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search as an access asset

From: Al Gilman <asgilman@iamdigex.net>
Date: Mon, 28 Jan 2002 09:18:41 -0500
Message-Id: <200201281418.JAA153934@smtp1.mail.iamworld.net>
To: w3c-wai-gl@w3.org
At 02:16 AM 2002-01-28 , kynn-eda@idyllmtn.com wrote:
>Sean wrote:
>> > Can you explain "Kia Ora" please?
>> Two minutes on Google...
>
>...is that a good accessibility solution, though?  Web searches? :)
>

Think about it.  Is it?

It does depend on the context, as Gregg reiterates in the "Accessibility and
Usability" post from today.  In the context of email among the members of this
workgroup, it seems a no-brainer.  So let's move to the harder question, for
content to be published to The Web.

Major browsers include 'search' among the functions of the browser chrome.  Not
to mention Atomica and scriptlets which can be added to the User Agent if there
are special needs.

What an easy web search returns is a good practical test for what you don't
have to document yourself.  If a quick search returns a good tutorial
expansion, then save your effort for the true arcana.

Whatever shows up in the first page of hits in a Google search is not only
_available_ on the web, it is _conspicuously_ available on the web.

_The Web_ is ultimately the resource.  The responsibility of the page and site
author are to integrate what they offer into the fabric of services that is
there.  Not to re-invent the whole thing.  The _invention_ was making the thing
_whole_.  [rest of rant suppressed].

Search service is a highly developed part of The Web today.  Don't ask people
to invent replacements for what it does well already.

To eat my own dog food, please see

 <http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/w3c-wai-gl/2001JulSep/0549.html>http:
//lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/w3c-wai-gl/2001JulSep/0549.html

[found by Google...]

which provides a capsule summary of how web searching or web-accessible
dictionaries are an important piece, but not the whole, of a strategy for
maximally-accessible word use.  It's a combination of making "help with this
word" necessary less often and making the help easy to access when needed. 
Hotlinks from every word is not the answer.  Every document written with third
grade words is not the answer.  But you have to do _something_ about each of
those angles.

An author isn't going to be able, never mind readily able, to come up with a
site navigation infrastructure which totally eleminates the need for the user
to know how to use the 'back' button.

Similarly, I don't see us coming up with a profile of practice for dealing with
vocabulary and language obstacles which doesn't leave the user searching for a
bit of missing background from time to time.

Al

>--Kynn
>  
Received on Monday, 28 January 2002 09:18:44 GMT

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