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DRAFT Executive Summary

From: Hansen, Eric <ehansen@ets.org>
Date: Wed, 14 Mar 2001 22:47:27 -0500
To: "UA List (E-mail)" <w3c-wai-ua@w3.org>, "Ian Jacobs (E-mail)" <ijacobs@w3.org>, "Jon Gunderson (E-mail)" <jongund@ux1.cso.uiuc.edu>
Message-id: <B49B36B1086DD41187DC000077893CFB8B4925@rosnt46.ets.org>
Here is my draft of an executive summary. Comments are welcome!

Executive Summary

This document provides guidelines for designing user agents that lower
barriers to Web accessibility for people with disabilities (visual, hearing,
physical, and cognitive). User agents include HTML browsers and other types
of software that retrieve and render Web content. A user agent that conforms
to these guidelines will promote accessibility through its own user
interface and through other internal facilities, including its ability to
communicate with other technologies (especially assistive technologies). By
following these guidelines, developers will create more usable software for
all Web users.  A user agent that conforms to these guidelines will enable
access through its own user interface and through other internal facilities,
including its ability to communicate with other technologies (especially
assistive technologies).
 
The document is organized into six sections (1) introduction, (2) the
guidelines, (3) conformance, (4) glossary, (5) references, and (6)
acknowledgements. The first three section deserve particular attention:

Section 1 - 'Introduction'. This section places the UAAG document in context
and explains its purpose, known limitations, and relationships to other
documents. Note that the document is targeted at 'mainstream user agents'
that that a 'conforming user agent' may consist of several components:

"This document was designed specifically to improve the accessibility of
mainstream user agents with multimedia capabilities for users with one or
more disabilities (including visual, hearing, physical, and cognitive). In
this context, a mainstream user agent is one designed for the general public
to handle general-purpose content in ordinary operating conditions. It is
expected that a conforming user agent will typically consist of a Web
browser, one or more media players, and possibly other components" (section
1.2).

Section 2 - 'The user agent accessibility guidelines'. This is the largest
section and contains the XX [tell number] requirements of the document,
which are called 'checkpoints'. Each checkpoint has one of three 'priority'
levels (1, 2, and 3), with adherence to Priority 1 being essential for
achieving the most basic level of accessibility. The checkpoints are
organized under 12 'guidelines', each of which expresses a key concept for
accessibility of user agents:
 
		1. Support input and output device-independence. 
		2. Ensure user access to all content. 
		3. Allow configuration not to render some content that may
reduce accessibility. 
		4. Ensure user control of rendering. 
		5. Ensure user control of user interface behavior. 
		6. Implement standard application programming interfaces. 
		7. Observe operating environment conventions. 
		8. Implement specifications that benefit accessibility. 
		9. Provide navigation mechanisms.
		10. Orient the user. 
		11. Allow configuration and customization. 
		12. Provide accessible product documentation and help. 

Section 3 -  Conformance. This section is critical because it tells how to
make a valid conformance claim. The basic conformance framework is that a
conformance claim must indicate one of three conformance levels: 

	*	Conformance Level "A": meets the requirements of all
Priority 1 checkpoints. 
	*	Conformance Level "Double-A": meets the requirements of all
Priority 1 and 2 checkpoints. 
	*	Conformance Level "Triple-A": meets the requirements of all
Priority 1, 2, and 3 checkpoints.
[EH: NOTE THE EDIT. Added the word 'meets' above.]

For example, if a user agent meets the requirements of all Priority 1 and 2
checkpoints, then it would be appropriate to claim 'Double-A' conformance. 

This document allows a certain amount of flexibility in the features a user
agent must support in order to conform. For example, some user agents may
conform even though they do not support certain content types (such as video
or audio) or input modalities (such as mouse or voice).

A conformance claim is valid if (a) it is 'well-formed' (by expressing the
necessary information a proper format) and (b) it is verified that the user
agent satisfies all requirements not exempted from the claim by the
allowable mechanisms (i.e., conformance levels, content type labels, input
modality labels, and applicability). It is not currently possible to
validate a conformance claim entirely automatically.
Received on Wednesday, 14 March 2001 22:48:04 GMT

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