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Re: Proposal for conformance categories

From: Charles McCathieNevile <charles@w3.org>
Date: Wed, 29 Sep 1999 11:55:43 -0400 (EDT)
To: Jon Gunderson <jongund@staff.uiuc.edu>
cc: WAI UA group <w3c-wai-ua@w3.org>
Message-ID: <Pine.LNX.4.10.9909291126580.15979-100000@tux.w3.org>
The dificulty is that if I do speech, keyboard, mouse, and graphics, is it OK
to do speech and keyboard in an accessible way, but not graphics and mouse,
and furthermore not to provide any way for an assistive technology to be used
to improve the accessibility of the graphics and mouse bit that I do.

It seems to me that without device independence (and we allow a fair amount
of this to be achieved through APIs rather than natively in the current
draft) and exporting information to assitive technologies there is the
possibility for produing a good tool for a particular market group.

Consider for a moment the EIAD browser, which is designed for people with
brain injuries or cognitive disabilities (as I understand it). This relies on
a touch screen interface. However a number of people with acquired brain
injuries also suffer sever mobility impairments, and may need an assistive
technology to use the interface (perhaps a foot-driven mouse, or a head
switch), and therefore the tool. If this is not possible then is the tool
accessible, or just a useful tool for a particular market niche?

In the same way, a tool which is designed for the group of web users who are
interested in a largely graphic, primarily point and click interface with the
use of the keyboard for some advance functions may or may not export
interfaces. While Internet explorer matches that definition, it is a rough
attempt at summarising the needs of a large number of deaf users, as well as
perhaps a small majority of web users in general.

I think there is a big problem with saying that a brwser which meets the
needs of 80% of the people, incluing a significant disability community, does
not conform, while one which meets the needs of 8% of the people including a
significant disability community does, unless we define conformance in terms
of specific sets of needs - blindness, low vision, hard of hearing, mobility
impairment plus blindness, hard of hearing, low vision and cognitive
impairment, ... The difficulty with that approach is the sheer number of
individual needs sets that must be catered for. The impact matrix is a tool
that could be used to make those various subsets clear, but defining
overall conformance on the basis of conformance to a subset means that there
is no reason why a "desktop graphical user agent" can't simply count up the
number of subsets it matches and say "we conform to more subsets than anyone
else, and therefore we have done more than is required..."

Charles McCN

On Wed, 29 Sep 1999, Jon Gunderson wrote:

  I think that the labels we use for the conformance categories need to be
  clear and much our problem I thnk center on not having clear labels with
  the conformance issue.  The current labels ("inter-operable and
  non-interoperable) in Ian's proposal do not mean anything to anybody
  outside our working group and therefore people are worried that they will
  be miss used (I agree with that concenr).  The current categoies used in
  our document are not also not entirely clear (Desktop Graphical User Agent
  and Dependent User Agent).  The conformance categories should be clear to
  our intended audiences.  I propose that we use terminology similar to:
  
  Category 1: Desktop Graphical User Agent
  Category 2: Non-Graphical Assistive Technology User Agent
  
  I think these categories are clear in their meaning and who is intended to
  conform to them.  I think the main difference between the two is the issue
  of using accessibility APIs and exporting internal document representations
  to assistive technologies.  DGUA need to do this.  The other issue on the
  bubble between the two is device indepdendence.  It is clear that we want
  it for DGUA. 
  
  These are the two categories of user agents we know about right now and
  want to provide solutions.
  
  In general the checkpints should ask people to do whta ever they do in an
  accessible way.  If I do graphics, keyboard and mouse: I should do it in an
  accessible way.  If I do speech and keyboard, I do it in an acessible way.
  
  I think claiming conformance is an issue WAI as a whole needs to deal with
  and I will bring it up to Judy Brewer as a issue for the coordination group.
  
  Jon
  
  
  
  Jon Gunderson, Ph.D., ATP
  Coordinator of Assistive Communication and Information Technology
  Chair, W3C WAI User Agent Working Group
  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.w3.org/wai/ua
  		http://www.als.uiuc.edu/InfoTechAccess
  

--Charles McCathieNevile            mailto:charles@w3.org
phone: +1 617 258 0992   http://www.w3.org/People/Charles
W3C Web Accessibility Initiative    http://www.w3.org/WAI
MIT/LCS  -  545 Technology sq., Cambridge MA, 02139,  USA
Received on Wednesday, 29 September 1999 11:55:47 UTC

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