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'legal requirement' as justification for 'particular presentation' misses 'leading Web to highest' mark

From: Al Gilman <Alfred.S.Gilman@IEEE.org>
Date: Tue, 2 Mar 2004 04:08:32 -0500
Message-Id: <p06020400bc69c1d53dfe@[]>
To: public-webarch-comments@w3.org

Where it says:

<quote cite=

Application context may require a very specific display (for a legally-binding transaction, for example).


The reader is left with the impression that "obviously, the legal requirement justifies the actual practice.  It constitutes an overriding concern."

This is not necessarily the case.  Please don't reinforce misconceptions.  Particular if they have consequences that reduce the universality of access to web mediated transactions.

Claimed appliation requirements for an overly-constrained presentation are often spurious once you look into the actual situation.  Legally binding transactions are an example worth questioning.  So this is a bad example to include here as though it should be accepted without question.

Requiring inaccessible paper records for legal transactions is a business-practice standard for legal activities at present in certain jurisdictions.  But it fails to deliver 'equal protection under the law' for
people with visual disabilities.  And it fails to make the highest and best
use of digital information technologies to serve human need with computational

The higher and better practice would be to accept and encourage the use of model-view-controller adaptation of the transaction instruments along the lines of the practices that motivate the development of XForms and the work products of the Device Independence Activity.

This would not only provide more equal protection to those with visual disabilities, it would provide superior evidence that all parties to a transaction understood what they were agreeing to, for all uses of such

So don't hang an argument in the web architecture on an incumbent, recognizably obsolescent, standard for legal transactions that happens to be required at times today.  There are better ways to explain that yes, we do wish to give
authors the capability to create effective presentations optimized for this or that delivery context.  Under the correct conditions of use, this is all value added to the web-mediated communication channel.  And the Web representation of the information that bears on the deal can still be adaptable under user control and meet the actual functional needs of effective digitally-mediated legal transactions.

The functional requirement for legal transaction instruments is that there be effective records that give evidence that all parties agreed to the same thing, and that they each had ample opportunity to understand what they were agreeing to.  This doesn't have to require a particular presentation.

The functional requirement for legal notices is that some concepts be communicated.  This doesn't have to require a particular presentation, in the highest and best use of digital information technology.

I realize that the review process for the SVG Recommendation does not set a binding precedent for the Architecture Document, please note that this has been a firm and consistent position from the WAI since at least the development of SVG, see for example


Received on Tuesday, 2 March 2004 04:13:27 UTC

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