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RE: Do as WAI does, not as WAI says

From: Bruce Bailey <bbailey@clark.net>
Date: Wed, 4 Aug 1999 17:46:05 -0400
Message-ID: <01BEDF26.512FF000.bbailey@clark.net>
To: "'Anne Pemberton'" <apembert@crosslink.net>, jonathan chetwynd <jay@peepo.com>, Web Content Accessibility Guidelines <w3c-wai-gl@w3.org>
I don't know that I would agree with your characterization of the WCAG that 
classifies the requirement of things like ALT tags as "high-tech".

Sophisticated computer users (who definitely were high-tech), and who 
happen to be blind, discovered, much to their chagrin, that it didn't 
matter if:
1) 	They were very skilled;
2)	They had the latest and greatest computer / browser / screen reader;
Poorly written HTML documents could still be inaccessible to them!

That is what the WAI is about.  There are users who, until the World Wide 
Web, could handle just about any word-processing, spreadsheet, or database 
document that came their way.  Then, this new medium comes along.  It's 
electronic -- so it should be so much more accessible than paper.  But, 
because too many authors are taking shortcuts, artificial and unnecessary 
roadblocks are being created!  The WCAG is meant to try and stem this tide.

The audience Anne P and Jonathan are trying to reach NEVER WERE 
SOPHISTICATED COMPUTER USERS.  So why does it follow that the Web should be 
put into a format that is digestible to them?  The WCAG is about REMOVING 
and PREVENTING roadblocks that, in an electronic medium, are totally 
avoidable.  It is like we are creating buildings for the very first time 
and at the beginning someone has the insight to mention how much nicer 
ramps are than steps.  We would not have to put in curb cuts if we did not 
create curbs in the first place!

If sites that house picture books are not functional to non-readers, well 
how the heck can general interest sites be made useable to this population? 
  Let alone, how can we create specifications that tell others how to do 
this?

Well, I am tired and cranky and obviously on a rant.  I'll shut up now.

Thank you for your time.

Bruce Bailey


On Wednesday, August 04, 1999 9:19 AM, Anne Pemberton 
[SMTP:apembert@crosslink.net] wrote:
> Jonathan,
>
> You hit the crux of the matter. An initiative that has encouraged the
> development of high-tech solutions to reach the blind and the
> motor-impaired, low-tech solutions to aid the color-impaired, has a much
> smaller task to "recommend" including pictures. The resistance to this
> simple solution makes no sense.
>
> 			Anne
Received on Thursday, 5 August 1999 09:38:00 GMT

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