WCAG Definition of web content and native apps

From Mobile Accessibility Task Force
Jump to: navigation, search


This issue arose from the 10 March 2016 discussion of proposed text for the Introduction for the Mobile Extension to WCAG and whether mobile native applications could be included.


  • Hybrid apps can work offline without http connection, but from what is web content in another situation. A hybrid webview within an app is still web content, even if it is not rendered in a browser.
  • Example of Facebook web page vs. Facebook app — how can we say that the Facebook app isn't web content?
  • Features that are currently only available in native apps will probably be available in web content tomorrow. W3C and other developers working on APIs to give native app features to web content.
  • Concerns about scoping the definition of mobile apps. Some thought the phrase was too broad and would cause confusion about what aspects of the Extention applied. Others thought that if "may" was used, people could easily say it didn't apply.


Expand the definition of web content beyond HTTP to include hybrid and native applications.


From minutes of 10 March 2016 edited for clarity and relevance to this issue.

<Kim> https://w3c.github.io/Mobile-A11y-Extension/#intro

jeanne: Wanted to put some information in the intro for discussion to clarify. When John Folliot attended a meeting, he was confused over our document structure.

Kim: I like it, I like that you added mobile applications.

David: if we do roll into 2.1.1 when we come back to working group, it will be unlikely that we can apply it to web applications.

Jeanne: Let's not make that assumption.

Marc: With the 508 refresh, having guidelines that apply makes sense.

Alistair: mobile applications is too broad.

<David> https://www.w3.org/TR/WCAG20/#webpagedef

<David> Anything for mobile apps would be added to WCAG2ICT https://www.w3.org/TR/wcag2ict/

Chris: this may someday apply to native even if any native specific things get pulled out. At least then we don't have to go back and rework on those things

Henny: All good points. Hybrid apps should not be forgotten. Tech agnostic. In regarding to final wording change "can also apply to mobile applications" to "...may apply..." ... Even if it doesn't strictly apply, native developers come to wcag, and specifically the mobile extension for guidance.

Jeanne: Don't get too hung up on definition of web from wcag, because it was written before smartphones and mobile apps existed.

David: We are constrained by definition within the realm of proposed WCAG 2.1.

Jeanne: We don't want to constrain our thoughts. We should allow the working group to make that decision.

Kathy: Don't censor ourselves, let the working group make the call.

<agarrison> may apply to aspects of mobile device interfaces made with web technologies

Kathy: Hybrid apps add further complications. A webview within an app is still web content, even though it's not within a browser.

chriscm: Web content hardcoded does not apply to all content rendered by a browser.

David: Henny adding the word "may" to the introduction addresses my concerns. ... Focus on hybrid and responsive applications before any native specific.

<Kim> Chris: just because it's not a capability now it might be later – look at with the capabilities of native are and assume they'll eventually be capabilities of mobile web as well and assume that any criteria have respect to the capabilities of native even if we don't say native apps can do this we can say mobile web may be able to do this because it's a capability the platform

<MichaelC> +1, there are a lot of APIs being developed for Web that match mobile device features

Agarrison: It's true that you can do that. Many features are already available through things like cordova.

<Henny> +1 Alistair - clearly defining what a mobile application is.