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Re: Detecting Assistive technology

From: Patrick H. Lauke <redux@splintered.co.uk>
Date: Thu, 18 Jan 2007 19:22:35 +0000
Message-ID: <45AFC8FB.60500@splintered.co.uk>
To: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org

Colin Lieberman wrote:

> Additionally, from a philosophical perspective, I'm curious what 
> motivates the question. I feel like the most responsible approach is to 
> send the same content to everybody, be they you, me, the googlebot, or 
> folks using AT. Well structured content is usable by everybody.

Flat content, maybe. But once you start adding an additional behavioural 
layer, things start getting pretty bumpy, mainly due to current AT's 
shortcomings in dealing with updated page content and notifying users of 
such a change. You can build a page/application that functions well with 
JS off, and with JS on (and progressive enhancement / hijax / etc) 
transmogrifies into a more dynamic app...but JS on/off is not granular 
enough a distinction. You'd obviously want to offer users a way in which 
to actively switch enhancements off, but detecting the presence of AT 
that could have trouble dealing with the enhancements and pre-selecting 
the non-script version of an app would certainly be one of those cases 
in which this would be considered a good thing, surely?

In that spirit, the only current technology I'm aware of that could be 
of use is Flash 
http://www.webaim.org/techniques/flash/techniques.php#detecting - you'd 
obviously also want to provide a non-flash alternative, which then could 
more than likely default to the non-JS functionality.

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 Thursday, 18 January 2007 19:22:38 UTC

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