W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > w3c-wai-ig@w3.org > January to March 2009

Re: accessibility supported questions

From: Patrick H. Lauke <redux@splintered.co.uk>
Date: Tue, 31 Mar 2009 20:07:56 +0100
Message-ID: <49D26A0C.5070708@splintered.co.uk>
To: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
Emmanuelle Gutiérrez y Restrepo wrote:

> But also, I am concerned that you mention the concept of "baseline" because
> from my point of view, fortunately, the concept no longer appears in WCAG
> 2.0 and hope it will not return to it.
> If our goal is to achieve accessibility for all, we can not leave it to the
> website developers/owners to determine a "baseline."

Hi Emmanuelle,

I realised that I was dredging up the term "baseline" from previous 
versions of WCAG...old habit.

The concept of the use of accessibility-supported technologies, though, 
still has this idea, although far less explicitly (and a bit less 
blatantly open to abuse). Every time a developer/owner makes a choice of 
technology, even if it's officially "accessibility-supported", they 
*are* in fact setting a baseline for their site. Otherwise, as noted, 
where does it end? If I use constructs in Flash, Flex, PDF that work 
100% in the latest screenreaders, I'm still setting a conscious baseline 
by not providing a fallback for older screenreaders, or users without 
Flash. It may not be best practice, but the wording of WCAG 2.0 leads me 
to believe that it's perfectly fine(?). What if I use JavaScript + 
WAI-ARIA in a way that's supported in the latest versions? Again, I'm 
setting a baseline.

Unless I'm missing something, that's been my understanding of WCAG 2.0 
all along, unless there's a mandated fallback to no-javascript, 
no-flash, just html there always is a (conscious or unconscious) setting 
of baselines on the part of developers/owners (in particular since 
W3C/WAI are not in the business of maintaining a list of 
"accessibility-supported" techs).

> The only "baseline" should be equal opportunities to access, interact and
> create content.

Sure, but certain expectations (hardware/software) are inevitable. And 
certain applications simply do require newer technology and won't be 
universally accessible to people running 10+ year old technology, for 

Again, this is my reading of WCAG 2.0. It may well be that I missed 
something, but that's been the understanding with most practitioners 
that I've spoken to (and the gray area of "where's the cut-off point? 
when can a technology be considered 'accessibility-supported'?" is 
indeed at the heart of this thread).

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
http://redux.deviantart.com | http://flickr.com/photos/redux/
Co-lead, Web Standards Project (WaSP) Accessibility Task Force
Received on Tuesday, 31 March 2009 19:08:37 UTC

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.3.1 : Tuesday, 13 October 2015 16:21:39 UTC