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PWDs do NOT crave catering, but EQUAL access [was: Re: the market hasn't spoken - it hasn't bothered to listen]

From: Gregory J. Rosmaita <oedipus@hicom.net>
Date: Thu, 28 Jun 2007 12:35:25 -0400
To: Lachlan Hunt <lachlan.hunt@lachy.id.au>, public-html@w3.org
Cc: wai-xtech@w3.org
Message-Id: <20070628161123.M57034@hicom.net>

Lachlan Hunt wrote, quote
You're confusing accessibility, which is about catering for people with 
disabilities, with interoperability, which is about making formats that 
work on different platforms, devices and/or software.  While the issues 
are sometimes related, arguing that something is inaccessible because 
some users don't posses the right equipment is wrong.  It'd be like 
arguing that DVDs are inaccessible because a few people still only have 
VHS.
unquote

i do not understand your reasoning one whit...  first of all, 
accessibility is NOT about quote catering for people with disabilities 
quote, but about enabling quote people with disabilities unquote to 
use the web with the same ease as their temporarily able-bodied 
colleagues...  usability leads to accessibility which leads to usability;
the twain cannot be seperated; moreover, interoperability and 
internationalization have accessibility overlaps, in that blind and 
low vision users use not only microsoft's windows family of operating 
stystems, but linux and even macintosh (which was the first machine 
for which a GUI-capable screen reader was developed); as for 
internationalization for decades, speakers of non-western languages 
had to run their computers in english mode (or in another supported 
language they understand) in order to access any content whatsoever,
despite the fact that english may be their tertiary language...

DVDs, by the way, ARE inaccessible to those of us who are blind, unless 
played on a computer using a software DVD application; why?  because 
DVDs are interactive-menu driven (point-and-shoot), and -- like digital 
television -- NO thought has gone into enabling DVD players, digital 
cable, and digital TV (which will replace analog TV in the U.S. in 
february 2009); at least with a software DVD player, one can access 
the main contents of the DVD...  they haven't even bothered to 
attempt to adapt sattilite radio's interface for the blind, either...

lachlan also wrote, quote:
BTW, DVDs don't get sold with books describing the entire film for those 
who can't watch it.  They do, however, get produced with captions, 
subtitles and sometimes audio descriptions.  Why should video on the web 
be any different?
unquote

ah, but they ARE sold with closed captioning, as well as at least 2 or 
more alternative languages...  adding DVS (descriptive video services)
would be a triviality, but because it does not have the same legal 
status as closed captioning quote for the hearing impaired unquote; 

when fox broadcasts the simpsons in prime-time, there is DVS available 
courtesy of WGBH-Boston, but when episodes are syndicated, the DVS is 
replaced by spanish SAP (secondary audio programming) - the same medium
which is used for providing DVS, which is why i'd like to get the 
descriptive video script with its timing cues, so as to provide a SMIL 
accompanyment to programs that had DVS when broadcast, but which do not 
have DVS when either in syndication or on DVD (i was given the second 
season of the simpsons DVD and in order to get to the menus, one has 
to point and click at a wheel which spins and randomly places characters'
heads on others' bodies -- the hook is that you can't get to the menus
until you align all the heads correctly, in a game that most closely 
resembles the roulette wheel principle)

WGBH-Boston has also produced hundreds of VHS releases (remember, not 
every blind person has a computer, and most of us definitely don't 
have a dedicated DVD player) with DVS -- i, for example, was, several 
years ago, given an audio described copy of "basic instinct", so there
is a wide variety of materials available in VHS from WGBH...

if you really want to know my full, unvarnished take on this situation,
which is due to the indifference of the quote mainstream unquote, and 
which is actually resisted by directors and producers of films and TV 
programs alike on first amendment grounds (description is editorializing,
so the arguement runs, closed captioning is a literal transcription of 
the audio), consult the 2 essays on DVS and digital television at my 
anti-blog:

http://www.hicom.net/~oedipus/blog/

i think you will know to which articles i am referring by their names,
which -- in one case -- includes language not suitable for a public 
forum.

gregory.
--------------------------------------------------------------
DISCUSSION, n.  A method of confirming others in their errors.
                     -- Ambrose Bierce, The Devil's Dictionary
--------------------------------------------------------------
           Gregory J. Rosmaita, oedipus@hicom.net
       Camera Obscura: http://www.hicom.net/~oedipus/
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Received on Thursday, 28 June 2007 16:36:26 GMT

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