Thread Subject: Re: Merging Web and Software and what isWebcontent?
This archival content is maintained by WebAIM and NCDAE on behalf of TEITAC and the U.S. Access Board . Additional details on the updates to section 508 and section 255 can be found at the Access Board web site.
From: David Poehlman
Date: Wed, Jul 11 2007 11:10 AM
- Return to this mailing list's archives
- View all messages in this thread
- Next message in thread: Peter Korn: "Re: Merging Web and Software and what is Web content?"
- Previous message in thread: Andi Snow-Weaver: "Re: Merging Web and Software and what isWebcontent?"
- Messages sorted by: Author | Thread | Date
I'd like to ffer that the entire of equivelance where content is concerned
is gapfull. I don't think for instance that image and text can actually be
euivalent and even if they can, there is a gap where some people fall
between being able to process images and some process text. This goes to
the heart of the cognative issues.
----- Original Message -----
From: "Robinson, Norman B - Washington, DC" < = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED = >
To: "TEITAC Web/Software Subcommittee" < = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED = >
Sent: Wednesday, July 11, 2007 12:20 PM
Subject: Re: [teitac-websoftware] Merging Web and Software and what
Andi and all,
I've been a proponent of thinking of the Web provisions as a subset of
Software provisions for a long time. I think there is utility and
simplification to be gained that makes it easier to determine accessibility.
I think it could improve accessibility in both areas.
An important issue to remember when considering "merging" Web and Software
provisions is to always think of the web browser itself (a.k.a. "user
agent") as software. Many times in discussions this is where communication
on this issue breaks down. The web browser is indeed software, but the
provisions are written in such a way that one can logically assign the Web
standards to *web applications* that include browser interaction. The
concept of a web application can further be considered to be simply the
content rendered in the web browser, and perhaps not the browser itself. The
Web standards reference to how plug-ins should behave (by referencing
Software provisions) also leads the reader to thus think web content is not
Another important issue is there are specific techniques that still must be
applied for web content. By example, we can question if based on the
Software provisions, Â§ 1194.21 (d; "...the information conveyed by the image
must also be available in text.") and (f; "Textual information shall be
provided through operating system functions for displaying text...."), would
be equated to Â§ 1194.22 (a; "A text equivalent for every non-text element
shall be provided"). I think this is a clear example where the Software
provisions cover more functionality, but the specifics of the Web provisions
are more clear. We will still need to address technology specific
techniques. Or perhaps think of them as something else altogether...
Based on the comparison of "text equivalents" versus "alt" tags alone, it
should be considered that if we do merge Software and Web provisions, the
issue of file formats will be raised. One could certainly see HTML as a file
format. Making the abstraction of web content into a file format is not
without it's own hazards (namely the arguments on both sides for validity
and well-formed content) but does provide another abstraction that I think
makes it easier to provide ongoing education for what is required for
There are plenty of new questions that arise when we begin to explore this
topic. Technologies that have been created since the standard that reside in
the web browser (i.e., Flash, SVG) may be able to meet the Software
provisions, but in ways the Assistive Technologies can not yet provide to
the user. We've certainly seen this in the initial introduction of
technology such as Flash and the Assistive Technologies have improved
greatly as the technology itself has matured.
How will the assistive technology keep up? They must change and adapt to the
change in technologies. Section 508 should be focused on setting out
requirements for accessibility with little specifics (that is generically as
possible) where those specific techniques are not required for
accessibility. It is simply not our job to force technologies into existence
by legal mandate. We are trying to craft an environment where anyone can
create and share with everyone - as much as that is possible. It is
difficult not to go on at length, but let me simply state that although we
consider the environment we are in and the state of the assistive technology
industries, we should simplify and combine the Web and Software provisions
so that they will age gracefully and still apply to the technologies we will
be using tomorrow that do not exist today.
Norman B. Robinson
Section 508 Coordinator
IT Governance, US Postal Service
From: = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED =
[mailto: = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED = ] On Behalf Of Andi
Sent: Wednesday, July 11, 2007 9:12 AM
To: = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED =
Subject: [teitac-websoftware] Merging Web and Software and what is
There has been a lot of discussion on the mailing list recently about
whether or not we should merge Web and Software because the line
distinguishing the two is blurring. Indeed, this issue came up early in the
Web and Software subcommittee but we delayed any decision until we had done
the bottoms up analysis of the issues with the existing 508 provisions.
I think it is hard to put this issue to rest, one way or the other, until
we have looked at a proposal for merging the two. Otherwise, we are just
talking theory and we really don't know which is the better approach.
We have also been wrestling with the issue of applicability of the standard
based on how the content is accessed; that is, some interpret the current
508 standard to apply to HTML content only if it is accessed via the Web
but not if it is included as an attachment in an e-mail or stored on a CD.
As I looked at it this morning, I came to believe that we can't just merge
Web and software altogether but we might need to separate out the
provisions for simple content for "authors" who are not "programmers".
So I took a stab at it and then looked at how this would affect
harmonization with international standards, another of our goals.
Regardless of whether or not we choose to reorganize the provisions, we
have ended up with some country-unique requirements. If we don't
re-organize, we are fairly well harmonized with WCAG 2.0 but have some
issues with ISO. If we reorganize, we will have the same issues with ISO
harmonzation and more with WCAG 2.0.
Please take a look at the analysis prior to today's meeting. I apologize
for sending this out so late because it is rather a lot to get through.
- Next message in Thread: Peter Korn: "Re: Merging Web and Software and what is Web content?"
- Previous message in Thread: Andi Snow-Weaver: "Re: Merging Web and Software and what isWebcontent?"