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Re: Remote Scripting -- Compliant with 508 and WCAG?

From: Charles McCathieNevile <charles@sidar.org>
Date: Sun, 7 Dec 2003 16:33:08 +1100
Cc: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
To: Phill Jenkins <pjenkins@us.ibm.com>
Message-Id: <D6B086E6-2876-11D8-83FB-000A958826AA@sidar.org>

(apologies to Joe for the top response and the extensive quote)

It's pretty simple  to work out the conformance issue for WCAG. 
Checkpoint 6.3 says, in lay terms,

   Make sure the page works when scripts are turned off.

So if the page doesn't work without scripts, you are not in conformance 
with that checkpoint. Which means you cannot meet any of the defined 
conformance levels of WCAG.

As Phill says, many assistive technologies can handle Javascript. When 
it is used correctly, many users of assistive technologies can handle 
what happens, so they activate Javascript. This is why there are two 
requirements - one for those who use a technology that does not handle 
javascript, and one for people who are using javascript-capable 
systems. (Checkpoint 8.1 also applies to Java applets, Flash movies, 
and so on, because again there are people with Java- or Flash- capable 
systems who will have it enabled by default, but this isn't the case 
for everyone. And WCAG is a list of checkpoints, which sometimes 
discuss overlapping areas because there are overlapping needs in the 
universe. Conformance is clearly defined as meeting each checkpoint...)

There is another question, which the WCAG group has been discussing - 
is it still necessary to assume that some people will not have 
Javascript activated?

Certainly there are people who use systems which are not script-capable 
(such as blindux, braillesurf, a japanese system whose name I don't 
know, and a number of others). There are also people who turn off 
scripting support - in some cases for reasons unrelated to 
accessibility. For the WCAG group, then, the important question is "is 
there a valid accessibility reason to ensure that these systems are 
taken into account?".

In your case, if you need to conform to WCAG the answer is simple. 
There is no provision in WCAG for ignoring a checkpoint because a 
client doesn't like it, or because you think it is badly framed - if 
you don't meet the checkpoints you're not in conformance. (You can 
ignore them if they deal with features that you don't have on your site 
- for example if there are no forms or form-type interactions on your 
site then labelling form controls is not applicable to you).

I think the 508 situation is more complex, but since I so very rarely 
deal with the US federal government I have stopped getting involved 
with it. I do recall thinking a couple of years ago that the standard 
interpretation of this issue and section 508 seemed more focussed on 
what people thought it should say than on the actual text, but that the 
text wasn't that clear anyway.

Cheers

Chaals

On Saturday, Dec 6, 2003, at 03:55 Australia/Melbourne, Phill Jenkins 
wrote:

>> Would it be possible to use Remote Scripting and still retain
>> compliance? Can assistive technologies handle it?
>
> Yes, and many assistive technologies handle client-side scripting 
> (e.g.,
> IBM Home Page Reader, JAWs, magnifiers, etc.).  One of the few that I 
> know
> of that doesn't is the LYNX browser.  If you call that an assistive
> technology, I call it a non scripting capable browser.  In my mind,
> scripting is not a disability issue per se, its what authors do with it
> that may or may not cause problems.  Just like HTML or GUI programs, 
> both
> can and cannot be made accessible, it depends on what the author does.
>
> Others claim that if scripting doesn't work with their configuration, 
> then
> it isn't accessible to them.  True, but then they are mixing the 
> disability
> issue with the user's configuration,  affordability, or security 
> preference
> and not really addressing the capability of a user with a disability 
> and a
> supported browser and assistive technology - which is what many refer 
> to as
> "technical accessibility".  If all the employees in the State, Bureau, 
> etc.
> have access to a capable browser & assistive technology, then the 
> client
> side scripting can (and should) be made directly accessible to them.
>
> WCAG 1.0 Checkpoint 8.1 [see note 1] requires the direct accessibility 
> of
> scripting results, which is viewed by many to be equivalent to the 
> Section
> 508 Web part paragraph L [see note 2].

> Interesting to see that many see a conflict, or at least an oddity 
> between
> WCAG 1.0 Checkpoint 6.3 and 8.1.  In other words, why does one need to 
> meet
> 8.1 if the site already works without scripting by meeting 6.3?
Received on Sunday, 7 December 2003 00:34:05 GMT

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