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Definition of Accessible

From: Gregg Vanderheiden <GV@TRACE.WISC.EDU>
Date: Wed, 12 Jun 2002 13:01:17 -0500
To: w3c-wai-gl@w3.org
Message-id: <008b01c2123b$2bed2f10$41d86880@laptop600>
I think we need to watch our use of terminology here.  

Especially the term "accessible". 



If we say that things are accessible - we need to say that everything is
accessible or nothing is ever accessible.  There is no middle ground if
we are going to make blanket statements.




1)  We NEVER declare something as accessible or not.

2)  We ONLY talk about 

    a) things being accessible to individuals or to people with
particular characteristics. 


    b) things meeting particular accessibility standards.


If we talk about (a) things being accessible to groups of individuals
then we should carefully and fully list the characteristics including
presence or lack of any other disabilities  - including cognitive level)




Rationale for not ever declaring things as accessible or inaccessible

There is always someone who cannot use something - no matter how we
design it.  If we make blanket statements that things are accessible we
will always be wrong. (unless we mean accessible to some - which is
always true and therefore not useful). 


Rationale for only talking about accessibility as applying to
individuals or as compliance

The only thing that seems to be accurate is to talk about whether some
person can use them.   But we need to be specific or we end up saying
that people with XYZ disability can use it - when only people with XYZ
who are also computer literate or don't have any other disabilities or


We CAN say that things meet a particular standard.  When we talk about
accessible buildings, that is what we are saying.  They are not usable
by everyone.  But they do meet a standard.



Your thoughts?






Gregg Vanderheiden Ph.D.

Ind Engr - Biomed - Trace,  Univ of Wis






< SNIP > 

> No, I don't think it is possible to make that particular piece of

> accessible. In general I think satire is a very difficult thing to

> accessible, and I don't believe that many people intend it to be

> so.

Received on Wednesday, 12 June 2002 14:02:14 UTC

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