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RE: Browser Sniffing

From: Jon Gunderson <jongund@staff.uiuc.edu>
Date: Sun, 01 Mar 1998 12:29:58 -0600
Message-Id: <>
To: Joe Roeder <Jroeder@nib.org>, w3c-wai-ua@w3.org
JRGs response to Joe Roeder:
I don't think there is any single reason for browser sniffing.  It
something that is happening right now and affecting technology used by
persons with disabilities.  Especially since persons with more severe
disabilities do not tend to use the most popular browsers.  So the goal of
this discussion is to determine what WAIs response should be.  You seem to
have suggested that if the guidelines are followed by the major browser
developers, then the problem is the same for everyone reguardless of

At 12:57 PM 4/1/98 -0500, you wrote:
>Let me respond to your points in reverse order.  You said:
>> JRG in response to Joe Roeder: The one scenario that has been
>> presented is banks requiring a specific browser to do bank
>> transactions, so if you are using lynx you are out of luck.  This
>> scenario is probably based on security.  
>JSR: If security features, especially in financial transactions, is
>desirable, then there can only be 2 solutions: either put the security
>features into  LYNX and other popular browsers or make sure the browsers
>that have the security feature are accessable to persons with
>disability.  My point is based on the assumption that LYNX and other
>browsers might not want to add the security feature, so if the disabled
>person wants to communicate with that server, they will have to choose
>another browser.  This may seem like limiting the user'soptions, but
>what is the alternative?  
>I also assume that including these security features is not going to be
>a WAI recommendation.  That leaves recommending that browsers follow the
>accessability guidelines, which is what we are doing anyway.
>> JRG in response to Joe Roeder:Some sepcialized technologies for people
>> with disabilities are being denied access.  Not all the denials are
>> for security reasons, some people want to
>> force users to use a particular browser so that you see there WWW
>> pages as the author intended.  It may also be a marketing strategy
>> being used by
>> server/browser developers to promote there products over competing
>> products.  
>JSR: This is clearly a problem of bad web design.  Not only do such
>sites block access by persons with disability, but they probably
>discourage a lot of non-disabled who can't or won't take the time to
>switch browsers just to look at this site.  If they convert their site
>into an accessable one per the WAI guidelines, then browser sniffing
>becomes unnecessary, doesn't it?
>I don't mean to be difficult about this.  It just seems to me that if
>the guidelines are followed, then the problems surrounding browser
>sniffing go away.  And if that is the case, then what more needs to be
>said about it?
>Joe Roeder
>Access Technology Specialist
>National Industries for the Blind
>E-mail:  jroeder@nib.org
>Voice:  (703) 578-6524
>FAX: 	(703) 998-4217
Jon Gunderson, Ph.D., ATP
Coordinator of Assistive Communication and Information Technology
Division of Rehabilitation - Education Services
University of Illinois at Urbana/Champaign
1207 S. Oak Street
Champaign, IL 61820

Voice: 217-244-5870
Fax: 217-333-0248
E-mail: jongund@uiuc.edu
WWW:	http://www.staff.uiuc.edu/~jongund
Received on Wednesday, 1 April 1998 13:28:52 UTC

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