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

Re: Political use of the guidelines

From: Al Gilman <asgilman@access.digex.net>
Date: Mon, 28 Sep 1998 11:38:30 -0400 (EDT)
Message-Id: <199809281538.LAA04943@access1.digex.net>
To: w3c-wai-ua@w3.org
to follow up on what Jon Gunderson said:

> This is not the appopriate list for discussing legal issues
> related to the W3C UA guidelines.  The W3C releases
> recommendations, and does not have any enforcement mechanism to
> legally force any comapny to use it's recommendations.  We want
> use our resouces to focus on improving the accessibility of WWW
> technology and not directing our limited resources trying to
> predict any future political use or non-use of the guidelines
> by any country.  Remmember our group serves on behalf of the
> W3C advisory group.  If they feel the guidelines are being
> politicized, they would probably review our charter.

> The chair and editor,
> Jon

As Scott points out, there are people out there whose job it will
be to write regulations.  The WAI-UA group did not set out to do
their job for them.  On the other hand, a scenario where the
WAI-UA guidelines get picked up and misapplied by people who are
under the gun to write regulations _fast_ seems a plausible risk,
to me.

Either of two outcomes would be an error: if the prospective
regulators viewed the document this group is producing as either

	a) irrelevant to their task
	b) draft public policy ready for adoption and enforcement

that would be an error.

Partly, that is why we have an International Program Office in
the WAI -- to provide the follow-through needed to see that the
results of the technical working groups get appropriately
applied.

Maybe a meta-guideline on the relationship between this technical
work and public policy initiatives would be a help, and maybe we
should ask the IPO to take the lead in developing that?

Al

> 
> 
> 
> At 10:39 PM 9/27/98 -0700, Scott Luebking wrote:
> >Hi,
> >Let me give a little background on why I brought up my suggestion on
> >a statement on inaccessibility in the guidelines.  I'm not sure if the
> >subject has been brought up with other people on this list, but
> >several people have been talking to me about the work the access board
> >will be doing on 508 and technology access.
> >
> >My impression is that Congress has assigned the task of determining what
> >accessible technology means to the access board to reach various objectives
> >of 508.  Since the browser is a key piece of current technology, it is
> >not unreasonable to assume that the access board may have to define what
> >accessible browser/s is/are.
> >
> >What I've been asked on a couple of occassions is whether the guidelines
> >can be used to define parameters of an accessible browser.  My point
> >has been that currently the guidelines are just guidelines but do not
> >necessarily define what an accessible browser is.
> >
> >The question becomes what organization is best qualified to say what is
> >an accessible browser.  I believe that this group is probably more
> >qualified since the technical knowledge is so specialized.  A suggestion
> >I've been toying with for the guidelines is an appendix listing what
> >features should be included when some law/regulation requires that an
> >accessible browser be specified or defined.
> >
> >The issue has some similarity to determining what blind access means in
> >an elevator.  From what I was told, some elevator developer(s) took
> >positions that blind access was not their responsibility or that they
> >should have the right to determine the degree of accessibility since it
> >was going to affect their bottom line.  Also, why do elevators have
> >redundant coding in both raised numbers and braille?  The blind people
> >who prefer raised numbers may have told elevators developers that raised
> >numbers were only needed.  Braille users may have demanded braille or
> >they would not consider  the elevator to be accessible.  Also, there
> >seems to be no provisions in elevators for blind people with neuropathy.
> >
> >Scott
> > 
> 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
> 	http://www.als.uiuc.edu/InfoTechAccess
> 
Received on Monday, 28 September 1998 11:38:31 UTC

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