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Proposed changes to UAGL to address conformance issues.

From: Ian Jacobs <ij@w3.org>
Date: Wed, 15 Sep 1999 10:32:06 -0400
Message-ID: <37DFADE6.B73C9B2E@w3.org>
To: w3c-wai-ua@w3.org

Please consider the following changes to the UAGL 
(27 August version [1]). This proposal attempts to resolve
various questions (e.g., [2]) about how different types of user
agents will conform to the document. The proposed changes
remove the need (I hope) for a graphical/dependent split
while keeping the goals of the checkpoints intact. The
last change suggests a split of a different sort to
address interoperability.

[1] http://www.w3.org/WAI/UA/WAI-USERAGENT-19990827 
[2] http://cmos-eng.rehab.uiuc.edu/ua-issues/issues-linear.html#79

PROPOSAL 1) Checkpoint 1.1. The current text:

      Ensure that all functionalities offered through 
      the user interface may be operated through standard 
      input device APIs supported by the operating system. 

  I propose that we split this checkpoint into two:

     a)  Ensure that all functionalities offered through 
         the user interface are available through all supported
         input devices. Note: The device-independence
         required by this checkpoint applies to functionalities
         described by the other checkpoints in this document
         unless otherwise stated by individual checkpoints.

     b)  Use standard input device APIs provided by the 
         operating system. 

    The text of (a) comes from previous versions of the
    guidelines. However, I think checkpoint 1.1 in [1] mixes
    two very important points: all functionalities must be available
    AND use standard input device APIs. Thus, I propose the split.

    I have noted that while reviewing Netscape Navigator, that verifying
    (a) is near impossible unless you are a developer or have access to
    details about how the tool's internal APIs connect to the interface.
    I propose that we include a note in the document that informs users
    that it may be difficult to verify certain checkpoints without
    detailed software documentation.
PROPOSAL 2) Checkpoint 3.2. The current text:

     Ensure that the user has access to the content of
     an element selected by the user.

   This checkpoint is the evolution of a requirement for access 
   to individual cells, list items, etc. However, I think some
   of the intent is lost in the current wording. I propose 
   the following:

     Ensure that the user has access to the document
     structure expressed by markup in an output 
     device-independent manner.
       For example, ensure that the user can clearly 
       understand the content of a table cell, the
       content of a list item, the content of a header,

     a) Provide a view of the document structure (e.g.,
        a tree view of all elements).

    Note that "output device-independent manner" means
    for output devices supported by the software.

PROPOSAL 3) Checkpoint 3.3. This checkpoint should not be 
   for dependent user agents only. Refer to issue 84.

   [2] http://cmos-eng.rehab.uiuc.edu/ua-issues/issues-linear.html#84   

PROPOSAL 4) Checkpoint 8.3. The current text:

       Allow the user to navigate just among table cells of
       a table (notably left and right within a row and up 
       and down within a column).

    I propose that this checkpoint be for all users agents, with
    the following note afterwards:

       Navigation techniques include keyboard navigation from
       cell to cell (e.g., using the arrow keys) and scrolling.
       Note, however, that users must be able to navigate in
       an input-device independent manner. 

PROPOSAL 5) Checkpoint 9.2. The current text:

       Provide the user with information about the number
       of viewports.

    I suggest that the principle of this checkpoint applies to
    all user agents. I suggest that it be rewritten:

       List all viewports (including frames).

    Netscape 4.6 lists windows and frames, Lynx
    lists frames, Opera 3.51 lists windows and allows keyboard
    navigation of frames, IE 4 lists windows (but I don't see
    how to list frames). All of NN, IE, and Opera allow you to
    view the HTML source, which is a clunky way to find the
    frame structure.
PROPOSAL 6) Checkpoint 9.3. The current text:

     Allow the user to view a document outline
     constructed from its structural elements 
     (e.g., from header and list elements). [Priority 2]

   I don't think this should be for dependent user agents only.
   My question is this: does a view of the markup count? It is
   not navigable, but it is searchable. I realize that this forces
   users to read markup, which is not desirable.

PROPOSAL 7) I propose that we move checkpoint 6.6 (operating system 
  conventions) to Guideline 7 and rename Guideline 7 as
  "Support standard interfaces, conventions, and languages".

PROPOSAL 8) Having removed checkpoint 6.6, Guideline six is only
  about communication among software. This guideline is
  meant to make general purpose browsers accessible by
  having them communicate with assistive technologies
  that are taking advantage of work already done by
  the browser (or other user software). While it would
  be good if assistive technologies communicated through
  standard means, I don't believe that was the original
  intent of this guideline. 

  To avoid definitions like "graphical desktop
  browser" and "dependent user agent", I propose that
  we allow two other types of conformance:

   a) Conformance as a stand-alone user agent:
           You don't have to satisfy any checkpoints
           in Guideline 6.
   b) Conformance as an interoperable user agent.
           You have to satisfy all the checkpoints
           in Guideline 6.

  This split is natural - it is precisely about interoperability
  and not other user agent functionalities.

  This proposal may seem to undermine the goal 
  of interoperability. I don't think it does. If a user
  agent developer doesn't care about interoperability,
  they won't satisfy these checkpoints anyway, even if the
  the software highly accessible in other ways or to
  targetted users. We are still saying
  that interoperability is important and also "If you
  want to ensure interoperability, you must do these things."
  However, interoperability is not the only element of 
  accessibility. That's why there are other guidelines.

OPEN ISSUE: There are two remaining checkpoints currently listed
as being for dependent UAs only: 9.8 and 9.9: access to cell headers
and table dimensions. Checkpoint 9.9 is Priority 3, and it might
be simplest just to make it apply to all user agents. Checkpoint
9.8 is priority 1. I haven't figured out yet how to modify these
 - 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 Wednesday, 15 September 1999 10:32:20 UTC

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