Re: I'm Worried...

Hi there Greg, and thanks for your thoughts on this one.

I can see where you're comming from on #1 however a quick dictionary 
search says
perceive |pərˈsēv|
verb [ trans. ]
1 become aware or conscious of (something); come to realize or 
understand : his mouth fell open as he perceived the truth | [with 
clause ] he was quick to perceive that there was little future in such 
2 become aware of (something) by the use of one of the senses, esp. that 
of sight : he perceived the faintest of flushes creeping up her neck.
3 interpret or look on (someone or something) in a particular way; 
regard as : if Guy does not perceive himself as disabled, nobody else 
should | [ trans. ] some geographers perceive hydrology to be a separate 
field of scientific inquiry.

I was taking 1 and 3 as my definition while I think you are taking 2. In 
reality I think I'm fine with your take on this as 'become aware by the 
use of one of the senses' is probably what most people hold to be right. 
I mainly put this in to show that there is some ambiguity there.

I think your answers to my other questions are fine, but I think I'm 
beginning to think about the UAs and accessibility slightly differently. 
I'm increasingly beginning to think that accessibility is really about 
translation between forms of the same information, and control my the 
user of the way they interact with that information; in that the 
assistive technology is created for a specific user group and is made to 
translate and facilitate the interaction of a user group in a way which 
is natural for them.

It just so happens that a browser/user agent facilitates access to 
itself and the translation from HTML to rendering all in one package, 
and for a very specific user group. In this case, is it not more natural 
to make sure the common user agent facilitates both control and access 
of itself and the information it accesses by other intermediary 
technologies designed for other specific user groups. In this case 
guidelines which make sure this openness to intermediary technologies 
would be level A. I can also see that in some cases it could be 
advantageous for additional aspects of accessibility to be included 
within the user agent for users who may not require additional assistive 
or intermediary technologies and I would therefore say that any aspects 
of the user agent which added accessibility and assistive components 
within the common package could be AA. Finally I would see that 
functionality not provided, as standard, as part of the common user 
agent, but which would be very useful for different kinds of users via 
their intermediary technologies would be Triple-A.

This may sound initially outlandish, but I think that we are in danger 
of making manufacturers of user agents into manufactures of user 
agent-assistive technology hybrids; as opposed to user agents with open 
access and control for use by other intermediary tools more suited to 
the user, and built by developers who understand their specific user group.

Of course I could be wrong on this, or my thinking could change as 
replies and argumentation appear in this forum, but at this point I'm 
still worried, and so any more insight you might have would be greatly 



Simon Harper
University of Manchester (UK)

Human Centred Web Lab:

My Site:

My Diary (Web):
My Diary (Subscribe):

On 11/02/2010 03:31, Greg Lowney wrote:
> Hi Simon,
> I really appreciate you raising these issues!
> Re your question #1 of whether Principle 3 (Perceivable - The user 
> interface and rendered content must be presented to users in ways they 
> can perceive) required content to be translated into pictograms, I 
> would say no. In my interpretation a sighted person can *perceive* 
> visually-rendered text as long as the size, colors, and contrast are 
> appropriate, regardless of whether they can *understand* it. 
> Understandability is covered under Principle 5 (Ensure that the user 
> interface is understandable). But that currently addresses only user 
> interface, which brings us to...
> Re your question #2 asks if we can address how textual content can 
> reduce accessibility with regard to cognitive disability. I think 
> that's an excellent suggestion. At first glance I can't find much 
> about that in the current draft. Currently Principle 5 (Ensure that 
> the user interfacce is understandable) only addresses the user 
> interface, but we could add something, somewhere to recommend steps 
> that the user agent can take to facilitate undertandability of content
> For example a user agent could: (a) allow the user to easily look up 
> simple definitions or illustrations for terms in the content; (b) 
> provide translations of content into other languages or writing 
> styles; and (c) attempt to generate summaries of content or highlight 
> key phrases. (These are already available in Firefox using add-ins 
> such as Dict, gTranslate, and the outdated GreatSummary.) Some 
> features we already address, such as providing an outline view, could 
> serve as aids to understandability in addition to navigation. Do 
> people have additional suggestions?
> If we do decide to add those, we could easily fit them under Principle 
> 5 by changing its title to include both user interface and content, 
> like Principle 3 already does. In fact, Principle 4 ("Ensure that the 
> user interface is operable", actually includes things like text search 
> and content flashing that go far beyond just user interface; if we 
> keep those, perhaps it's title, too, should be broadened.
> (As yet another aside, it seems like Guideline 4.5, "Configure and 
> store preference settings", doesn't really fit under Principle 4, 
> "Ensure the user interface is operable", more than it fits under 
> Principle 3 about making UI and content perceivable.)
> Finally, re your question #3 as to whether Principle 5 would require 
> user agents to take steps to make UI and possibly content more easily 
> understandable, such as translating things into pictograms, I would 
> say that we can certainly include guidance to this effect, but we can 
> decide whether to make them base-level requirements (Level A) or 
> merely requirements for higher-level certification (Level AA and AAA, 
> which ISO and ANSI call Recommendations). For example, yes, we could 
> *recommend* (as Level AAA) an option to display icons for user 
> interface items such as toolbar buttons, although I would not make it 
> a Level A requirement because I wouldn't expect software to do it for 
> all of its UI. Another way of putting that is that, while we want to 
> encourage design that maximizes accessibility but we have to balance 
> that against reasonable expectations. Software could do many wonderful 
> things, but if there are not already two user agents that do them, and 
> do them consistently thr
> oughout their UI, then we're not allowed to include them as success 
> criteria.
> I hope that's helpful.
> Greg
> -------- Original Message --------
> Subject: I'm Worried...
> From: Simon Harper <>
> To: UAWG list <>
> Date: 2/5/2010 2:32 AM
> Hi there guys,
> Sorry for not being very talkative on the Telecon yesterday, and for 
> confining myself to listening to the discussion. However, as the 
> discussion unfolded, and this is not in relation to action item 263, I 
> started to become a little worried about what we are actually 
> expecting user agent manufacturers to do with regard to the 
> accessibility of their technology. From a brief analysis of guidelines 
> as they stand in draft at present we seem to be reasonably focused on 
> specific key disability such as blindness and hearing loss. I became 
> more concerned with regard to how these guidelines would be 
> implemented with regard to cognitive disability and learning 
> impairments as in some cases it seems to me that the guidelines have 
> an implicit idea about, and address, a specific disability.
> That said I may be completely wrong on this point, so to allay my 
> fears I wonder if somebody from the group could answer me a couple of 
> questions. I think if we can't answer these questions we need to think 
> again about some of the guidelines and indeed our ideas about user 
> agent accessibility.
> 1) How does principle three 'PRINCIPLE 3: Perceivable - The user 
> interface and rendered content must be presented to users in ways they 
> can perceive.' and the guidelines that are within it relate to 
> cognitive disability and learning impairments, 'content must be 
> presented to users in ways they can perceive' suggests to me that the 
> content must be translated into pictograms for this particular user 
> group. Are we really expecting this to occur?
> 2) In the case of guideline 4.9 'Guideline 4.9 Provide control of 
> content that may reduce accessibility.' Content that may reduce 
> accessibility is text with regard to cognitive disability learning 
> impairment. How can this be addressed in such a case?
> 3) Finally, 'Principle 5: Ensure that user interface is 
> understandable', How will this understandability be ensured with 
> regard to cognitive disability and learning impairment? Are we 
> expecting user agent manufacturers to provide pictorial 
> representations of the textual aspects.
> Based on responses from the working group I have some additional 
> questions, but I don't want to labour the point here, and indeed your 
> answers may negate some of those questions I already have.
> Cheers
> Si.
> =======================
> Simon Harper
> University of Manchester (UK)
> Human Centred Web Lab:
> My Site:
> My Diary (Web): 
> My Diary (Subscribe): 

Received on Thursday, 11 February 2010 17:21:41 UTC