W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > w3c-wai-ig@w3.org > April to June 1999

Re: Are we there yet on 10.3 word wrapped columns of text?

From: Steven McCaffrey <SMCCAFFR@MAIL.NYSED.GOV>
Date: Thu, 22 Apr 1999 14:05:50 -0400
Message-Id: <s71f2ce3.037@MAIL.NYSED.GOV>
To: webwatch@telelists.com, pjenkins@us.ibm.com, w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
First, I should say that the idea of gathering empirical data is a good one.  
What if we were to ask the opposite question:  
"Can you send me
complete list of hardware, operating system, browser, and/or assistive
technology configurations where access to word-wrapped columns of text is
*not* a problem?"

Can you provide empirical evidence, perhaps through a survey on a page that contains this kind of layout which asks the visitors to say what browser/assistive technology they use?
It's  a question of where the burden of proof lies, isn't it?
I am only echoing views such as the any browser campaign which is in response to those sites that say things like
"Your browser is not... (pick your favorite, e.g. frame capable)".
What next?  Something like "Your screen reader does not have the serialization feature, come back when you have one"  The important point is the principle, not the specific element giving difficulty at the present moment.  For example, what about Power Point slides?
In other wordss, how will you respond to someone who does not find a particular element,, one that exists now or some future element, accessible?  Will you just say,
"Well, i'm sorry, but I had no positive evidence that your configuration would find this part of my site inaccessible.  It's not on my list, and I asked for one and got no response."
The WAI guidelines cover all this by simply reminding all web designers that it is importatn to *consider* the *possibility* that *some* visitors to your site may find *certain* elements accessible and here is what to do to minimize this from happenning.  They are even broken down into priorities, in part to consider two separate but interacting spectrums:
1. The distinction between quantifiers (i.e. "All", "most", "at least one" or "some") users, and
2. The level of difficulty (i.e impossible, difficult,...)
Available Technologies
I just don't understand the distinction between "latest" and "available".  Earlier versions of user agents (i.e. not the latest) were (and still are) available but did not have this ability.  It's really very simple: Are we going to assume everyone has the latest technologies or are we going to consider that, without positive evidence available to us at present,  some may not?

If we are talking passed each other, maybe we could help each other off list?  I think your overall idea of getting data, Phill, is good.  I just want to be sure that before the data is in, we do not assume everyone happens to have the (available/latest, perhaps I should just say "effective", technology.  Yes?
-With respect,

Steven McCaffrey
Information Technology Services

>>> <pjenkins@us.ibm.com> 04/22 10:36 AM >>>

Steve wrote:
>The existence of such newer technologies is not the only issue.  The other
equally important >question is how many people actually own/use the newer
technologies.  I would hope that >access to information will not become
dependent upon having the latest technologies.  Even if >*all* of the most
recent versions of user agents have a specific feature allowing access to
>specific elements of a web page, the overall principle of ensuring access
to those of us who >might not have the newer technologies cannot be over
emphasized.  The WAI thus far has >reflected this in the guidelines and I
trust will continue to do so.

I am not - repeat - not advocating for accessibility to be dependent on the
"latest technologies".  I am advocating for accessibility to be dependent
on *available* technologies.  Hence my question asking for data or
configurations where access to word-wrapped columns is still a problem.  My
definition of the word "available" includes" on the hardware platform
currently in use" - so as not to incur the cost of upgrading the hardware.
My definition of available also includes, it *is* available if I just need
to upgrade freely to the next version of the software.

Again, please send me hardware, operating system, browser, and/or assistive
technology configurations where access to word-wrapped columns of text is
still a problem.

Phill Jenkins
Received on Thursday, 22 April 1999 14:08:31 UTC

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.3.1 : Tuesday, 13 October 2015 16:21:04 UTC