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Re: Documentation issue

From: Gregory J. Rosmaita <unagi69@concentric.net>
Date: Thu, 16 Mar 2000 03:41:16 -0500
Message-Id: <>
To: Jon Gunderson <jongund@ux1.cso.uiuc.edu>, Ian Jacobs <ij@w3.org>
Cc: User Agent Guidelines Emailing List <w3c-wai-ua@w3.org>
aloha, jon!

you asked, quote:
Does the proposed recommendation wording satisfy your concerns related to
the scope of the documentation related checkpoints?

no, it does not...  there are actually 2 issues which i want addressed -- 
(1) the accessibility of download-and-install functionalities, and (2) the 
accessibility of online support materials which are either issued after the 
release is finalized or which serve as supplemental documentation -- if 
these are not accessible, then the user agent, as a whole, cannot be said 
to be accessible...

1) most software is updatable via the web, either via ActiveX 
download-and-install routines, or through a sniff-and-suggest form (in 
which the server sniffs the user's browser version and update information 
so as to provide a list of suggested and recommended downloads -- such 
interfaces _must_ conform to both WCAG and to the proprietary guidelines 
appropriate for the interface and/or operating system in question...

2) online documentation -- such as tips and tricks, FAQs, downloading and 
installation instructions, all _must_ be WCAG compliant...  this is 
especially important as developers often post information on their web 
sites that is not included in their regular means of distribution, or which 
supplements or corrects information contained in the documentation that is 
distributed with the user agent

3) links to extensions, plug-ins, tweaks, and links to third-party 
utilities promoted in the user agent manufacturer's web space must also be 
WCAG compliant

here are a few places where stronger verbiage needs to be added:

1. introduction to Guideline 5

Communicate with other software (e.g., assistive technologies, the 
operating system, plug-ins) through applicable interfaces. Observe system 
and programming language conventions for the user agent user interface,
documentation, installation, etc.

which could be strengthened by the addition of the following sentence:

Ensure that any online services (e.g. automated update facilities, 
download-and-install functionalities, sniff-and-fill forms, etc.) comply 
with relevant operating system conventions concerning device independence 
and accessibility, as well as with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 
1.0 [WCAG10]

2. introduction to Guideline 11

needs something along the following lines:

Due to the rapid development cycle involved in issuing, patching, and 
bug-fixing User Agents, it is essential that at least one version of any 
supplemental documentation that is issued after the software is released 
conforms to Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 1.0 [WCAG10]. Any 
information about the User Agent that is available solely via the web 
_must_ conform to WCAG 1.0.

these, i think, are reasonable requests to make of developers and the 
maintainers of their corporate or product web sites... if you can't control 
the download-and-install or update-over-the-web mechanism, you can't keep 
your user agent up to snuff, which means that you can't take advantage of 
advances in accessibility, as well as general functionality and 
performance...  and, if there is documentation or a support facility (such 
as a FAQ, update notices, feedback forms, etc.) that is available only 
through the manufacturer's web site, then that, too, must conform to WCAG 
in order to ensure that the greatest number of individuals possible can 
access it....

i'm sure that with a bit of re-wording, ian can get my 2 points across,
He that lives on Hope, dies farting
      -- Benjamin Franklin, Poor Richard's Almanack, 1763
Gregory J. Rosmaita <unagi69@concentric.net>
    WebMaster and Minister of Propaganda, VICUG NYC
Received on Thursday, 16 March 2000 03:30:57 UTC

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