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Re: is javascript considered good wacg 2.0 practice?

From: Bryan Garaventa <bryan.garaventa@whatsock.com>
Date: Thu, 13 Dec 2012 10:55:18 -0800
Message-ID: <BC09DB53016B46618466AB4463DEC3D8@WAMPAS>
To: "Harry Loots" <harry.loots@ieee.org>
Cc: "Steve Faulkner" <faulkner.steve@gmail.com>, "David Woolley" <forums@david-woolley.me.uk>, "Steve Green" <steve.green@testpartners.co.uk>, "Karen Lewellen" <klewellen@shellworld.net>, "W3C WAI ig" <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
I understand your meaning, but we've reached a point in the development of web technologies where accessibility has a symbiotic relationship with interactive scripting, such as the use of ARIA and dynamic updating via JavaScript to ensure the accessibility of complex widgets.
Deliberately programming user agents and ATs to break this functionality isn't going to help anyone in the future, and promotes the old stand-by of having to build two separate sites, one for people with disabilities, and one for those without, which isn't feasible for sites that number in the billions of web pages.

We also have excellent free ATs now, such as NVDA, which can be used in Firefox with great support for interactive web technologies, so prohibitive cost isn't as much a factor anymore either.

I understand the point about secure systems with JavaScript disabled, and this can't be helped for private company systems and high security settings where this is required. There are simply many public sites that won't work correctly in these circumstances, and the user is limited to only use sites that are programmed for use in these environments.

For public facing sites however, I think it's important to make sure that user agents and ATs are programmed to support proven accessible solutions and the manner that they are being programmed, especially if these techniques are being used by everyone for these same purposes.

Otherwise, we'll just have to set up separate quarantined boxes for disabled people, while the full potential of the web is only meant for the big kids to play in.

  ----- Original Message ----- 
  From: Harry Loots 
  To: Bryan Garaventa 
  Cc: Steve Faulkner ; David Woolley ; Steve Green ; Karen Lewellen ; W3C WAI ig 
  Sent: Thursday, December 13, 2012 10:05 AM
  Subject: Re: is javascript considered good wacg 2.0 practice?

  On 13 December 2012 18:16, Bryan Garaventa <bryan.garaventa@whatsock.com> wrote:

    It is possible to make fully accessible websites that don't use JavaScript at all, and if we expect the web to regress back to the way it was back in the 90's, then this is reasonable. Right now though, you will be hard pressed to find any public facing corporate website anywhere that does not use JavaScript at all. 

  I don't think anyone is suggesting for "the web to regress back to the way it was back in the 90's". 
  However, if the JavaScript we use to provide sophisticated functionality that will make the website more usable for a large proportion of users, does not function when a user whose browser/AT does not support it, then this user will still find the site inaccessible. As designers/developers we must provide means for these users to also have access to this functionality, otherwise we and our website fails.

    If ARIA roles are the proposed standard for the future, which I think is an excellent idea for future accessibility, that means that all of the supporting attributes have to be accepted as well, such as aria-selected, aria-checked, aria-pressed, aria-activedescendant, and so on, all of which have to be controlled using JavaScript. 

  I'm not sure that ARIA was ever intended to be the future of accessibility. I have always understood it to be bridging technology. Rue the day when ARIA becomes the standard, rather than the browser or user agent's accessibility APIs. 

  Kind regards
Received on Thursday, 13 December 2012 18:56:00 UTC

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