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RE: Are Accessibility Standards Impeding Progress on the Web?

From: Jon Hanna <jon@spin.ie>
Date: Fri, 23 Aug 2002 14:52:07 +0100
To: "WAI \(E-mail\)" <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>

> In my opinion, I don't think that it's a problem to have a requirement of
> Javascript being enabled in a closed environment.  But, again, the problem
> you'll run into are archaic situations where clients in the same system
> might have different, non-DOM, base browsers.

It's not uncommon for closed environments (in other words Intranets, and to
a lesser extent some extranets) to mandate a particular browser with any
accessibility needs not catered by those browsers being catered something
running on top of that browser (e.g. everyone uses IE and those who need
screen-readers use Jaws with IE etc.).

In such cases the developer may be able to rely on cookies, document.write,
and some other javascript uses, a particular DOM, etc.
What's more they can test those technologies that they are unsure about with
the very people they may cause problems for. For that matter they may even
find it best to custom-write software which could reduce some of the
problems even more (custom XML over HTTP is still "web" and therefore still
on-topic, but the issues are very different to what we normally discuss
here - in some ways for the better and in some ways for the worse).

There are other closed environments that won't have this same situation
though, and where everyone uses a different browser and different enabling
technology. Again though I wouldn't blame the problems this poses developers
on accessibility standards; the problems come from the distributed and
ad-hoc nature of the web. This ad-hoc nature is how it was able to evolve so
quickly in just over a decade, but it does bring about issues for developers
to deal with. Accessibility standards are a tool for dealing with these
problems, not their source.
Received on Friday, 23 August 2002 09:50:15 UTC

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