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IndieUI Overview Notes

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[Draft] Indie UI Overview

Page Contents

Introduction

Independent User Interface (Indie UI) is a way for user actions to be communicated to web applications. Indie UI will make it easier for web applications to work in a wide range of contexts — different devices, different assistive technologies (AT), different user needs.

{or: Independent User Interface (Indie UI) is a way for user actions to be communicated to web applications. Indie UI will make it easier for web applications to work in a wide range of contexts — on different devices, with different assistive technologies (AT), and for different user needs.}

For example, if a user wants to scroll down a page, they might use their finger on a touch screen, or click a scroll bar with a mouse, or say "scroll down" with a voice command. Indie UI will define a way for those different interactions to be translated into a simple event - scroll down.

Indie UI will allow web application developers to get these events from different devices without having to recognize how the user performed the action. With Indie UI, AT will have a simple set of events to control web applications, and web application developers will have a uniform way to design applications that work for multiple devices and contexts.

The Indie UI Documents

Indie UI will include the following two technical specifications:

  • Indie UI: Events will map user input events to intended function.
    For example, a user scrolling a page is a series of touch events closely related in time and space. This can be complicated for web applications to process, particularly because the expected gestures vary by platform. Indie UI will allow the device to send a simple "scroll" event to the application, thus simplifying the work needed by the web application developer.
  • Indie UI: User Context will allow a web application to get information about the configuration, settings, and assistive technologies that the user is using. This will facilitate a web application optimizing for specific user needs. There are significant privacy and security issues that need to be resolved.

These are explained in more detail in the Current Work section of the Indie UI Working Group page.

Who develops Indie UI

The Indie UI technical documents are developed by the Independent User Interface Task Force, which is a joint task force of the Web Events Working Group and Independent User Interface Working Group (Indie UI WG). The Indie UI WG is part of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI).

How WAI Develops Accessibility Guidelines through the W3C Process: Milestones and Opportunities to Contribute describes formal periods for public review. To get announcements of opportunities for review and comment of WAI documents, see Getting WAI announcements. An email address for sending comments is included in the "Status of this Document" sections.

Opportunities for contributing to Indie UI and other WAI work are introduced in Participating in WAI.






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Notes

Open issues

  • What information is the web app getting - about configuration? settings? AT? other? OS? browser? other?
    Current text: "Indie UI: User Context will allow a web application to get information about the configuration, settings, and assistive technologies that the user is using."
    • perhaps "preferences"? - issue: it's more than preferences
  • Is there a better example than scroll?
    • zoom
    • escape/dismiss, e.g., to close dialog box (Esc key, gesture, voice for iOS, back button android) - issue: not clear enough
    • select checkbox - issue: already click event

Changelog

3 October 2012

  • Introduction, first paragraph, second sentence.
    was: Indie UI will make it easier for web applications to work with a wide range of devices, including assistive technologies (AT).
    changed to: Indie UI will make it easier for web applications to work in a wide range of contexts — different devices, different assistive technologies (AT), different user needs.
  • Introduction, second paragraph
    added scroll wheel to: For example, if a user wants to scroll down a page, they might use their finger on a touch screen, or click a scroll bar with a mouse, or use a scroll wheel, or say "scroll down" with a voice command. Indie UI will define a way for those different interactions to be translated into a simple event - scroll down.
  • The Indie UI Documents, second bullet paragraph, first sentence.
    was: Indie UI: User Context will allow a web application to get information about assistive technologies and settings that the user is using.
    changed to: Indie UI: User Context will allow a web application to get information about the configuration, settings, and assistive technologies that the user is using.

Minutes & Threads

From WAI IG announcement

...Independent User Interface (Indie UI) Working Group to develop a way for user actions to be communicated to web applications. This will make it easier for web applications to work with a wide range of devices, including assistive technologies (AT).

For example, if a user wants to scroll down a page, they might use their finger on a touch screen, or click a scroll bar with a mouse, or say "scroll down" with a voice command. Indie UI will define a way for those different interactions to be translated into a simple event - scroll down.

Indie UI will allow web application developers to get these events from different devices without having to recognize how the user performed the action. With IndieUI, AT will have a simple set of events to control web applications, and web application developers will have a uniform way to design applications that work for multiple devices and contexts.

1. Events

Events: Maps user input events to intended function

Example: User scrolling a page is a series of touch events closely related in time and space; scroll intent inferred by device; very complicated for Web applications to process particularly since expected gestures vary by platform; Indie UI allows device to send just a "scroll" event to application; application can still receive the raw events if it wants

Easiest to explain in relation to touch events, but could apply to speech, keyboard, mouse, etc.

2. User Context

User Context: Info about AT running and relevant settings; allows optimization (e.g., different display design to accommodate magnifiers, different ordering or verbosity for screen readers); major privacy and security concern

Structure/Logistics

In remit of Web Events WG, but formed separate group

  • Important in Web Events world, yet critical in Accessibility world

Joint task force with Web Events

  • Deliverables jointly owned
  • All work carried out in joint TF "Independent User Interface Task Force"

Currently collecting requirements and proposals... expect to post first editors' draft soonish and FPWD asap; User Context scheduled to be about 6 months behind Events for all stages.