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Attention deficits

From: Adam Victor Reed <areed2@calstatela.edu>
Date: Fri, 11 May 2001 16:12:17 -0700
To: w3c-wai-gl@w3.org
Message-ID: <20010511161216.B3202@uranus.calstatela.edu>
On Fri, May 11, 2001 at 09:57:18AM -0400, Anne Pemberton wrote:
> I'm not sure how "fairly common" it is to browse with images turned 
> off... On this list, some folks say they use the web that way, but in 
> my life away from this list, NO ONE I KNOW uses the web that way! Just 
> as I don't know anyone in real life who uses television without the 
> screen on, or listens to anything but music on the radio....

This is not just to Ann...

Do you know people who just don't watch TV except sometimes for long,
uninterrupted films? People who occasionally listen to the radio for
relaxation, but can't work if someone else in the office is playing
the radio out loud? People who say they can't use the Web, and try to
make do with print media only - or if they do use it, can't actually
get the content until they have printed it out on paper?

In every class I teach, I meet students who simply did not know that
they _were_ able to use the Web just fine if they only turned off
javascript, and animations, and flash plugins, and style sheets, and
image loading, and IF the content happened to be accessible without
all that. They are the same students who used to get As from older
teachers who taught without multimedia - and came close a flunking
anything taught with flashy videos.

In some middle schools, up to 20% of pupils are drugged into
semi-stupor, when all they need, to be able to learn normally, is a
quiet classroom without distractions, and a school library without
blaring radios and video screens.

Now, a working group on accessibility is the last place I'd expect
to read that "NO ONE I KNOW uses the web that way!" A more relevant
question: how many people do you know who don't use the web at all,
but would love to, if they only knew how to get rid of all that
flashing, blinking, scrolling noise? The only difference here, vs.
what you choose to call "real life", is that more of us know, and are
trying to use what we know to make a difference.

This includes you, Ann. You are doing good work for users with an
important category of accessibility needs. But so are the rest of us.
We are trying to help each other, including you, to make web content
accessible to people with many different differences. Please learn
that we are not playing a zero-sum game, and that it does not advance
accessibility, for those whom you are trying to help, to disparage
the needs of those whom you have not yet learned to notice.

				Adam Reed
Context matters. Seldom does *anything* have only one cause.
Received on Friday, 11 May 2001 19:18:42 UTC

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