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Proposals related to important link information (8.6, 8.7)

From: Ian Jacobs <ij@w3.org>
Date: Mon, 17 Jul 2000 16:59:47 -0400
Message-ID: <397373C3.9404FCCC@w3.org>
To: w3c-wai-ua@w3.org

Checkpoint 8.7 in the 7 July 2000 UA Guidelines [1] reads:

   8.7 Allow the user to configure and control which link information 
       required by checkpoint 8.6 to present. [Priority 3] 

This checkpoint (which has always been vague) made more sense
when the amount of information the user might receive to help
him or her decide whether to follow a link was potentially large.
However, we have succeeded in making 8.6 very specific so that
so that it now requires only 7 pieces of information:

   8.6 To help the user decide whether to follow a link, make 
       available to the user the following information: link
       content, link title, whether the link is internal, whether 
       the link has been followed, whether following it may
       involve a fee, and information about the type, size, and natural 
       language of the linked resource. [Priority 3] 
            Note: User agents are not required to retrieve the 
              resource designated by a link as part of computing
              information about the link. 


In light of the new scope of checkpoint 8.6, I propose that we
DELETE checkpoint 8.7. The difference between seven pieces of 
information and three, for example, is not very significant. 
I believe that configuration in this case will no longer be 
helpful and may complicate the user interface.


I think we should make the following changes to checkpoint 8.6:

a) Delete resource size requirement. This information may be provided by
   an HTTP Content-Length entity-header field (HTTP 1.1 [2], section
   This means that the UA must sent an HTTP request to the server, and I 
   understood our Note after the checkpoint to mean that a UA would not 
   have to send such requests.

b) Clarify the definition of "followed link". For instance:
   b.i) A link may be considered followed (i.e., a resource has already
        been visited) for a finite period. The user should
        be able to configure this period. I don't think configuration of
        period should be a UA requirement.

   b.ii) The UA establishes the scope for "visited". Thus, a user may
tell the 
         UA to consider links not visited even if the user has in fact
         them (i.e., "pretend as though I've never followed any links").

c) Clarify that in some cases, information may be hints provided by the
   author. For instance, content type and content language may be
specified in 
   HTML by certain attributes (e.g., "type" and "hreflang") but these
are just
   hints to the UA. The definitive information comes from the HTTP
   Since I believe our goal was to make author-specified information
available to
   the user, the UA should only be required to make available the hints,
   the actual content type or language.


[1] http://www.w3.org/WAI/UA/WD-UAAG10-20000707/
[2] ftp://ftp.isi.edu/in-notes/rfc2616.txt

Ian Jacobs (jacobs@w3.org)   http://www.w3.org/People/Jacobs
Tel:                         +1 831 457-2842
Cell:                        +1 917 450-8783
Received on Monday, 17 July 2000 16:59:47 UTC

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