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RE: WCAG 2.0 and scripting

From: Harry Loots <harry.loots@ieee.org>
Date: Thu, 27 Sep 2007 11:49:06 +0100
To: <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Message-Id: <20070927104906.M27916@ieee.org>

> > David Woolley commented
> Patrick Lauke commented

> > WCAG compliance is often a contractual requirement (typically by 
> > universities and public services).  I believe, in some <snip>
> 
> Absolutely. If it's written in the contract ("compliance with WCAG 
> 1.0") or if you're operating under something (antiquated) like the 
> BITV in Germany, then yes, suppliers can't simply say "oh, but we're 
> working towards WCAG 2.0". The original question in this thread 
> didn't specify this though.

In this case 1.0 AA was specified in contract - so the software provider will
have to address the issue, regardless; but that's just by-the-way, as i'd like
to be absolutely clear on the original question, which is how to address the
issue of whether the fact that the use of Javascript delivers a large chunk of
critical functionality and content which can only be used by UAs that offer
Javascript support. 

The emphasis being, i guess, on the fact that not all UAs provide Javascript
support - and while i fully agree that people who are to lazy to upgrade their
browsers, i have sympathy for those who use AT, and who have to pay for their
software (isn't it ironic that those of us who have full use of our eyes,
ears, hands get our browsers for free, while those who have disabilities have
to pay 700/$1400+ for the latest version of for example JAWS). 

So from what i understand from this discussion is that the real test would be
whether Javascript (or ECMAScript) would be deemed to be accessibility
supported (previously described as being 'in the baseline'), which strokes
with my understanding, but unfortunately does not provide an authoritative
answer whereby i am able to argue with the supplier, that regardless of
whether they are working towards WCAG 2.0 or not, we need the functionality
provided by the Javascript to be modified so that it will also be available
without.... 


> > Incidentally, I take the view that accessibility should be 
> > considered as 
> > universal accessibility, and in the UK, I think that is government 
> > policy ("the digital divide") even if there is no 
> > legislation.
> 
> That would remain to be tested by case law. The argument would then 
> be along the lines of "this site uses Javascript, and it has been 
> tested and proven to work with all modern screen readers, but locks 
> out users of older screen readers, or EMACspeak users on Linux,
>  etc...is this discrimination?". I'd argue that it isn't, but that's 
> my own take. It all depends on context, anyway. If it were a 
> government website which offers essential information for citizens 
> then the technical requirement bar should be set low.


i'm on the side of 'universal accessibility' - and i think so is Sir Tim, who
said: "The power of the Web is in its universality. Access by everyone
regardless of disability is an essential aspect,"

The final decider in the UK would of course be whether obligations under the
DDA have been met, and not whether WCAG 1 or 2 have been complied with. You
may recall that Massey stated during the DRC investigation (2004?) that though
some sites were technically compliant they fell short of being truly
accessible. But that's a separate argument... 


Regards and thanks for the comments to date
Harry
Received on Thursday, 27 September 2007 10:49:18 GMT

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