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RE: addition proposal, GL 4.2

From: Jason White <jasonw@ariel.its.unimelb.edu.au>
Date: Thu, 19 May 2005 14:14:29 +1000 (EST)
To: Web Content Accessibility Guidelines <w3c-wai-gl@w3.org>
Message-ID: <Pine.GSO.4.58.0505191359440.13435@ariel.its.unimelb.edu.au>

On Wed, 18 May 2005, Michael Cooper wrote:

> I'm uncomfortable with a proposal to say something about plugins, because the differentiation between "browser" and "plugin" is somewhat a characteristic of the present time which I think will disappear. It's also somewhat HTML-centric since I think most other content types don't render included content via a mechanism that we would consider a plugin. Joe points out that even across operating systems in the present day the situation may vary.
> In my opinion the entire issue is covered by the baseline. When you
> choose a baseline, you assume the user agent is capable of rendering the
> content, by definition. Whether the user agent requires a plugin to do
> so is not our concern. When choosing a baseline intelligently we would
> want to consider widespread availability of user agents capable of
> rendering the content in an accessible manner, but we would not concern
> ourselves with whether those user agents are called "browsers" or
> "plugins".

I agree. Of course the entire idea of "linking to a plug-in" is frought
with difficulties, as what one normally links to would have to be Web
content such as a download site, unless the server can determine the
operating system of the user agent.

> For this reason I don't think this proposed success criterion is
> necessary or desirable, and would proceed with the decision to remove
> 4.2 altogether.

The main case under consideration when this item was discussed was not
that of a plug-in, but that of a transient piece of code that downloads
content and executes in an environment provided by a user agent (e.g., an

 However, if the group feels it is important to adopt
> this success criterion, we would need to generalize it. As a first stab,
> let's try:
> <proposal>
 > A mechanism is available and associated with the content for
> downloading a user agent that renders the content in a manner that
> allows the content to conform to these guidelines.  </proposal>
The issue with applets and such is that they don't qualify as user agents
for purposes of UAAG, the same definition adopted in WCAG 2.0. At best
they are part of the (execution environment of the) user agent.

> Note 1: I see the problem here that I'm saying "provide in your content
> a way to get a user agent that can render the content". That could be
> pretty useless if done badly, e.g., the link to download the Acrobat
> viewer was in the PDF file.
Excellent point.
> Note 2: To underscore, this is a _fallback proposal_. My _actual_
> proposal is to not add this success criterion.

We still need to solve the applet problem, leaving plug-ins and complete
user agents out of it if necessary, though.
Received on Thursday, 19 May 2005 04:14:40 UTC

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