W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > w3c-wai-ua@w3.org > July to September 1998

RE: A few thoughts on alternative rendering

From: Charles (Chuck) Oppermann <chuckop@MICROSOFT.com>
Date: Fri, 25 Sep 1998 13:11:29 -0700
Message-ID: <D70342829C12D2119D0700805FBECA2F03A32702@RED-MSG-55>
To: Scott Luebking <phoenixl@netcom.com>, w3c-wai-ua@w3.org
While I agree with Scott on his points, making a "universal browser" is
exceedingly difficult.  In cases of specialized rendering, such as voice
output to replace the visual display, that is something I do not believe
should be in the browser and here is why:

1) Design - Microsoft could not do a good job of designing a audio UI for
blind folks and then maintain it moving forward.  The area of expertise is
narrow.  General voice output, such as Aural Style Sheets is one thing -
designing a Speech UI is another.  Trust me, I know.

2) Performance - HTML is used everywhere throughout the operating system.
The rendering object can be loaded in many, many places.  Carrying around
code that is only useful to a small segment of the total users is wasteful
for everyone.  In this age of bloat-ware, a popular feature of Opera is it's
speed and small size.

3) Testing - Specialized rendered requires specialized testing, which the
major companies are not equipped to deal with.

Now, that's not to say that I don't agree that the browser should provide as
much as possible in the way of alternate rendering and/or accessibility
features.  Microsoft has proven for several years that we are willing to add
features to our browser to make it better for everyone.  We will continue to
do that and work with the ISVs to figure out the division between what we
can do, verses what the aid can do.  In many cases, the ISVs feel they can
do it better than us and that's a good thing.

Finally, I shudder at this comment:

<<
An idea that came to mind is to include a statement in the guidelines
that browsers which do not include the specified alternative formats can
be considered to be inaccessible for many blind users.  This statement
could be used in a number of ways, e.g. legal action, 508, etc.
>>

Please remember, that this document is a recommendation.  If it were to be
used as any sort of a legal statement, we would have to reevaluate our
participation in the process.

Furthermore, I reject the argument that if a browser doesn't conform to the
guidelines that it should be "considered to be inaccessible for many blind
users."  Many users and several ISVs will tell you that Internet Explorer is
highly accessible by blind users and at the current time, we only conform to
most of the Priority 1 guidelines.

Charles Oppermann
Program Manager, Active Accessibility, Microsoft Corporation
mailto:chuckop@microsoft.com http://microsoft.com/enable/
"A computer on every desk and in every home, usable by everyone!"

-----Original Message-----
From: Scott Luebking [mailto:phoenixl@netcom.com]
Sent: Friday, September 25, 1998 12:00 PM
To: w3c-wai-ua@w3.org
Subject: A few thoughts on alternative rendering


Hi,
I've been thinking about the issue of where the alternative rendering of
the information is best handled.  In general, I believe for a number of
reasons that providing choices of alternative rendering via the browsers
is preferable for many blind users.

One reason is that blind users can change access technology without
needing to learn new ways that the information is going to be presented.
This means that a user has some more freedom to switch among acess
technology.

Having the browser provide alternative renderings reduces the problems
which can crop up when a blind person in the workplace or at school
needs to use the organization-chosen browser that is not well supported
by access technology.

More of the burden is on browser developers rather than access
technology developers.  My suspicion is that it is probably easier for
browser developers to "tweak" their software for alternative renderings
rather than teaching access technology about web pages because the
alternative renderings that are being asked are not that significant in
terms of complexity.

Having the browser handle alternative presentations avoids the lag
between versions of access technology handling changes to browser.

A browser providing alternative renderings does not prevent some access
technology from providing additional renderings if some specialize
segment needs them.



I'm not clear that there are very many reasons why alternative rendering
should not be done in browsers.

The first reason is that browser developers may not understand or seek
out what blind users need.

The second reason is why would browser developers go through any effort
to have their browser provide alternative arrangements?


An idea that came to mind is to include a statement in the guidelines
that browsers which do not include the specified alternative formats can
be considered to be inaccessible for many blind users.  This statement
could be used in a number of ways, e.g. legal action, 508, etc.

Scott
Received on Friday, 25 September 1998 16:11:45 UTC

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.3.1 : Friday, 13 July 2018 11:53:07 UTC