Thread Subject: Re: Second Life
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From: Barrett, Don
Date: Thu, Aug 02 2007 8:25 PM
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The essence of 508 is to mandate the utmost accessibility that a given
technology can provide at a given point in time given the current state
of knowledge and ability in the area of accessibility to that given
technology. Thus, I think the real hard part, especially for a complex
application such as SL is to determine what can be made accessible now
and ensure that those aspects are covered by the standards. By the same
token, we have to be willing to also acknowledge what is not
commercially available in the marketplace from an accessibility point of
view, and also what would constitute a fundamental alteration of an app
like SL. The standards have to be fluid enough such that as
technologies advance and accessible capacities of the application
increase and become commercially available down the road, that the
standards can capture and mandate these capacities that may not yet be
available in the marketplace but will be at a given point of time in the
future. This is the hard part of 508, trying to figure out when we can
insist that a given technology not be used because there is an equal and
more accessible technology available which should be purchased instead,
and when a technology meets the business case and must be used even when
it is pretty much inaccessible because there is nothing else in the
marketplace to challenge it and it meets a true business need.
For years, blind Feds and others did without accessible Blackberry
devices, and 508 allowed it because the exception of commercial
nonavailability wouldn't disallow their procurement under 508. Now that
we have them, using Symbian devices and Blackberry Connect software
running on this platform, nonavailability can no longer apply, so an
agency can't go with a proprietary network that won't support BB Connect
as they might have been able to do at one time.
I want to see SL become as accessible as we can now make it, but I would
hate to see its use limited to its accessible aspects alone.
As much as we didn't like it, we occasionally had to use 1194.22[k] "(k)
A text-only page, with equivalent information or functionality, shall be
provided to make a web site comply with the provisions of this part,
when compliance cannot be accomplished in any other way. The content of
the text-only page shall be updated whenever the primary page changes."
Sometimes, there was just no other way to do things, and the results
were very satisfactory, and each group came away with as rich an
experience as the technology would allow them given its current state.
I think we have gotten rid of standard 22-K, but perhaps for very
special applications such as SL, it might be worth revisiting.
From: = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED =
[mailto: = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED = ] On Behalf Of Peter
Sent: Thursday, August 02, 2007 7:16 PM
To: TEITAC Web/Software Subcommittee
Subject: Re: [teitac-websoftware] Second Life
Just a quite note on one of your comments. You wrote:
> 2) Is Second Life actually a Web application as we have defined them
> it just a software program that interacts with data over the Internet.
> You use HTTP to download an install program. But you could also have
> sent to you by a buddy via the US mail if you wanted to. Once you
> - doest it use HTTP to access content? Or does it use another
> not HTTP then it isn't web content as we have defined it.
I don't think protocol (e.g. HTTP) is a good test of whether something
is a "web application" or not. Desktop applications (e.g. a ".exe") can
choose to speak HTTP or not as part of their network communication. In
fact, by your test, Netscape and IE are "web applications" because they
"use HTTP to access content"...
If the application requires connection to a server or other computers
over a network (as this one does), it is certainly a "network
application". If the application is delivered via the web (cf. Java Web
Start) but can thereafter be launched directly from your desktop, then
it is a "web-delivered application".
I suggest that if the only way to use an application is via the web
browser, *then* it is a "web application".
Getting back to Second Life and similar virtual worlds applications...
So long as our guidelines (whether "software" or "web application")
result in requiring that all of the inaccessible parts of Second Life be
accessible - that is to say, if every inaccessible aspect of Second Life
is also a violation of our proposed guidelines - then I think we are in
good shape from a guidelines point of view.
Sun Microsystems, Inc.