RE: Conversational / Natural Language Interfaces / Interactive agent accessibility wiki update

Thank you, Josh, for maintaining the wiki page. It also seems to me that, like other RQTF work, this effort should be well grounded in current or at least anticipated W3C specification development.
Aside from the Community Group reports published in 2019 and the older work on VoiceXML, there doesn't appear to be much current W3C activity in the area of natural language interfaces. A related workshop has been proposed, but I'm not acquainted with its current state of development. A further potential destination for natural language interface guidance is of course WCAG 3.x, but it should be borne in mind that the scope of WCAG 3 is confined to the application of Web technologies.
If new technical specifications related to natural language interfaces are to be developed by the W3C, then these will help to characterize the scope of the relevant accessibility requirement analysis.
If this does not happen, then it seems to me that WCAG 3 will characterize the scope.
In either case, it's entirely possible that the software running on the "smart speakers" and other consumer devices currently available will remain outside the scope of W3C work, unless their respective developers decide that the creation of interoperable Web standards and APIs for application construction is in their interests - which they haven't deemed it to be up to this point.
To be clear, I'm not advocating this position; rather, I am suggesting that it may well be the situation in which we find ourselves. I think much depends on the strength of the mutual interest in creating open standards.
In contrast, some of the educational applications that I've described are firmly founded on Web technologies such as VoiceXML, and thus would be an easier fit for W3C guidance, as would, arguably, the IVR applications based on VoiceXML.
One way of defining the scope of potential work is to consider how its deliverables would fit into the larger W3C scene. At this point (in the absence of clear commitments surrounding specification of new natural language-based interface technologies by the W3C), it seems to me we don't know for sure how it fits. Nevertheless, it may be possible to pursue the topic further by identifying user needs and associated requirements for natural language interfaces independently of knowing which applications are likely to benefit and in what the future of relevant standards consists. That is, we may still be able to carry out useful work before we find out what future specifications are likely to be influenced by it.

-----Original Message-----
From: Joshue O'Connor <>
Sent: Tuesday, 2 March 2021 9:55
To: White, Jason J <>
Cc: RQTF <>; Shadi Abou-Zahra <>
Subject: Re: Conversational / Natural Language Interfaces / Interactive agent accessibility wiki update

Hi Jason,

I think when we have worked out the scope, and therefore the naming convention - I will change the name at that point.
I've added your new input on the 'advantages' of Natural Language Processing to the relevant section on the wiki as well as the links to those community groups reports.

Thanks for that.

Emerging Web Technology Specialist/Accessibility (WAI/W3C)


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Received on Tuesday, 2 March 2021 16:16:42 UTC