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RE: Issues about UA Guidelines raised during MAC IE evaluation

From: Al Gilman <asgilman@iamdigex.net>
Date: Sat, 15 Jul 2000 00:34:01 -0400
Message-Id: <200007150433.AAA1999273@smtp1.mail.iamworld.net>
To: <w3c-wai-ua@w3.org>, <tantek@cs.stanford.edu>
>-----Original Message-----
>Ian Jacobs
>Sent: Friday, July 14, 2000 9:56 AM

>Subject: Issues about UA Guidelines raised during MAC IE evaluation
>Issue 3) Repair functionalities required?
>   Question: The UA Guidelines requires conformance to specifications.
>   it also requires in checkpoint 2.5 a repair functionality that is not
>   of conformance to a specification:
>      2.5 For non-text content that has no recognized text equivalent,
>      generate a text equivalent from other author-supplied content.
>      If the non-text content is included by URI reference, base the
>      text equivalent on the URI reference and the content type of
>      the resource.
>   This document is asking the UA to repair broken markup, but the HTML
>   specification doesn't require this. Although I doubt that there's
>   much of an interoperability issue here, the question is pertinent:
>   if we ask UAs to do things but don't provide a standard for doing
>   so, we threaten interoperability.
>   So the question is: should we require this repair functionality?
>   What do we tell browser developers who ask "Where does it say in
>   the markup language specification how to do this?"


I myself would not let the browser vendors hide behind the specification as
far as error recovery is concerned.  It is reasonable for the users to
expect the browser to handle more errors and handle them more gracefully
than just what is specified in the format specification.  

I have always felt that the UAAG had a right/duty to define the
HTML-processing behavior required for cross-disability usability.  And to
go beyond what is provided in the HTML specification where necessary to
define this.  We have an obligation not to override what the specification
_does specify_ without good reason; but where the HTML spec _fails to
specify_ things, such as behavior for out-of-spec pages, it is entirely up
to the UAAG to decide what is appropriate and required.

Yes, we have to be careful to only ask for what is important.  On the other
hand, the principle being raised in this issue is a bad principle.  If web
browsers hadn't performed lots of error recovery that makes life easy for
authors and nominally-abled users, we wouldn't have the immensely popular
web we have today.  'Repair' was part and parcel of making the Web a game
all could play.  So asking for a few well-selected repairs that help people
with disabilities where they need help should be fair game.  It is not
undue burden or anything at all out of the ordinary.

Received on Saturday, 15 July 2000 00:30:34 UTC

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