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[theory: business models] add P to B and C player classes

From: Al Gilman <asgilman@iamdigex.net>
Date: Sun, 28 Oct 2001 11:18:31 -0500
Message-Id: <200110281617.LAA1087577@smtp1.mail.iamworld.net>
To: w3c-wai-gl@w3.org

There is a lot of talk in the trade and popular press about B2C for
transactions between businesses and consumers, and B2B for transactions
between businesses and other businesses.  

One of the take-away messages I learned from the TeleRehabilitation State
of the Science meeting, that will be part of my message when I meet with
the Medical Science applications caucus of Internet 2, is that to review
medical middleware business models we need to think about three classes of
[semi-] autonomous agents:

C: consumers; this includes second grade students, the general web
wandering public, and the Saturday-morning and primary-school-teacher web
content author.
B: businesses; this includes the bureaucrats of the FDA who operate a
regulatory business.  My supply-side friends may scream, but this works as
a high level approximation.  Our WCAG idea of 'policy setters' are in this
class by the same reasoning.  
P: practitioners; this includes doctors, nurses, physical therapists and
home health nurses in TeleMedicine and TeleRehabilitation.  It includes
webmasters and professional web designers in the WCAG context.

One place we see the distinction is in the details of working out an
approach to "making our results useable in policy."  The point is that the
needs of the P class web designers are different from the needs of the B
class policy setting officials, and we need to address both classes of
customers for what we produce.

The cliche is that the web designers will frequently say "just tell me what
I have to do."  They want bottom-line practices with technology-specific
worked examples they can pattern off.  The policy setting level will not be
able to deal with a document which takes this question as its scope and
plan.  For the policy setters, having all imperatives backed with high
quality rationale is essential.

In WCAG 1.0 we did support a layered presentation of the material in that
the checklist was a "just tell me what to do" summary and the checklist was
hyperlinked back into the more laborious development of the range of what
was acceptable and the consequences of violating the rules.

Another place we see this distinction as necessary to paint the path to
success is in the primary school.  Technophobic teachers are among those we
want to empower to be content providing practitioners.  However at the
present state of the art to get technology-naive authors producing
disability-robust content it's generally going to take a layer of
indirection in the organization, one Mrs. P per school.  School systems are
enterprises of a scale to provide an organized approch to introducing this
skill into the mix.  

The school somehow has to provide some applied work time of people with
better skills and knowlege in manipulating the media.  Their job is to
proof-check the work against the guidelines and manage and serve a library
of templates that tech-newbies can fill in and go.  With the state of the
art in checking, some checks can be included in the standard 'individual
contributor' setup in this scheme, and some professional tools such as
possibly Tidy will be used only by the webmaster-equivalent.  This skill
base can be provided asynchronously and at a distance by the Audio-Visual
Assistants volunteer club in the High School to the teachers in the primary
school, but it has not been demonstrated not to be needed. 

We can have C class authors sourcing content.  At the present time the
state of the art is that we don't have field results to demonstrate that
self-directed work by C class authors can readily be brought into
conformance with minimum standards; whether you define the minimum as 508,
WCAG1.singleA or WCAG1.doubleA.  In other words, a no-webmaster business
model has not been shown to be efficacious.  It's effective under
controlled situations.  For real schools, say "that's nice research, we
need a budget and plan for how teachers can get help with their web
practices."  So school systems should be planning on the basis of a network
solution where the network integrates the work of large amounts of C class
participation with small but funded and non-zero amounts of P class

Received on Sunday, 28 October 2001 11:17:43 UTC

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