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Re: Issues: Part 3 - #44 and #45 - Follow-up

From: mark novak <menovak@facstaff.wisc.edu>
Date: Mon, 22 Nov 1999 09:51:24 -0600
Message-Id: <v01540b0ab45f0be75446@[]>
To: ehansen@ets.org, w3c-wai-ua@w3.org
see one comment at MN below:

At 5:22 PM 11/19/99, ehansen@ets.org wrote:
>Issues #44 and #45 - Follow-up
>This memo follows up on Issues #44 and #45 in my 18 November 1999 memo
>Thanks to David Poehlman, Ian Jacobs, Jon Gunderson, and Bryan Campbell for
>feedback and comments.
>There is an issue about how the UAAG requirements ought to apply to
>assistive technologies. I suggest four steps to resolve this problem.
>1. Add to the definition of "Applicable checkpoint" a bullet item that make
>inapplicable checkpoints that require technology that does not yet exist.
>2. Make an explicit exemption for user agents that are designed and
>developed exclusively for individuals with disabilities.
>3. Refine the Abstract.
>4. Consider the possibility of adding another Conformance category called
>"Exempt". I have not added that and I am not sure that it is necessary.
>Please note that this memo includes some edits/revisions that are unrelated
>to this issue, so please consider them even if my solution to this issue is
>not accepted.
>Note that in the revised definition I have delimited the changed sections
>with the <CHANGE> and </CHANGE> tags.
>1. Revised  version of "Applicable checkpoint".
>This revision contains a couple one or two small additional edits beyond
>what was in yesterday's memo.
>{Note the following highlights changes from the 5 November UAAG document.}
>Applicable checkpoint
>If a user agent offers a functionality, it must ensure that <CHANGE> people
>with disabilities </CHANGE>  have access to that functionality or an
>equivalent alternative. Thus, if the user agent supports keyboard input, it
>must support accessible keyboard input. If the user agent supports images,
>it must ensure access to each image or an alternative equivalent supplied
>by the author. If a user agent supports style sheets, it must implement the
>accessibility features of the style sheet language. If the user agent
>supports frames, it must ensure access to frame alternatives supplied by
>the author.
>Not all user agents support every content type, markup language feature,
>input or output device interface, etc. When a content type, feature, or
>device interface is not supported, checkpoints with requirements related to
>it do not apply to the user agent. Thus, if a user agent supports style
>sheets at all, all checkpoints related to style sheet accessibility apply.
>If a user agent does not support style sheets at all, the checkpoints do
>not apply.
>The applicability of checkpoints related to markup language features is
><CHANGE> determined </CHANGE> similarly. If a user agent supports tables,
>it must support the accessibility features of the language related to
>tables (or images, or frames, or video, or links, etc.). The Techniques
>Document includes information about the accessibility features of W3C
>languages such as HTML, CSS, and SMIL.
>The following summarizes criteria for applicability. A checkpoint applies
>to a user agent unless: {NOTE NEW ORDER OF THE BULLET ITEMS}
>(bullet 1) The checkpoint refers <CHANGE> solely </CHANGE> {not sure if
>this is essential, may be OK as is} to an unsupported input or output
>device interface. Note that if the interface is supported at all, it must
>be supported accessibly.
>(bullet 2) The checkpoint definition states explicitly that it only applies
>to a different class of user agent.
>[Old - Deleted: (bullet) "The checkpoint includes requirements about a
>content type (script, image, video, sound, applets, etc.) that the user
>agent does not recognize at all."]
>(bullet 3) {NEW}: "The checkpoint includes requirements about a content
>type (script, image, video, sound, applets, etc.) that the user agent
><CHANGE> either does not recognize or </CHANGE> recognizes but does not
>support natively." {This is a combination of bullet points.}
>(bullet 4) The checkpoint <CHANGE> requires control of </CHANGE> {Old:
>"refers to the"} properties of an embedded object (e.g., video or animation
>rate) that may not be controlled or accessed by the user agent.
><CHANGE> (bullet 5) The checkpoint <CHANGE> requires technologies that are
>unsupported by the user agent (e.g., markup language, synchronized
>multimedia, metadata description language, etc.).</CHANGE>  {IMPORTANT
>NOTE. I changed this to indicated by whom or what it is unsupported. Please
>correct me if this was not the intent. Old (5 Nov 99): "The checkpoint
>includes requirements about an unsupported markup language or other
>technology (e.g., style sheets, mathematical markup language, synchronized
>multimedia, metadata description language, etc.)".}
><CHANGE> (bullet 6) The checkpoint requires technology that does not yet
>exist.</CHANGE>  {This provision might protect makes of telephone-based Web
>browsers. There is not yet any good way to interface the device to braille
>output or visual display. The idea is that a checkpoint is not applicable
>if technology does not exist that would allow the user agent to interact
>accessibly with other user agents. }
><CHANGE> {New Paragraph}User agents that are designed and developed
>exclusively for people with disabilities are exempt from the requirements
>of this document.{Note. I really think that we need some serious input from
>developers of assistive technologies on this issue.}
>{end of New}

MN:  Changes are flying pretty fast, so it has been tough to keep up, but
I'm  confused  as to why User agents that are designed and developed
exclusively for people with disabilities "would be exempt" from these

>2. Revised Section on Applicability.
><CHANGE> {Note. This section has several changes from yesterday's version
>so I am marking the whole thing as changed.}
>1.6 Applicability. User agents must satisfy all the _applicable
>checkpoints_ for a chosen conformance level. Not every checkpoint or
>guideline is applicable to every user agent. Generally, a user agent must
>adhere to checkpoints that ensure accessibility of functionalities that it
>offers to users, but is generally not required to address checkpoints that
>address the accessibility of functionalities that it does not provide. This
>means that for user agents such as graphical Web browsers which are
>general-purpose user agents for accessing the virtually all Web content, a
>greater portion of the checkpoints will be applicable. On the other hand,
>applications or utilities with a much narrower range of functionality will
>tend to have a smaller set of applicable checkpoints. See the definition of
>"Applicable checkpoint" in the appendix ("Terms and Definitions") for
>greater detail."{Note. If necessary, this section could bring in more
>material from "Terms and Definitions -- Applicable checkpoint" if
>User agents that are designed and developed exclusively for people with
>disabilities are exempt from the requirements of this document. These user
>agents are ordinarily classified as "assistive" technologies or devices,
>though not all assistive technologies are necessarily eligible for this
>exemption. Note that this exemption is for individual user agent products,
>not for minor adaptations of user agents designed for more general
>audiences. Notwithstanding this exemption, developers of all user agents
>are encouraged to adhere as closely possible to the guidelines in this
>document. {Note. I think that this exemption is important because it
>protects developers who are working with innovative, experimental, small
>market products for people with disabilities.}
>{Note. I have not indicated anything about whether the developer of an
>assistive technology could waive their exemption. One can spend forever
>trying to anticipate all the exceptions. Again, I would be very interested
>in feedback from developers of assistive technologies to see if they feel
>that they need the exemption}
>3. Revised Abstract
>Old (5 Nov 99):
>"This document provides guidelines to user agent developers for making
>their products -- browsers, multimedia players, plugins -- accessible to
>people with disabilities. An accessible user agent allows users with
>disabilities to retrieve and view Web content or to enable access when used
>in conjunction with other software or hardware, called assistive
>technologies. These guidelines discuss the accessibility of the user agent
>as well as how the user agent communicates with assistive technologies such
>as screen readers, screen magnifiers, braille displays, and voice input
>My current (19 November 1999) suggestion:
><CHANGE> "This document provides guidelines to user agent developers for
>making their products -- browsers, multimedia players, plug-ins, and other
>technologies used to access Web content -- accessible to people with
>disabilities. Developers must ensure: (1) that the functionalities offered
>by the user agent are accessible, and (2) that the user agent works well
>with other user agents that provide additional functionalities that are
>necessary for full access to Web content. For example, the developer of a
>graphical desktop Web browser will ensure that its functionalities are
>accessible to individuals who have difficulty using a pointing device (e.g.,
> mouse), such as many individuals have visual disabilities. The developer
>will also use standard ways of interfacing the browser with other user
>agents, such as movie and audio players, and assistive technologies such as
>screen readers, screen magnifiers, braille displays, and voice input
>software. Not every guideline or checkpoint is applicable to every kind of
>user agent. User agents that are accessible can be more flexible, powerful,
>and usable for all users."
>{With regard to the issue of assistive technology, this revised abstract
>mentions it fewer times, since some assistive technologies will be
>exempted. Of course, they are still user agents and other user agents
>should be developed to work well with them.}
>Eric G. Hansen, Ph.D.
>Development Scientist
>Educational Testing Service
>ETS 12-R
>Rosedale Road
>Princeton, NJ 08541
>(W) 609-734-5615
>(Fax) 609-734-1090
>E-mail: ehansen@ets.org
Received on Monday, 22 November 1999 10:49:03 UTC

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