RE: User Agent Types

In response to Denis Anson,

I think we want developers to make their rendering technology accessible
and to be compatible with assistive technology by using accessible design
techniques.  I think where we want to draw the line is asking developers to
implement "tricks" that may help a current assistive technology, but may
not be a general long term solution to the problem (for example
linearization of tables).  Often times these tricks are only partial
solutions and may take years to actually get implemented and by that time
the "trick" may not be useful to the assistive technology.  

Technologies like palm tops I do not think have any assistive technologies,
so it maybe impossible for it to be compatible with assistive technology.
If it wants to provide access to people with visual impiarments it would
need to directly implement the user agent techniques that appply to Braille
ad Auditory rendering.


At 10:03 PM 12/30/98 -0500, Denis Anson wrote:
>In a recent message, it was intimated that IE would be in the category of
>technologies that rendered text as well as video. But, at last I think I
>understand that IE does not, in fact, render video. An embedded object (e.g.
>RealPlayer or Microsoft's player or Quicktime) plays the video.  However,
>there is a very real problem that occurs here.  We want the user to be able
>to use keyboard commands to control frame rate, to pause, etc.  We also want
>the host program (such as IE) to have keyboard navigation commands.  If IE
>doesn't know that the player is there, how does it know to pass keyboard
>commands to the player?  Does there have to be some sort of command
>hierarchy, ala HyperCard, where unused keyboard events are passed down (or
>bubble up)?  Hmmm....
>As I understood the general discussion at the F2F, any agent that renders
>any type of material is responsible for making that material accessible.
>Thus, a small screen display (such as my Palm III), when connected to the
>web, might render text in a different fashion than a large screen display,
>but since both are rendering text, both must make it accessible.  An audio
>UA, whether designed for use by a blind user, or over a telephone, would
>still have to make the text that is rendered accessible, as per our
>Any agent that renders video would have to make that accessible.  If the
>video were being rendered in an audio browser, it might be providing visual
>descriptive text.  That would be rendering the video.  The only way to avoid
>the responsibility for accessible content would be to ignore it entirely.
>This suggests the general rule of thumb: If a UA makes a type of content
>accessible to one group, it must, as far as possible, make it accessible to
>all groups, either natively, or via third party AT.
>Does this rule make sense to anyone other than me?
>Denis Anson
Jon Gunderson, Ph.D., ATP
Coordinator of Assistive Communication and Information Technology
Division of Rehabilitation - Education Services
University of Illinois at Urbana/Champaign
1207 S. Oak Street
Champaign, IL 61820

Voice: 217-244-5870
Fax: 217-333-0248

Received on Friday, 1 January 1999 13:28:48 UTC