Andreas: sorry, I dont’ have official statistic for disabled ones, but I follow some disabled italian mailing lists, and, for what it counts, I often heard of disabled people that were using IE, and be totally unaware of Firefox or other browsers. Talking with them and visiting some institutions where they are educated, I had a confirm that only a minority of them (at least in Italy) knows and uses alternative browsers. The reason I think comes from some observations:
* we know that “most users”:http://www.w3schools.com/browsers/browsers_stats.asp use IE.
* Alternative browser are usually used for the most by informatic “expert” or “techno-literated” people.
* Disabled users usually are not informatic experts. They try to use the computer as is (sometimes with some expensive assistive tool…), and only proceeding they come to discover better free tools!
It’s something we, as professional, usually don’t take into account, even for basic audience. This surprised me, too, when talking with disabled people.
about skipping link: Looking into wcag 1.0 techniques you will “find this”:http://www.w3.org/TR/WCAG10-HTML-TECHS/#group-bypass , where one of three method indicated is “include a link that allows users to skip over the set of navigation links”. Simply marking a group of links seems not to be enough according this document. There is the “until user agent” issue, here, that we already know, but…
About the “most low vision user”, well, obviously all those that don’t use magnification tools. There are a lot of them. The low-vision users form a large and fragmented universe, as they Franco Frascolla and other experts told me, so a bit of punctualizations may help.
Anyway, again, the extent of these observations can only be assessed by user research! That’s the main point. I’d like very much to know how many users have this or that problem. I ask myself and to my gentle audience: is it possible that we write accurate guidelines without knowing a little more about that?
And finally, Justin:
bq. The W3C relesed the WCAG as guidelines, not hard and fast rules that must be followed at all cost.
I totally agree. But we are at the point in history where, in Europe, many national laws are being done / have been done based upon wgag. They assume that wcag-wg exactly knows what it’s talking about. I have no reason to think it doesn’t. But after all these years, I note a surprising lack of documentation about user research, and some evidences that guidelines don’t cover all.
I hope you see why I wrote this article, now. It’s really needed that we observe users and publish our researches to improve guidelines, especially if they become laws!