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RE: Definition of Accessible

From: john_slatin <john_slatin@forum.utexas.edu>
Date: Wed, 12 Jun 2002 14:15:17 -0500
Message-ID: <6AC4E20EED49D411941400D0B77E52F0074B9201@forum.cc.utexas.edu>
To: "'GV@trace.wisc.edu'" <GV@trace.wisc.edu>, w3c-wai-gl@w3.org
I agree with Gregg.  When I do workshops, etc., I make the argument that
accessibility is not a property of Web documents or their content; it's a
quality of the user's experience; that experience is the intersection of
many things-- the document, the browser, the operating system, the assistive
technology, HTML, CSS, WCAG etc.-- and how the person authoring the oducment
interpreted and made use of all those things.  (And then I say that the
reason we need WCAG is precisely to guide us through all that, since very
few Web designers/developers will be able to hold all that in mind along
with everything else they have to keep there).
John Slatin, Ph.D.
Director, Institute for Technology & Learning
University of Texas at Austin
FAC 248C, Mail code G9600
Austin, TX 78712
ph 512-495-4288, f 512-495-4524
email jslatin@mail.utexas.edu <mailto:jslatin@mail.utexas.edu> 
web http://www.ital.utexas.edu <http://www.ital.utexas.edu/> 
-----Original Message-----
From: Gregg Vanderheiden [mailto:GV@trace.wisc.edu] 
Sent: Wednesday, June 12, 2002 1:01 pm
To: w3c-wai-gl@w3.org
Subject: Definition of Accessible

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


    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 satire

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

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

> so.

Received on Wednesday, 12 June 2002 15:15:23 UTC

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