programatically determineds


Instead of raising my hand yesterday to make the discussion on 
"programatically determined" longer, I have opted to try to put some 
thoughts into email. 

My concerns with tying "sufficient techniques" to actual AT that can 
"find/render" content is the same concern I, and others, had in Dublin 
oh so long ago.  We have no guidelines for AT that we can use to ensure 
interoperability, just as we were concerned back then about putting the 
onus on the content developers to work around User Agent failings.  What 
if AT should "reasonably" be expected to "find/render" a certain kind of 
content, but to date does not -- that shouldn't mean that the content 
developer has not met the requirements.  Again, I think it is extremely 
dangerous to tie compliance to outside technologies, like UA or AT.  
It's not fair to the content developer, and I really don't believe that 
it is within the scope of our job.  Tracking all the changes in AT will 
be burdensome, too.  Pushing AT to "do the right" thing by supporting 
coding that is "reasonable" -- widely accepted/rendered by at least one 
form of UA -- will naturally happen when our guidelines are in place. 

I also agree with Alex that this dependency causes issues for 
testability.  Content developers should not be expected to be experts in 
AT, nor should they be required to test with AT (a skill that is often 
completely outside the scope of content developers' interests and 
abilities, if not native users of AT). 

Lastly, what happens when content developers do what is deemed as 
"sufficient," but then AT competely changes it architecture of support 
-- we saw this with JAWS and Java Applets, where content developers 
needed to go back and completely change the way they had developed their 
applications.  Again, I think we should be determining what is 
sufficient based on "reasonable" implementations of current technology, 
regardless of AT support.  It's not fair to chain content developers to 
either UA or AT.  As we said in Dublin.

This also brings up the question about AT Accessibility Guidelines -- if 
we are to measure something against AT, we would want something 
comparable to UAAG, where we can say, "content developers do this, based 
on UA doing this, if UA is coded to meet UAAG."  If UA is not coded to 
meet UAAG, the content developer should not have to contort themselves 
to accomodate -- instead, we should be working to get all UAs to comply 
with UAAG. I would love to see the same be true for AT -- we should have 
AT Guidelines that then allow us to talk, in real terms, about 

As it stands, "sufficient" being deemed by what AT currently does today, 
is not, in my opinion, at all reasonable, and binds the content 
developer to an ever-changing set of technologies, which should not be 
their responsibility.  We are going backwards in trying to put all the 
responsibility on the folks trying to meet WCAG, which I think is 
outside the scope of our work.


Received on Friday, 6 January 2006 18:23:56 UTC