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Resolution of user agent guidelines conformance issue

From: Jon Gunderson <jongund@staff.uiuc.edu>
Date: Thu, 30 Sep 1999 12:37:45 -0700
Message-Id: <4.1.19990930123003.00b24e10@staff.uiuc.edu>
To: w3c-wai-ua@w3.org
The User Agent Guidelines Working Group has tried, without success, to
include a conformance clause in the Guidelines that would be applicable to
three classes of user agents:

1. "Mainstream" user agents (e.g., Internet Explorer, Netscape Navigator,
Opera...).

2. Assistive technologies that provide alternative interfaces to
"mainstream" user agents, 

3. Specialized user agents designed to meet the needs of a particular user
group

Various proposals have been evaluated by the group, but there has been no
consensus in the Working Group about how to create a conformance clause
that effectively includes all three classes.

Two major conclusions emerged from the 29 September teleconference:

1. There was unanimity among those present at the teleconference that a
conformance clause must address "mainstream" user agents. 

2. There was no consensus on the teleconference among those present that a
conformance clause should be designed to allow assistive technologies as a
separate class from "mainstream" user agents (ATs) (e.g., Home Page Reader,
Jaws, etc.) to conform. Many people felt that a conformance clause that
included ATs would be beneficial, but no proposal to date has met with
consensus in the group.

Unless new evidence or proposals are submitted to the Working Group that
would cause the Working Group to re-evaluate this decision, as Chair I
consider that we have reached consensus (with some minority dissention) and
that the issue has been resolved.  The User Agent Guidelines conformance
clause will not distinguish between classes of users agents.

Postscript from the chair:
This is one of the more difficult issues that the group has tried to
resolve and I appreciate all the time and thought people have put into
trying to resolve the conformance and other issues related to the
development of the guidelines.  I hope that the current resolution will
allow the group to move on and focus our attention on the continued
preparation of the guidelines for last call.  I thank each of you for your
contributions to the working group in our efforts to make the guidelines
the best guide in developing accessible user agent technology.

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
Received on Thursday, 30 September 1999 13:33:07 GMT

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