[Irl-dean] Creating accessible javascript

Barry McMullin mcmullin at eeng.dcu.ie
Wed Sep 27 20:15:56 IST 2006

On Wed, 27 Sep 2006, Gez Lemon wrote:

> Accessibility isn't solely the responsibility of the web developer.
> Developers, user agent (including AT) vendors, and users themselves
> all have a role to play. The User Agent Accessibility Guidelines
> (UAAG) requires that an accessible user agent provides programmatic
> access to the content [1].

Thanks to Jez for this very useful commentary on javascript and
accessibility.  I agree with *almost* all of it, but the comment
above give me some pause for thought.

Jez' footnotes seemed to get lost somewhere along the way to me
(?) but I presume the [1] refers to some or all of the
checkpoints in Guideline 6 of UAAG 1.0.

Now I confess that I have not studied UAAG as closely as I
probably ought to, but it had never occurred to me that this
Guideline might be interpreted as *requiring* conformant user
agents to implement *any* "content driven" scripting environment
(javascript/ecmascript or otherwise); where, by "content driven",
I mean the code or script to be executed is being provided
externally from a web site.

By contrast, my interpretation was rather that this Guideline
*only* required conformant user agents to provide APIs -
"programmatic access" - to *client side* provided scripts or
executables, such as might be needed to interface with AT.
Indeed, I didn't think it required user agents to provide *any*
general purpose "execution environment" per se (whether the code
is provided from the server side or the client side).

But Jez seems to imply that there *is* a requirement on UAAG user
agents to provide such an execution environment, and, indeed, to
support execution of server provided code/script. Or am I
mis-understanding?  I would genuinely appreciate any
clarification here if I've got this wrong!

(As to whether or not the provision of such support is properly
regarded as an "accessibility" issue, I can certainly agree that
this is not obvious. In the WCAG 2.0 scheme of things this would
turn into a question about baselines yet again I suppose...)

Best - Barry.

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