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Re: "untill user agents" retired?

From: Patrick H. Lauke <redux@splintered.co.uk>
Date: Tue, 31 Jan 2006 23:12:11 +0000
Message-ID: <43DFEECB.5050109@splintered.co.uk>
To: wai-ig list <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>

Emmanuelle Gutiérrez y Restrepo wrote:

> What target? Are we thinking in "all" or only in some users?

In a utopian world, of course we're thinking of "all". But realistically 
it can't be "all", if the user agents don't follow the basic W3C 
standards, have major flaws and bugs, or simply require non-standard 
hacks to work. As an example: I'd love to say that my sites all work in 
Mosaic, for instance...but the fact that Mosaic doesn't understand HTTP 
1.1, and therefore can't access any sites which are virtually hosted 
(multiple domain names under the same physical IP address) would, under 
the "all" moniker, make them inaccessible under that reasoning (leaving 
aside even more serious shortcomings of Mosaic here for a second).

 > Are we talking about "universal design" (Design for all) or are we 
talking about marketing?

I'm not sure where you got the marketing angle from here. And again: 
design for all is a wonderful concept, but without a baseline, without a 
level playing field, it's utopian. I could sit down and write my own 
browser which only implements 10% of HTML 4.01 ... and if your site 
doesn't work with it, you've failed the universal design idea?

> What happen with the people that can't buy a new computer,
 > that can't update their user agent?

Where do you draw the line? And we're not talking about any issues that 
affect users which have last year's PC/OS/browser, either...even at the 
time of writing, the "until user agents" clauses were - correct me if 
I'm wrong - edge cases. So, 6 years down the line, are these edge cases 
still a consideration?

And, if as David suggests even brand new devices have problems, where's 
the pressure on the device manufacturers to follow standards?

> I understand that we need a limit, maybe. But we need a inclusive limit.

How's this as an inclusive limit: user agents that adhere to the W3C 

Patrick H. Lauke
re·dux (adj.): brought back; returned. used postpositively
[latin : re-, re- + dux, leader; see duke.]
www.splintered.co.uk | www.photographia.co.uk
Web Standards Project (WaSP) Accessibility Task Force
Received on Tuesday, 31 January 2006 23:12:16 UTC

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