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Re: A proposal for changing the guidelines

From: Scott Luebking <phoenixl@netcom.com>
Date: Sun, 12 Mar 2000 17:27:05 -0800 (PST)
Message-Id: <200003130127.RAA22904@netcom.com>
To: charles@w3.org, phoenixl@netcom.com
Cc: w3c-wai-gl@w3.org
Hi, Charles

I'm not sure you're understanding my point.  The difference is that when
a web page is generated dynamically, it can be created to more
accurately meet the user's needs.

In my little experiment, almost all of the screen reader users preferred
the web page which was created to meet their needs  better.  The
impression I'm under is that each user chose a screen reader and then
used that screen reader to look at both web pages.  Since a user used
the same screen reader for each of the two sample pages, the preference
of the web page tailored for screen readers was more likely due to the
difference in how the web page was formatted.

An important fact is that what makes a web page attractive to sighted
users often adds impediments to blind users.  If a web site developer is
given more freedom to make certain formats more attractive with less
need to worry about the guidelines as much, they might be more willing
to create formats which are better suited for blind users.  This would
seem to be better than requiring one format to meet all requirements of
some conformance level.  Everyone's needs  has a better chance of being
met.

My suggestion is to modify the guidelines to recognize this fact.

The issue is not content.  The same content can be presented in each
format.

Your statement about a "user impact matrix" is kind of interesting.
Your argument can also be applied to the guidelines.  Don't the
guidelines themselves make certain generalizations about particular
groups.  For example, I can point out a number of areas of access
problems that the guidelines don't address that cause trouble for users.
These areas are not generally known because there has been very little
research based on observation on what kinds of problems blind users can
run into.  By ignoring the problems, the guidelines are assuming they
are not issues that affect users very much.

Guidelines do imply generalizations.

Scott

> I do not agree that there is any demonstrable difference for a user, whether
> the page was generated dynaimcally or hand-created by manually resetting bits
> of memory. I therefore think this is an inappropriate split.
> 
> Where there are multiple versions of a page available there is a difference.
> The current guidelines require that at least one version of each page meet
> the guidelines entirely, and conformance is based on the conformance of the
> single version. Is there a case for having conformance based on the
> cumulative conformance to checkpoints of several versions? 
> 
> Personally, I feel theere is not, since requiring a user to choose several
> pages in order to get the different types of content that they require is not
> helpful, and in some cases is on its own going to render content
> inaccessible. (Scott's example of telling someone to learn CSS and write a
> stylesheet as a method of access is a similar barrier.)
> 
> There may be value in a "user impact matrix" - which allows designers who are
> not going to meet a conformance level to provide accessibility for a
> particular targetted group. However this implies making a bunch of
> generalisations about particular groups, and seems an exercise fraught with
> difficulty for a dubious return (the risk is that people will simply target
> people who are blind, or mobility impaired, or some other single group, and
> then claim they are doing all that is feasible for accessibility).
> 
> Charles McCN
Received on Sunday, 12 March 2000 20:31:08 GMT

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