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Re: A proposal for changing the guidelines

From: Gregory J. Rosmaita <unagi69@concentric.net>
Date: Wed, 15 Mar 2000 12:18:01 -0500
Message-Id: <4.2.2.20000315113136.00c08430@pop3.concentric.net>
To: Jon Gunderson <jongund@ux1.cso.uiuc.edu>
Cc: Web Content Accessiblity Guidelines Mailing List <w3c-wai-gl@w3.org>
aloha, jon!

you asked, quote Do you think this is the central issue being raised by 
Scott? unquote

no, in the absence of concrete suggestions, proposals, and implementation 
examples -- by which i mean snippets of the server side code, and not just 
static snapshots of the output -- i do not think that this is the central 
issue being raised by scott...   from his posts to this an other lists, he 
seems obsessed with the mechanisms of delivering content to users based on 
boiler-plate profiles, on the assumption that he and the server's 
programmers know better than each individual what that individual needs in 
order to make sense of a web site...  while it may be true that his 
technical proficiency is far higher than the average user's (it is, for 
example, far higher than mine) that does not translate into knowing what is 
best for individuals based upon lumping them into rigid classes...

moreover, i am as opposed to quote disability profiling unquote as i am to 
racial profiling -- neither is acceptable, nor should either be accepted...

as for choosing between the 2 choices you enumerated,

quote
1. Does every resource on a website need to be accessible?
or
2. Does the information on a website need to be available in at least one 
accessible form?
unquote

given those choices, i would definitely choose the former, as:

a) one cannot possibly predict what sorts of functional limitations a 
visitor may have (which is one of the problems with scott's server-side 
solution -- if i am deaf, blind, and paraplegic, what will his server serve 
me?  what if i became deaf, blind, and paraplegic as the result of an 
accident that has also left me cognitively impaired?)

b) a single quote accessible unquote version of the information being made 
available to the user is clearly, and manifestly, insufficient, for who is 
to decide what form that single version will take?

the wiser approach is to design for universal access as it is currently 
understood, then bring feedback about the limitations and shortcomings of 
universal design to this working group for its consideration...  what is 
often lost in discussion of WCAG is that the version issued last may is 
only version 1.0 -- it is not the be all and end all (or, to be 
pretentious, the sine qua non) or the bible of accessible design...  like 
all documents, it is a product of its time, and while the issues it 
addresses are still timely, new issues have emerged and new audiences have 
identified themselves or have been pointed out to us by others, and those 
are the issues which we need to address...

my point is that accessibility is in the eye, ear, and/or the fingertip (to 
mention but a few modalities) of the beholder...  it is, therefore, far 
better to serve individuals well structured documents which use 
semantically sensible CLASSing and IDing -- as a means not only of 
associating style with individual elements, but in order to add semantics 
to the structure of the document, as well as provide a basis for 
client-side transformations -- rather than to merely provide a single quote 
alternative unquote or quote accessible unquote version of the information...

gregory
--------------------------------------------------------
He that lives on Hope, dies farting
      -- Benjamin Franklin, Poor Richard's Almanack, 1763
--------------------------------------------------------
Gregory J. Rosmaita <unagi69@concentric.net>
    WebMaster and Minister of Propaganda, VICUG NYC
         <http://www.hicom.net/~oedipus/vicug/index.html>
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Received on Wednesday, 15 March 2000 12:07:46 GMT

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