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Re: Government

From: Matt May <mcmay@bestkungfu.com>
Date: Tue, 24 Apr 2001 10:13:33 -0700
Message-ID: <01bc01c0cce1$f4615020$6601a8c0@sttln1.wa.home.com>
To: "Kynn Bartlett" <kynn-edapta@idyllmtn.com>, <w3c-wai-gl@w3.org>
----- Original Message -----
From: "Kynn Bartlett" <kynn-edapta@idyllmtn.com>
> At 3:32 PM +0100 4/24/01, Jonathan Chetwynd wrote:
> >Perhaps to recommend that all government domains must contain some
> >multimedia content??
> The idea is a good one, but to flesh it out more

> we need to tell them
> how and why to use multimedia.

Yes! This is where I was going with the idea of creating how-to documents on
designing sites for certain disabilities. We can't tell content providers
that a multimedia treatment of any given subject matter would be
quantifiably better in accessibility. That is primarily because we have to
assume they have domain knowledge of the information they're trying to
convey, and we do not. What we can do that is constructive is to inform the
providers of the limitations of certain members of the audience they're
targeting, and recommend methodologies that contribute to their access to

We can guide people to a solution that suits their content, but I have
trouble with the idea of saying either "Multimedia will make your site more
accessible," or "If you don't have multimedia in your site, you can't make
an accessibility claim." We should be providing content providers with the
background to make informed decisions about presenting their own content,
not mandating a solution that is already commonly used improperly.
Multimedia tools are not even a part of the toolkit of many content
providers, and most designers are unskilled at multimedia for anything other
than attracting eyeballs for marketing purposes.

> If we say that a site is "more
> accessible" to people with cognitive disabilities if it contains
> multimedia -- and I will accept that as true -- we need to give some
> guideance as to how they should do it, and what it should cover.

It's not that easy for me to accept that statement as the truth. I can
disprove it personally as someone with ADD who can't retain information when
sites play background music, for example, because it distracts me from the
content I'm trying to reach. Flash only exacerbates the problem, because the
Stop button on my browser doesn't stop the animation or sound. (There are an
estimated 15 million Americans like me with ADD/ADHD, according to the U.S.
National Institute for Mental Health.)

> A relatively clueless government webmaster would see such a recommendation
> and simply slap on any random multimedia content and declare the
> job done!

Even relatively clueful and good-intentioned web folks (that is, the folks
who wouldn't use a requirement of multimedia as an excuse to throw up
whatever marketing campaign they have going on a splash page) would have a
rough time knowing whether they're helping or hurting if they were just
given a requirement to add multimedia.

Received on Tuesday, 24 April 2001 13:17:48 UTC

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