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Re: Issues: Part 3 - #44 and #45

From: Ian Jacobs <ij@w3.org>
Date: Wed, 24 Nov 1999 00:24:11 -0500
Message-ID: <383B767B.6FD8AF98@w3.org>
To: ehansen@ets.org
CC: w3c-wai-ua@w3.org
ehansen@ets.org wrote:

Hi again Eric!

> Issue #44. Document must give greater emphasis to the differential
> applicability of the guidelines to various classes of user agent,
> especially assistive technologies.

Refer to Jon Gunderson's comments on WG consensus on this issue.

[1] http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/w3c-wai-ua/1999OctDec/0385.html
> In addition to providing a new issue, this follows up on Issue #1 (re:
> Abstract) and Issue #5 (re: "natively").
> Readers of the UAAG document need greater clues as to the scope of the
> document -- especially, what kinds of user agents to which the document is
> most applicable, especially with regard to assistive technologies.
> The following revisions also attempt to clarify the relationship between
> user agents and assistive technologies.

[snip. some text updated by you in later email.]

> 1.6 Applicability {This section is mostly new.}
> User agents must satisfy all the _applicable checkpoints_ {extend link to
> include "checkpoints"} for a chosen conformance level. {NOTE. I DELETED THE
> guideline is applicable to every user agent. Generally, a user agent must
> adhere to checkpoints that ensure accessibility of functionalities that it
> offers to users, but is generally not required to address checkpoints that
> address the accessibility of functionalities that it does not provide. This
> means that for user agents such as graphical Web browsers which are
> general-purpose user agents for accessing the virtually all Web content, a
> greater portion of the checkpoints will be applicable. On the other hand,
> applications or utilities with a much narrower range of functionality will
> tend to have a smaller set of applicable checkpoints. Many of the user
> agents that are also classified as "assistive technologies" (which are
> specifically designed for people with disabilities), often have a narrow
> range of functionality and hence may a smaller set of applicable
> checkpoints. See the definition of "Applicable checkpoint" in the appendix
> ("Terms and Definitions") for greater detail."
> {Note. If necessary, this section could bring in more material from "Terms
> and Definitions -- Applicable checkpoint" if necessary.}

Information about applicability used to be in the Introduction.
Refer, for example, to 31 March draft [2]. Some time around there
(I could find it in minutes but it's late...) the WG decided
to move the terms to the glossary.

[2] http://www.w3.org/TR/1999/WAI-USERAGENT-19990331/
> 1.6 Conformance
> Developers of user agents may claim any of three levels of conformance to
> this document.
> {Note that I have newly inserted the word "applicable" into the definition
> of each of the conformance levels.}
> Conformance Level "A": all applicable Priority 1 checkpoints are satisfied
> Conformance Level "Double-A": all applicable Priority 1 and 2 checkpoints
> are satisfied
> Conformance Level "Triple-A": all applicable Priority 1, 2, and 3
> checkpoints are satisfied
> Note. Conformance levels are spelled out in text ("Double-A" instead of
> "AA") so they may be understood when rendered as speech.
> Claims of conformance to this document must use one of the following two
> forms.
> [etc., etc.]
> {End of New}

Would it be interesting to move the term "applicable" to the
definition of "satisfy"? Or would that be too obscure in the
Priority definition?
> Issue #45. Some attention needs to be given to additional situations in
> which the UA document is not applicable.
> I wonder if there are some unexpected implications of the guidelines. For
> example, "Web authoring tools" could be considered "user agents". Do the UA
> guidelines place any additional burden upon developers of Web authoring
> tools?

No, but the Authoring Tool Guidelines do.
> I have some small concern here about whether the applicability rules are
> robust enough to avoid unnecessary burdens on developers of assistive
> technologies. Will the UA guidelines require the developers of pwWebSpeak,
> a non-graphical [at least the last time I looked] self-voicing Web browser
> be required to provide a lot more capabilities for presenting graphical
> material.  Probably not, but it might be good to ask people who develop
> different kinds of assistive technologies (screen readers, special access
> devices, etc.) how well they stack up against the UA document and whether
> they see the UA guidelines as an unnecessary burden.

In part I think your concern is resolved by the WG's decision not
to focus on conformance by assistive technologies (at lease for version
> Will developers of utilities for individuals who are deaf-blind be required
> to interface to multimedia-capable user agents?
> Will manufacturers of new handheld Web appliances, especially some that may
> be built for individuals with disabilities, be required to provide
> capabilities that are burdensome?
> Will wheelchair will classified as a user agent if it allows a person to
> sit in front of a computer. Are there any checkpoints applicable to
> wheelchairs?
> These are concerns that may be unfounded. Once you try to have the document
> cover every possible case or exception, you may start down a slippery slope
> that you might not climb out of.
> Yet if we have concerns, then perhaps would should do as the U.S Congress
> does: When it passes a law, it often exempts itself (the House and Senate)
> from compliance to the law <grin>.
> Seriously, if developers of assistive technologies have serious concerns
> about this, then perhaps somewhere there needs to be statement like the
> following.
> "Note. Certain exceptions to the requirements of this document may be
> granted to user agents that are specifically targeted at users with
> disabilities, especially very low-incidence disabilities."

I don't think this Note works, in part because there is no agency
that grants dispensation. 
> Another possible exception might be certain educational applications (which
> obscure and hide information for instructional and testing purposes).
> Probably not necessary to cite as an exception.
> Perhaps these concerns are unfounded. Opinions are welcomed.

I do not want to dismiss your concerns as unfounded. However, I think
we've narrowed the scope of the Guidelines to move forward  and
therefore have not tried to include every type of user agent as
potential conformant software. Does this narrowing of scope alleviate
some of your concerns?

 - Ian

Ian Jacobs (jacobs@w3.org)   http://www.w3.org/People/Jacobs
Tel/Fax:                     +1 212 684-1814
Cell:                        +1 917 450-8783
Received on Wednesday, 24 November 1999 00:23:44 UTC

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