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Comment from Steven McCaffrey on UAGL (from IG call for techniques)

From: Ian Jacobs <ij@w3.org>
Date: Fri, 10 Sep 1999 18:53:50 -0400
Message-ID: <37D98BFE.4595E612@w3.org>
To: w3c-wai-ua@w3.org

Steven McCaffrey sent these questions to me and gave
me permission to forward them to the group. 

 - Ian

Steven McCaffrey wrote:
> Hello Ian:
> So, if any of the following seems like criticism in any way, 
> please interpret it rather as my attempt to clarify the relationship  between >documents
and between sections within a given document for my own mind so I can
>be as helpful as I want
to be.

Ian wrote:


Thank you for sending comments. We welcome all review and suggested

If you don't mind, can I forward your comments and my
replies to the UAGL mailing list?

My coments below preceded by IJ:

IJ: [snip]
> [1] below is an excerpt from the Glossary of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines.
> [2] is an excerpt from the UAG.
> I have questions and comments about each in isolation and in relation to each other.
> First, generally, how do [1] and items such as [2] relate? 

IJ: Before answering that question, there is a general question you
could ask, which is: "Will the User Agent Guidelines address
the "Until user agent..." clauses from WCAG 1.0?" The answer
is yes. In particular, we have reviewed these relationships
closely and feel that UAGL now addresses all of these dependencies.
Refer to [1] for the results of this review.

[1] http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/w3c-wai-ua/1999JulSep/0090.html 

Your question raises a subtle point: what's the different
between making content accessible and providing access to content?
I'll have to think more about this, but my first reaction is:

 a) Making content accessible refers to how the content is rendered
 b) Providing access to content refers to the ability to get at the

At least that's my understanding, although this undoubtedly needs
to be clarified. 

ISSUE: I would like to discuss a need for clarification here
       on a teleconference.

> Is there a list somewhere of what user agents and their associated dependent >user agents
(e.g. screen readers) already satisfy [1] so that "until" is really >no
longer needed?

IJ: Yes, [2].

Unfortunately, it's still empty, but we are working with
developers to get help filling it out. The WCAG WG is
actively pursuing this now.

[2] http://www.w3.org/WAI/Resources/WAI-UA-Support 

> My particular user agent/dependent user agent combination currently does meet some but not
other aspects, of [2].  Let me elaborate a bit on this.
> First, I have access to two browsers (user agents):
> 1. text browser - Lynx 2.8.1
> 2. Graphical browser -Internet Explorer 4.01 (service pack 2).
> My dependent user agent is the screen reader Jaws For Windows 3.2 (not the very latest
> If links are marked up in accord with the WCAG 1.0, my screen reader when in combination
with Internet Explorer does in fact say the text of the link followed by
the word "link" but
does not say "link" when using Lynx.  If I happen to know (and I do)
that there exists an
option in Lynx to number the links (Lynx places them in square brackets,
the numbers that is)
I then have some information that tells me a link is there. (i.e. I hear
"Left bracket one
right bracket" followed by the text of the link spoken.
> In the case of informing of the existence of a heading, my screen reader does not do this in
combination with either IE401 or Lynx.  The only way I can conclude that
a heading is present
is from context.  Headings usually sound like incomplete sentences.

IJ: Very tricky!

> And, when it comes to tables...well I could go on about that for a long time.  Suffice it to
say both the WCAG and UAG documents describe behavior that is as far as
I know not present in
any existing screen reader/browser combination.

IJ: We are aware of this. We hope our documents will be useful
to developers. In fact, some have commented on the teleconference
call that we are coming up with good ideas that he intends to 
"steal". Let him steal!

> (See, for example another person's explanation of the same result I found:
> http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/w3c-wai-ig/1999JanMar/0086.html)
> All this is background for my overall question:
> How can I, as an experienced totally blind web serfer and web programmer best help with
suggestions for implementing the checkpoints of the UAG?
> In other words, are you looking for user level information or more technical advice?  Would
you find user suggestions helpful or are you really looking forr, for
example, screen reader
manufacturer's input?

IJ: Any input is welcome. We need technical input about how 
user agents communicate. We need suggestions for how user agents
could best handle commonly encountered browsing scenarios that
frustrate users. User input is just as important as developer input.

> Are screen reader manufacturers, especially programmers working on precisely those issues
raised in both the WCAG and UAG, members of the UAG working group?  If
not, should they be?

IJ: We do have some assistive technology developers working with us
(from Henter-Joyce and IBM). We would like more  - and we do get
some comments on the list from other developers -  but we have
not been able to secure commitments from developers who may not
have the resources to attend weekly teleconferences. If you know
of developers interested in participating, please let me know.

Meanwhile, I will welcome all of your comments and help in 
any way I can to get the most out of your offer!

By the way, can you tell me more about what you do?

Please let me know if I can answer any more questions.

Thank you,

 - Ian

Ian Jacobs (jacobs@w3.org)   http://www.w3.org/People/Jacobs
Tel/Fax:                     +1 212 684-1814
Cell:                        +1 917 450-8783
Received on Friday, 10 September 1999 18:54:02 UTC

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