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Re: Rating models

From: <pjenkins@us.ibm.com>
Date: Fri, 17 Dec 1999 09:42:44 -0600
To: w3c-wai-gl@w3.org, w3c-wai-cg@w3.org
Message-ID: <8525684A.0056B667.00@d54mta08.raleigh.ibm.com>

I believe Jason has articulated very well the arguments for keeping the
existing Priority rating scheme based on the criterion of impact.  I
strongly support separating the costs and current status of technology from
the priority rating.

However, I feel we need to do a better job of articulating the "criterion
of impact to accessibility".  For example we do not distinguish between
usability and accessibility.  We do not say when accessibility ends and
where "ease of learning" begins.  We do not distinguish between a modality
PREFERENCE and accessibility.  Perhaps our definition for priorities should
include what does NOT impact accessibility?

I believe that usability is an attribute of accessibility.  Should how easy
something is to access be taken into account when determining impact?
Perhaps, but usability is also an attribute of everything in a software
applications or Web site.  Even though developers seem to be always
striving to make products "easier to use", we seem to be adding to or
including in our own private interpretations of usability into our
determination of "impact on accessibility".  Many draw different lines for
where the role of "assistive technology" begins and the "main stream"
technology ends.  Some lean with the "universal design" goal of having NO
line and therefore push strongly when determining "impact" by assuming that
NO assistive technology should exist.  Assistive technologies [the better
ones] improve on the usability of accessing information.

"Ease of learning" and "natural language" issues seem to be creeping into
what some consider accessibility.  For example, I do not support the notion
that if something is in English, and I only understand Spanish, that that
is an accessibility issue.  If I substitute "sign language" for Spanish,
does it now become an accessibility issue?  Our existing checkpoints define
that something must be able to be presented in Braille, not provided in
Braille.  We may not be as clear on "sign language".

I tend to lean more with the definitions of "disability" as those dealing
with "physical impairments".  Perhaps if we adopt a "disability" definition
in our glossaries, we can complete the definition of accessibility [we use
the term disability in defining accessibility] and better articulate what
is and what is not an impact to accessibility.

Could this be address by the coordination group CG?  My proposal would be
to start with the attached definitions of disability and impairment, and
then relate them to our existing definitions of "accessibility" in the
guidelines and then relate them to our existing definitions on priorities.
And then finally to be clear, we need to add to our definitions what we are
not including.  For example, I propose to include that we are not including
"ease of learning" nor "natural language" issues in our definition of
"impact to accessibility" but continue to acknowledge that side benefits of
accessibility include easier to use, easier to teach, easier to use other
devices, and easier to translate into other natural languages.

"any restriction or inability (resulting from an impairment) to perform an
activity in the manner or within the range considered normal for a human
being". This describes a functional limitation or activity restriction
caused by an impairment. Disabilities are descriptions of disturbances in
function at the level of the person.

"any loss or abnormality of a psychological, or anatomical structure or
function". Impairments are disturbances at the level of the organ.

[WHO] http://www.who.int/whosis/icidh/icidh.html

Phill Jenkins
Received on Friday, 17 December 1999 10:51:32 UTC

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