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Re: [Editorial] Adopt Section 508 definition of "assistive technology"?

From: David Poehlman <poehlman1@home.com>
Date: Wed, 28 Mar 2001 19:02:50 -0500
Message-ID: <018c01c0b7e3$98e0c360$2cf60141@mtgmry1.md.home.com>
To: "Ian Jacobs" <ij@w3.org>, <w3c-wai-ua@w3.org>
I will be satisfied if we make no changes to this document in this

----- Original Message -----
From: "Ian Jacobs" <ij@w3.org>
To: <w3c-wai-ua@w3.org>
Sent: Wednesday, March 28, 2001 7:16 PM
Subject: [Editorial] Adopt Section 508 definition of "assistive


The WCAG WG suggested [0] that UAAG 1.0 adopt the definition
of "assistive technology" used in US Federal regulations.
The following definition appears in Section 508 final rule [1]:

  "Assistive technology.

  Any item, piece of equipment, or system, whether acquired
  commercially, modified, or customized, that is commonly
  used to increase, maintain, or improve functional capabilities
  of individuals with disabilities."

Compare to our definition in the 23 March draft [2]:

In the context of this document, an assistive technology is a
user agent that:

  1.relies on services (such as retrieving Web resources, parsing
  markup, etc.) provided by one or more other "host" user
  agents. Assistive technologies communicate data and messages
  with host user agents by using and monitoring APIs.

  2.provides services beyond those offered by the host user
  agents to meet the requirements of a users with
  disabilities. Additional services include alternative
  renderings (e.g., as synthesized speech or magnified content),
  alternative input methods (e.g., voice), additional navigation
  or orientation mechanisms, content transformations (e.g., to
  make tables more accessible), etc.

For example, screen reader software is an assistive technology
because it relies on browsers or other software to enable Web
access, particularly for people with visual and learning

Examples of assistive technologies that are important in the
context of this document include the following:

 1. screen magnifiers, which are used by people with visual
 disabilities to enlarge and change colors on the screen to
 improve the visual readability of rendered text and images.

 2. screen readers, which are used by people who are blind or
 have reading disabilities to read textual information through
 synthesized speech or braille displays.

 3. speech recognition software, which may be used by people who
 have some physical disabilities. alternative keyboards, which
 are used by people with certain physical disabilities to
 simulate the keyboard.

 4. alternative pointing devices, which are used by people with
 certain physical disabilities to simulate mouse pointing and
 button activations.

Beyond this document, assistive technologies consist of software
or hardware that has been specifically designed to assist people
with disabilities in carrying out daily activities, e.g.,
wheelchairs, reading machines, devices for grasping, text
telephones, vibrating pagers, etc.

What if we combine the two? Start with the Section 508 definition
(and quote section 508), then "transition" into the specific
idea of assistive technology as used in this document?

Note: I will be satisfied if we make no changes to the document.

 - Ian

[0] http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/w3c-wai-ua/2000OctDec/0365.html
[1] http://www.access-board.gov/sec508/508standards.htm
[2] http://www.w3.org/WAI/UA/WD-UAAG10-20010323/
Ian Jacobs (jacobs@w3.org)   http://www.w3.org/People/Jacobs
Tel:                         +1 831 457-2842
Cell:                        +1 917 450-8783
Received on Wednesday, 28 March 2001 19:28:51 UTC

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