving "until user agent" clauses, and thus it
makes a checkpoint vague, and vagueness in checkpoints is very


Kynn Bartlett  <kynn@idyllmtn.com>                    http://kynn.com/
Director of Accessibility, Edapta               http://www.edapta.com/
Chief Technologist, Idyll Mountain Internet   http://www.idyllmtn.com/
AWARE Center Director                      http://www.awarecenter.org/
What's on my bookshelf?                         http://kynn.com/books/
Received on Wednesday, 20 December 2000 16:03:07 UTC

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