W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > w3c-wai-au@w3.org > July to September 2001

IRC usability (was re: meeting today)

From: William Loughborough <love26@gorge.net>
Date: Tue, 25 Sep 2001 06:25:55 -0700
Message-Id: <>
To: <w3c-wai-au@w3.org>
At 06:40 PM 9/24/01 -0400, Liddy Nevile wrote:
>from here the IRC worked well for me as I could be online and read docs 
>etc. at the same time - thank you for the effort Chaals

Because he did a job that few others have shown (minuting while 
participating effectively), it is clear that whatever attitude he brought 
to the task should, if possible, be bottled and shipped to some advisory 
about the forthcoming explosion in the use of such a facility to replace 
airplane travel.

Most popularizations focus on "video conferencing", but in fact for our 
purposes that is a trivial (and mostly divertive) part of the process - 
except for deaf/HOH folks. Mostly we can get there with the combo of 
adequate audio and IRC - the former probably only attainable with all 
participants wearing headsets. Speakerphones and/or passed-about 
microphones seem like a good idea but my personal extensive audio 
experience leads to extreme skepticism about the efficacy thereof. Got to 
wear headsets; got to have chair control; got to have an "order list" 
visible to all participants; got to have someone serve as agent to convey 
IRC participants' needs, particularly hands-up. The order list is actually 
two lists: one for "wanna say something"; other "wanna answer what's now in 

I send this to this list but it should be brought to CG attention. In 
summary: focus on audio (+signing when needed) and IRC and leave video to 
the Lecture Circuit and occasional plenary type slide shows. If it's 
already a canned presentation it has no place at the kind of F2F we're 
discussing herein. Interaction only rarely demands video, which imposes 
immense further difficulties. Just headsets will also improve local 
participation. Minimum "can everyone hear me", "please use the microphone 
nearest you", and random interruptions. Loudspeakers in the same airspace 
as microphones = feedback. Headsets rule!

Received on Tuesday, 25 September 2001 09:22:56 UTC

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