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RE: 508 rule L and WCAG 6.3

From: Jim Thatcher <jim@jimthatcher.com>
Date: Sun, 02 Mar 2003 19:39:23 -0600
To: "'Quinn, Anthony'" <anthonyq@testingcentre.com>, w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
Message-id: <000b01c2e125$bb61e5f0$6601a8c0@JTCOM2400>
Hi Anthony,


In my understanding, Section 508 1194.22(l) and WCAG Checkpoint 6.3 are
very different (compare http://www.jimthatcher.com/sidebyside.htm#508View
and http://www.jimthatcher.com/webcoursea.htm). I interpret WCAG 6.3 to say
that the page must work and carry all the same information when scripting is
disabled. That means that scripting is relegated to things like attribute
changes with mouse-Over and form verification that would happen on server
side when scripting if off. Section 508, on the other hand, just requires
that the results of scripts make sense to assistive technology. The simplest
idea that is allowed by 508 and not by WCAG is simple writing
(document.write) with JavaScript during page load, like for a “Last updated”
line.  In the webcourse referenced above there are other examples.



508 Web Accessibility Tutorial http://jimthatcher.com/webcourse1.htm.

"Constructing Accessible Web Sites:"  http://jimthatcher.com/news.htm

-----Original Message-----
From: w3c-wai-ig-request@w3.org [mailto:w3c-wai-ig-request@w3.org] On Behalf
Of Quinn, Anthony
Sent: Sunday, March 02, 2003 5:33 PM
To: 'w3c-wai-ig@w3.org'
Subject: 508 rule L and WCAG 6.3


Hello all, 

I am interested in your opinions relating to the similarity or difference
between rule L of US Section 508 standards and WCAG Checkpoint 6.3.

My interpretation is that they are almost equivalent, except for the
following differences: 

1. 508 does not require a page with scripts to work if scripts are disabled
or not supported, while WCAG 6.3 does. 

2. 508 says "...the information provided by the script shall be identified
with functional text that can be read by assistive technology." My
interpretation of "functional text" is a bit hazy. I would expect that this
standard requires that information provided or created by a script and the
user interface controls used to manipulate the script, i.e. the input and
output elements generated by the script, are in themselves accessible. 

However, it seems that this is not the case and all that is required is to
"identify" the information. I interpret this as "provide a text description
of the information". This suggests that it's OK for the output from a script
to be inaccessible, as long as it has an accessible description.

For example, a user might invoke a script which generates a bus timetable
between locations A & B. The information contained in the timetable might be
inaccessible, but as long as there is an identification, e.g. "Here is the
bus timetable between A & B", this is compliant with rule L.

I'm basing this on my interpretation of an explanation of 508 rule L which
is available at this URL

For convenience, here is the text of the 508 standard in question: 

(l) When pages utilize scripting languages to display content, or to create
interface elements, the information provided by the script shall be
identified with functional text that can be read by assistive technology.

As always, your opinions will be of value and interest. 



Anthony Quinn 
Interaction Design and Accessibility Specialist 

Access Testing Centre 
A division of Access OnLine Pty Limited 
112 Alexander Street      P: +61 2 9467 5047 
Crows Nest NSW 2065       F: +61 2 9467 5020 
E-mail: anthonyq@testingcentre.com 
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Received on Sunday, 2 March 2003 20:39:32 UTC

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