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Until user agents

From: Jesper Tverskov <jesper.tverskov@mail.tele.dk>
Date: Thu, 2 Sep 2004 09:28:26 +0200
To: <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Message-ID: <000001c490be$702b2c00$440bc650@tversdatg7y7vv>

In an answer to my, "The title attribute is 99% bad", Kynn Bartlett
raised a very important question:

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Kynn wrote:

"You know, any new proposal that starts out with "Until user agents" is
just plain wrong to begin with.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

"Until user agents" was the mantra of WCAG-1, the phrase is used at
least 18 times.

The mantra is somehow real since it is the point of departure of web
design. Almost anything in specs like HTML and CSS depends on the user
agents supporting it or not, supporting it right or wrong, according to
specs or not, etc.

It is quite another question if accessibility guidelines should be build
around such a mantra or if there are better ways to make accessibility

I agree that "Until user agents" was too dominant in WCAG-1. It gave the
guidelines a too conservative and too backward looking image not healthy
for winning new friends among web page authors.

"Until user agents" was often interpreted too strict. It should have
been more like an equation. How important is the issue, what are the
alternatives for both users and web content authors, what is the
audience of the website, etc. 

The outcome of the equation "Until user agents" is different from
website to website, from web page to web page, and even from case to

It was also confusing that "Until user agents" sometimes meant, that the
issue was not or should not be a web content author issue but a user
agent issue, and sometimes meant that it is an author issue just waiting
for the browsers to render HTML, CSS and accessibility guidelines for
user agents, etc., according to the specs.

Best regards,
Jesper Tverskov

Received on Thursday, 2 September 2004 07:28:22 UTC

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