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Re: JavaScript and Accessibility

From: David Poehlman <poehlman1@comcast.net>
Date: Thu, 12 Jun 2003 08:58:23 -0400
To: Jesper Tverskov <jesper.tverskov@mail.tele.dk>, w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
Message-id: <004501c330e2$4fd69170$6401a8c0@handsontech>

Helo Jasper and all,

This is not a disability issue as such, because it gets into security issues
as well.  You are doing the right thing.  Js poses a lot of problems in that
it is often not cross platform compatible nor is it often cross browser
compatible.  The Krafters of section 508 did say in an oblique way that js
is at least in part a no no.  You have though to look a bit outside the web
section of the standards and read provision L) of the web standards such
that if I have to make the js accessible, there are many times when because
it cannot be made accessible that it should not be used or at least should
have an alternative.  Even though a user agent may support js, the
particular implementation that is employed might not be accessible to
assistive technologies with that user agent so a non js way of writing the
page would yeild better results.

If js opens a new window and disables the browsers functions in that window
than it falls into the software standards as not being compliant because it
is acting like software.  If the js displays embedded controlls that
assistive technology cannot access because it does not follow the software
standards, than section 508 disallows it because it acts like software and
is bound to those requirements.  If you take the web section of the
standards as a whole, you will see that lots of objects are fairly
thoroughly covered.  Whilst it is possible to deliver js that is accessible
under the circumstances of some platforms under some circumstances, There
are issues with accessibility even in browsers that support js.

Also, 508 is for the us government and others as stipulated or who will and
it was the first of its kind.  Unlike wcag though, there will probably be no
erratta but following the evolution of the training and watching how U.S
federal sites and others meet the standards and looking for sensable clues
will be interesting

As to why people use the browsers they do, I am not certain that there is a
version of ie for unix/linux and if there is, I doubt it is accessible since
for windows, it requires msaa and there is no msaa nor should there be for
linux/unix.  Beyond that though, there are many people disabled and non
disabled alike who for one reason or another use one user agent or another
and cannot or should not use another.  I agree that if it is a matter of
personal preference, that it comes with responsibility.  There is nothing
more tragic though for a technology user who is forced due to one set of
circumstances or another to use a certain user agent and gets called names
by web sites when that user tries to access them.

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Jesper Tverskov" <jesper.tverskov@mail.tele.dk>
To: <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Sent: Thursday, June 12, 2003 8:23 AM
Subject: JavaScript and Accessibility

WAICAG, checkpoint 6.3 [priority 1], tells us that a web page should be
usable if the user agent has turned the script object off or does not
support it, e.g. JavaScript.

I try to live up to this guideline, not because of the guideline, but
because it gives me a nice feeling of BEST PRACTICE, of having a sound and
solid foundation to build on.

But I would like to know if it actually benefits anybody:

1) Do we have any users with disabilities that have to use a user agent not
supporting JavaScript?
2) Why do some people want to use a no-JavaScript browser like Lynx?
3) Why do we not have a similar guideline about scripts in Section 508?

Best regards,
Jesper Tverskov
Received on Thursday, 12 June 2003 08:58:32 UTC

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