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Re: accessibility supported questions

From: Ramón Corominas <listas@ramoncorominas.com>
Date: Wed, 01 Apr 2009 13:50:07 +0200
Message-ID: <49D354EF.8050807@ramoncorominas.com>
To: Phill Jenkins <pjenkins@us.ibm.com>
CC: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
Hello again.

> Thanks for sharing your opinion, but "enough" and "cost" is a policy 
> discussion in my pinion, not a technical software engineering discussion. 
> "Costs" and "enough" is only mentioned WCAG 2.0 (see Note 2) as one of 4 
> choices (2d), but I do agree it should be part of the policy discussion.
So let's see what are the "technical" choices you mention...

"2. The Web content technology must have accessibility-supported user 
agents that are available to users. This means that at least one of the 
following four statements is true:
   a. The technology is supported natively in widely-distributed user 
agents that are also accessibility supported (such as HTML and CSS);"

This is not -and as far as I know won't be- the case for Adobe PDF and 
Flash, since they require a plug-in or different application. In my 
opinion Adobe Reader itself (not the plug-in) can't be strictly 
considered as a true "user agent", since it does not *retrieve* web 
content, although I could accept Reader as a kind of external add-on to 
the user agent that renders /downloaded/ web content.

It seems also that WAI-ARIA is been supported -more or less- by major 
browsers, but we should take in account the AT support for this 
technology, that (in my opinion) is very poor.

"OR  b. The technology is supported in a widely-distributed plug-in that 
is also accessibility supported;"

(and I think we should implicitly add "and distributed in an accesible 
manner")

This would then be the case for Flash and PDF. As Matt has stated, PDF 
seems to be well-supported in a wide variety of OS, user agents, and AT, 
so I suppose that if content is well-formed, we can safely accept PDF as 
an "accessibility supported" technology; anyway, I think we must still 
keep in mind that most of the users won't have the latest version of the 
OS, user agent or AT, so we will still be excluding people. But yes, 
technically right.

In respect to Flash, I only can say that all "accessible" Flash content 
that I've been able to test only renders ok with some combinations of 
Windows + IE + JAWS, and inserted in a particular way in the HTML. 
Perhaps its real support is better than I can know and all content I've 
tested is badly done; this would be great news for me, so I could then 
accept Flash as "safe" and concentrate efforts in study and develop 
recommendations to generate good content.

It would be nice if Adobe developed official Techniques for Flash and 
PDF to be included in the WCAG documents (perhaps they already exist 
somewhere?).

My apologizes to Matt if it seemed that I rejected PDF, Flash, or any 
other technology as accessibility supported. It was my fault to mention 
specific technologies, since I'm only copying WCAG when they state that 
a technology must have support to be considered supported (very logical, 
I think).

"OR c. The content is available in a closed environment, such as a 
university or corporate network, where the user agent required by the 
technology and used by the organization is also accessibility supported;"

Not the case, since we are talking about general content in the World 
Wide Web.

"OR d. The user agent(s) that support the technology are accessibility 
supported and are available for download or purchase in a way that:
  * does not cost a person with a disability any more than a person 
without a disability and
  * is as easy to find and obtain for a person with a disability as it 
is for a person without disabilities."

So for widespread web content, any technology (no names here) that is 
only compatible with certain OS, user agent, and/or AT (not widely 
supported), we should not be punished for suffering a disability.

Am I right in my interpretation now? Which technologies will you 
consider as "accessibility supported", then?

Regards,
Ramón.
Received on Wednesday, 1 April 2009 11:52:15 GMT

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