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WCAG 2.0 and non-text equivalents

From: Danny Roush <DannyR@vcom3d.com>
Date: Mon, 18 Feb 2002 17:23:30 -0500
Message-Id: <5.1.0.14.2.20020218172318.0250dec0@localhost>
To: w3c-wai-gl@w3.org
Hello WAI members,
 
My name is Danny Roush and I work for Vcom3D, Inc.  We have developed SigningAvatar(tm) Assistive Technology which provides sign language access to digital media for Deaf individuals.
 
Today, I reviewed the WCAG 2.0 working paper for the first time and am cognizant that much effort has been invested in the making of these guidelines.  I would like to respectfully submit a comment being aware that the group may have been down this road already.  
 
In my previous positions as a vocational rehabilitation counselor and as a staff interpreter & assistive technology specialist for a federal agency, as well was being a child of deaf parents, I have seen first hand the fall-out of a pervasive paradigm:  Text is visual therefore it is accessible for all deaf individuals.  For many deaf individuals, Sign Language may be the only real mode and language of access to information.
 
I'm assuming that I am preaching to the choir about this but the "sermon notes" of the guidelines will be read by non-choir members.  
 
I would like to put forth that the distinctions between non-text equivalent of text and non-text content (mere supplemental information) be maintained as it is in the original WCAG 1.0 document (cf. last paragraph of Section 1 Introduction).  
 
Further, as there are currently no "ASL screen reader" user agents that can take text-to-sign in real time (currently SigningAvatar scripts are authored asynchronistically)  I would like to suggest that the language be more explicit:  the responsibility of content developers to provide text equivalents be extended to also providing non-text equivalents of text such as Sign Language translations and Audio descriptions. (cf. WCAG 1.0 next-to-the-last paragraph of Section 1 Introduction).   
 
Since the very nature of developing these guidelines happens in text form, there needs to be a conscious effort to be inclusive of perspectives from non-readers and people who use sign language as their primary mode and language of communication.  I believe the original guidelines achieve this and I wanted to assure that the new guidelines will maintian and augment this.  Keep up your excellent work!  
 
Thank you.
 
Danny Roush
Senior Linguist 
3452 Lake Lynda Drive,  Suite 260
Vcom3D, Inc. 
Orlando, FL  32817 
407.737.6820 ext. 115 
407.737.6821 fax 
<http://www.signingavatar.com>www.signingavatar.com
Received on Monday, 18 February 2002 17:17:47 GMT

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