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Re: How accessible is Netscape?

From: Aaron Leventhal <aaronl@netscape.com>
Date: Wed, 04 Jul 2001 16:09:15 -0700
Message-ID: <3B43A21B.3000908@netscape.com>
To: Kynn Bartlett <kynn-edapta@idyllmtn.com>
CC: Aaron Leventhal <aaronl@chorus.net>, David Poehlman <poehlman1@home.com>, Martha Wilkes <Martha.Wilkes@sas.com>, w3c-wai-ig@w3.org

When implementing keyboard features, it is difficult to please everyone. 
I have put a FAQ for Mozilla/Netscape's keyboard layout planning at 
http://www.mozilla.org/projects/ui/accessibility/mozkeyintro.html. As 
far as accesskey goes, I haven't yet heard anyone say we're doing 
something particularly good *or* bad. Partly, there just aren't a lot of 
web pages that use accesskey yet, so most people won't notice the 
difference. That said, I believe we act similarly to other browsers when 
it comes to accesskey (Alt on Windows and UNIX, Ctrl on Mac). If you 
find areas that we can improve, please get involved by starting a 
discussion on our mozilla-accessibility discussion list! The newsgroup 
equivalent is netscape.public.mozilla.accessibility. This W3C discussion 
list is probably not the best forum for Mozilla/Netscape software 

I'm surprised you heard a Netscapee denigrate MSAA. It's an incredibly 
important API for adaptive technology. Most people at Netscape respect 
good technology, wherever it comes from. From a Netscape point of view, 
cross platform technology is what to aim for. However, until there is a 
cross-platform accessibility API, and until up-to-date screen readers 
and other access technology exists for other platforms,MSAA is the only 
game in town.

Netscape does have user CSS capability. There are also a number of 
appearance preferences, for users with partial vision. I'm not sure what 
your other requests amount to - perhaps we can take those offline, or I 
can direct you to the appropriate developers. We're a very open project 
- it's not difficult for you to put your two cents in either on the 
irc.mozilla.org (#mozilla), in one of the news groups, or in the on-line 
bug database (bugzilla.mozilla.org). As far as CC/PP, a quick check was 
unable to turn up any Mozilla- or Netscape- based efforts, but in 
principle I agree that it's a good idea.

The main thing to remember is that Netscape's accessibility efforts are 
really just getting momentum now. For the moment, we have to concentrate 
on the bread and butter of accessibility - the keyboard interface, 
compatibility with 3rd party accessibility software, appearance 
preferences and support of standards. There's definitely a lot more that 
can be done once the foundation is set. In fact, the more people who get 
involved, the closer we can get to the ideal for browser accessibility.

Aaron Leventhal
Netscape Accessibility

Kynn Bartlett wrote:

>At 09:16 PM 7/3/2001 , Aaron Leventhal wrote:
>>We have been working on several fronts, especially:
>>- Keyboard accessibility - this benefits everyone
>How is Netscape planning to implement ACCESSKEY?  I've yet to see
>a really -good- way of doing this, in -any- browser. :<
>>- MSAA support, so that we can work with screen readers, voice dictation packages and other 3rd party accessibility solutions in Windows
>This is good to hear.  I was getting worried (from talking to someone
>else at Netscape) that MSAA was considered unimportant since "it's a
>Microsoft API."
>>- Appearances preferences, such as font size, zooming and colors
>Hopefully using user-defined CSS behind the scenes?  (My dream browser
>maintains a user.css file with as many settings as possible stored
>in CSS, but maintained via a normal 'preferences' interface, thus
>making the browser, in effect, a mini CSS editor.  Also necessary is
>a way for the user to quickly and easily install and manage multiple
>CSS files.  Tell me this is what you have planned and I will be a
>happy man.)
>Also, if you want to make me EXTRA happy, Aaron, tell me that someone
>at Netscape is working on using CC/PP as a way of storing and eventually
>transmitting user preferences and settings (in a manner consistent with
>the user's privacy settings, of course) to CC/PP-aware browsers.  If
>I can hear that from Netscape then all the sins of Netscape 4 will
>be forgiven. :)  [And hey if you need someone from outside to come and
>preach the wonders of CC/PP...]
>Kynn Bartlett <kynn@reef.com>
>Technical Developer Liaison
>Reef North America
>Accessibility - W3C - Integrator Network
>Tel +1 949-567-7006
Received on Wednesday, 4 July 2001 19:08:38 UTC

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