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RE: A "one size fits all" personalized web page?

From: Scott Luebking <phoenixl@netcom.com>
Date: Tue, 11 Jan 2000 22:38:12 -0800 (PST)
Message-Id: <200001120638.WAA21717@netcom.com>
To: phoenixl@netcom.com, unagi69@concentric.net
Cc: w3c-wai-gl@w3.org
Hi, Gregory

Please forgive my not responding sooner.  The flu had me for a couple of
weeks and I'm plowing through the built up email.

Look at the issue of what would make web pages easier to use for people
with upper arm limitations like myself.  While it may not be possible to
solve the problem for all people with upper arm limitations, there can
be enough in common that providing appropriate features on web pages
could be useful.  I believe denying everyone with upper arm limitations
because not all is provided is not reasonable.  Would you want to go
into a room of people with upper arm limitations and tell them that you
believe they would be better served by denying them all the benefits of
such features since not all people with upper arm limitations will
benefit?  (Personally, I would be as pissed as hell.)  Does this really
make any sense?  Would people be opposed to web pages saying they have
special features for people with upper arm limitations?

The assumption seems to be that all blind people are so uniquely
different that they have few common needs.  Well, quadriplegics can be
both very individualistic and often share many key needs.  I haven't
seen anything in the blind community which would indicate that blind
people are that dissimilar from quadriplegics in these ways.

There are features that could be put on web pages which could help many
blind people.  However, if the standard is that the features must help
all blind people, does that also apply to other access techniques used
by blind?  There are many access technologies which are not useful to
all blind people, though they may help many blind individuals.

The more sensible approoach would be to list the disability attribute
followed by a description of what special features could be activated
for that disability attribute.


PS  I haven't seen many people do much research on exactly what features
are desirable on web pages designed specifically for blind people.  This
is actually been surprising to some blind people I've talked with.  How
is it possible to know that NO key features could be useful on web
pages for a significant number of blind users without doing some tests?
(Have you checked out my demo pages?)

> aloha, scott!
> the argument isn't over content, it's over presentation...  you can have a
> database driven site that creates what to the user appears to be straight HTML,
> XHTML, or XML in an unlimited range of presentational options (provided, of
> course, you can actually find a browser with full support for stylesheets),
> thereby endowing the individual user with the ability to choose (or create) the
> presentational mode that is most suitable for that individual in whatever
> situation that individual happens to find his or her self at any particular
> time in any particular place... 
> i don't think that any of us who have been discussing this issue with you
> support a "one size fits all" approach -- as a matter of fact, i know for a
> fact that i, jason, bill, marja, chuck, and charles are adamantly opposed to
> such an approach...  what we have been arguing against is the imposition of a
> one size fits all solution to tailoring the presentation of content to a user
> based upon a profile as generic as "blind", "low vision", "deaf blind", etc....
> it is nearly as indiscriminate a way to tailor content as is browser sniffing
> based on a Mozilla declaration...
> you are correct, though, scott, in bringing up a subject close to al gilman and
> len kasday's hearts -- the necessity of encouraging authors to use semantically
> sensible class, file, and object names, so that semantic information can be
> gleaned from even the most conservatively coded pages...
> i wish you and everyone else on list a happy, healthy, and semantically
> sensible new century!
>         gregory.
Received on Wednesday, 12 January 2000 01:38:22 UTC

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