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Re: Consensus Items on User, User, and Author Conflicts

From: Kynn Bartlett <kynn-edapta@idyllmtn.com>
Date: Fri, 05 Oct 2001 09:17:30 -0700
Message-Id: <>
To: <gv@trace.wisc.edu>
Cc: "GLWAI Guidelines WG \(GL - WAI Guidelines WG\)" <w3c-wai-gl@w3.org>
At 09:03 AM 10/5/2001 , Gregg Vanderheiden wrote:
>The consensus statements we came up with were:
>G-3.    Where Author and User needs conflict such that the Author cannot
>meet the User needs, then an alternate form which is accessible needs to
>be provided that is as close to the original functionality as is
>technically possible.

A nice principle but the questions here include "how does the author
know what the user's needs are" and "which needs are we talking
about here" and "if the author couldn't meet the user needs, then
how does she produce the this alternate form?"

Does "accessible" mean "meet user needs", and if so then we need to
define what those needs are.

>G-4.    User vs. User needs is something we need to look at on a
>case-by-case basis, but it is also a test we need to apply to every
>normative requirement anyway.  “If this done, is some group being cut

User vs. user needs are easier to solve, just don't rely on having a
single interface which is a compromise (and thus "passable" for 

I think it is fair to be contradictory sometimes.  "Have smooth 
curbcuts which are easier to get wheelchairs up" vs. "have a definite
ridge so blind people can tell where the curb ends and don't walk into
the street and get hit by cars" are conflicts in real life, but they
still legitimately articulate the needs of specific disability groups.

In the "real world", if we could magically reconfigure our streetcorner
to meet the needs of each individual user, the conflict goes away.
Since this is not the physical world we're dealing with, we _can_
do that kind of magic, and we can make user needs vs. user needs
conflicts go away quite easily.

I think that if we are to have legitimacy we need to address user
accommodations even if they don't necessarily meet the needs of all
users.  If we shy away from that then we risk our legitimacy.  We
can't simply say "this will help <some> users, but we can't do that
because it will make things worse for <other> users."  In truth, we
aren't afraid to introduce usability problems for "50% users" (those
in the middle of the bellcurve whose needs are generally are met)
because of the needs of users with disabilities.


Kynn Bartlett <kynn@reef.com>
Technical Developer Liaison
Reef North America
Accessibility - W3C - Integrator Network
Received on Friday, 5 October 2001 12:19:06 UTC

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