Re: Defining the User Agent

On 26 Aug 2009, at 15:28, Jan Richards wrote:

> Hi Simon,
> I like this...just two comments....
> (1) I think we need to find a better term than "Generated User  
> Agent". ATAG 2.0 has the concept of "Web-Based Authoring Tools" so I  
> could see "Web-Based User Agents" or even "Rendered User Agents".

+ 1 for "Web-Based User Agents". It's clear what it means and I like  
the alignment with ATAG.
> (2) What did you mean by "(with inaccessible interface)"?
> Cheers,
> Jan
> Simon Harper wrote:
>> Hi there,
>> I've been trying to do my ACTIONS and they seem very difficult  
>> without an accurate idea about what we mean by a User Agent;  
>> actually I think that what it really means is who should conform to  
>> UAAG 2.0. Anyhow I've been trying to come up with a good all  
>> encompassing definition - but I can't. So I tried a different  
>> approach, a series of simple questions (tests) that allow us to  
>> define who needs to meet our guidelines.
>> Here's my initial attempt:
>> If the following three conditions are met then it is a Primary User  
>> Agent and Must Conform to UAAG:
>> 1) If it is a standalone application; and
>> 2) If it interprets any w3c specified language; and
>> 3) If it provides a user interface or interprets either a  
>> procedural or declaritive language that may be used to provide a  
>> user interface.
>> If the following two conditions are met then it is a User Agent  
>> Extension or Plug-In and Must Conform to UAAG:
>> 1) If it is launched by, or extends the functionality of, a Primary  
>> User Agent; and
>> 2) If post-launch user interaction either becomes part of, or is  
>> within the bounds of, the Primary User Agent.
>> If the following three conditions are met then it is a Generated  
>> User Agent (with inaccessible interface) and Must Conform to UAAG:
>> 1) If the user interface is generated by the interpretation of  
>> either a procedural or declaritive language; and
>> 2) If this interpretation is by a Primary User Agent, User Agent  
>> Extension or Plug-In; and
>> 3) If user interaction is not passed to and from the Primary User  
>> Agent, User Agent Extension or Plug-In, or if user interaction does  
>> not modify the Document Object Model of its containing document.
>> So these sound a little convoluted but I'd appreciate your thoughts  
>> and ideas about this approach to UA definition and UAAG  
>> applicability; and if we think this is useful, any cases for which  
>> these rules are disproved.
>> Cheers
>> Si.
>> =======================
>> Simon Harper
>> University of Manchester (UK)
>> Human Centred Web Lab:
>> My Site:
>> My Diary (Web):
>> My Diary (Subscribe):
> -- 
> Jan Richards, M.Sc.
> User Interface Design Lead
> Adaptive Technology Resource Centre (ATRC)
> Faculty of Information
> University of Toronto
>  Email:
>  Web:
>  Phone: 416-946-7060
>  Fax:   416-971-2896

Henny Swan
Web Evangelist
Member of W3C Web Accessibility Initiative Education and Outreach Group

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Received on Thursday, 27 August 2009 10:02:52 UTC