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RE: Javascript alternatives not necessary?

From: Fentress, Robert <rfentres@vt.edu>
Date: Wed, 21 Jul 2004 17:35:46 -0400
Message-ID: <E7BD4EDD62660F44922C0B11258FBE8F401220@fangorn.cc.vt.edu>
To: <w3c-wai-gl@w3.org>


First of all, I want to thank you for taking the time to engage in this dialogue with me.  I think this is an important issue, and I hope that a clearer explication of the issues involved will not be of benefit to me alone, but may also help others on the list who have dealt with this.

-----Original Message-----
From:	Lee Roberts [mailto:leeroberts@roserockdesign.com]

For a web page or web application to be accessible it must
meet all basic requirements.  If it can't meet those
requirements then there is no way it will be accessible.

Frankly, I don't care if something meets a standard.  I care if it is accessible to users with a variety of needs.  If a standard makes it impossible to create necessary content that meets the standard because of capricious and inflexible rules, then that is a problem with the standard, not the content.  Please explain to me how you can create modular learning content that tracks and responds to the user and can be moved between learning management systems without some sort of client-side scripting.

Requiring a person to use your chosen set of AT tells me
the person has no idea what accessible is.  That's as
1990s as telling me I have use IE because the designer
junked up their page with a bunch of Microsoft codes.  I
didn't do business with those organizations and I won't do
business with them now.

Creating complex web applications is not the same as creating web pages and, while it does not necessarily require a person to use a particular AT, it does require them to use something that will interpret the code written.  Again, some functionality cannot be simulated with text alternatives.  Therefore, this is not an adequate solution.

Whether SCORM claims they developed their standards to be
WCAG compliant or not is not the issue.  It isn't WCAG
compliant if it requires that I use one specific AT.  The
other standards support that argument.

It doesn't require any particular AT.  As I interpret the standards, SCORM does not meet WCAG 1.0 (not even priority 1), but it does conform to Section 508 and could meet WCAG 2.0, as currently written.  It is impossible to create an adequate text alternative for the javascript-based functionality it provides.

Flash fails compliance testing because it requires the
user to be on Microsoft platforms.  So, until Macromedia,
whom has full control of how their plugin operates, makes
the plug-in compliant it won't meet the basic requirements
of accessibility.

So, no organization has the right to require specific AT
to use their web site or web applications.  That's what
the WCAG standards are all about.  Developers don't have
choice, the user has choice.  Developer's rights end where
the user's rights begin.  My rights as a user out-weigh
the rights of the developer.

Accessibility is not, to my mind, an either/or.  It exists along a continuum. Some functionality cannot be achieved by anything as well as with Flash.  To rule out the use of Flash because it does not provide cross-platform accessibility, means, in many cases, making other sacrifices in terms of usability and functionality.

Do I think Flash should be accessible on all platforms?  Yes, of course.  Am I going to stop using it because it is only accessible on a PC in IE?  No, because in some instances, it provides the most functionality and usability for the greatest number of people.

Dogmatic proscriptive assertions will do nothing to encourage developers to create accessible content.  Recognizing the ambiguities and trade-offs inherent in any kind of accessible design and having an open and frank dialogue about the best way to create accessible content will.

As for Flash being accessible to all users, I will
challenge that with one simple statement.  I can't hear
your application talking and there is no way I can read
words not in print.

I'm sorry.  I don't follow what you are saying here.  Could you clarify what you mean?


P.S.  I'm sorry for sending multiple copies of messages to you, Lee.  I am still getting used to the fact that responses to messages on this list go to individuals and not the list.
Received on Wednesday, 21 July 2004 17:35:47 UTC

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