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RE: Re[2]: Ability taxonomy bh

From: Gregg Vanderheiden <po@trace.wisc.edu>
Date: Mon, 26 May 1997 22:29:20 -0500
Message-ID: <01BC6A24.51C71620@po@trace.wisc.edu>
To: "'dd@w3.org'" <dd@w3.org>, "P. Coelco" <pcoelho@u.washington.edu>
Cc: WAI Interest Group <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>, "w3c-wai-wg@w3.org" <w3c-wai-wg@w3.org>
Hello Paul,  Daniel,

You both raise the question as to why it is harder to find information on 
physical and cognitive disability.  Most of what you find is on Vision and 

Some of the lists cited are specifically for Screen readers (e.g. BASR-L = 
Browsers and Screen Readers) so they will be focused on screen reading 
issues.  Others are more general but do have a lot of traffic on visual 

Below are some of the reasons why recent web focus has been on visual and 
hearing issues...
... followed by some resources you might check on for cross disability 
access issues and recommendations.


- most of the discussion has been on how to design web pages.    Web page 
design is a SOURCE MATERIAL issue.  The major issues around SOURCE 
MATERIALS are whether they can be presented or display or perceived by the 
recipients.  Hence, the focus on hearing and vision.

- since most of the pages to date have been silent - the most focus has 
been on VISION and access by those who have low vision or blindness.

- as sound is added to pages, the issues of captioning and access by people 
who are hard of hearing and or deaf has arisen - and is getting more 

- people with physical disabilities have not had much problem with access 
to SOURCE MATERIALS in the past.  The problems they have had has been with 
BROWSERS (or VIEWER/CONTROLLERS).  Thus they have not shown up much in the 
HTML guidelines.  They do show up in browser guidelines.

- when you create browsers that are keyboard accessible so that they are 
easy to use by people who are blind - you also make them more accessible by 
people with physical disabilities who cannot use the mouse well,  or are 
using an assistive device or alternative keyboard (both of which appear to 
the computer as the standard keyboard).  Thus by the time you have solved 
the issues around blindness - you have also solve many (not all) of the 
issues around physical disability,  including the most important (keyboard 

- many of the other physical disability issues are addressed through 
adaptations that have been added to MacOS, OS/2 and Windows 95/NT.

- cognitive is always an interesting area.  Most everything you do for 
people with cognitive disabilities ends up benefiting most users.  As a 
result, many of the cog issue recommendations are the same as for good 
design of web pages in general.

- an issue with cognitive recommendations that go further is that it is 
often difficult to suggest to web designers that they should change the 
content of their sites (beyond that which does not remove information - 
just present it more simply).

-  more is clearly needed on good web design though to decrease the 
cognitive load necessary to understand web sites (For Everyone).

- As we get into applets and other SOURCE DEFINED USER INTERFACES we are 
also creating new barriers for people with physical disabilities.

It is good to see a balanced interest across disabilities.   It is only 
through coordinated cross disability access that we will create useable 
accessible public systems.



Guidelines for the design of consumer products to increase their 
accessibility to persons with disabilities or who are aging

Considerations in the Design of Computers to Increase Their Accessibility 
by Persons with Disabilities

Application Software Design Guidelines

For  CROSS DISABILITY access see also the work being done on kiosks which 
are accessible to people who have low vision, blindness, who are hard of 
hearing or deaf, who have reading problems or cannot read, have physical 
disabilities, are completely paralyzed or are deaf-blind.  (the systems are 
now commercially deployed and function exactly like all other touch screen 
kiosks if you do not have a disability).

You may also find the following of interest.

Thirty-Something (Million): Should They Be Exceptions?

Keep up the good discussions.

-- ------------------------------
Gregg C Vanderheiden Ph.D.
Professor - Human Factors
Dept of Ind. Engr. - U of Wis.
Director - Trace R & D Center
gv@trace.wisc.edu    http://trace.wisc.edu
FAX 608/262-8848
For a list of our listserves send "lists" to listproc@trace.wisc.edu

-----Original Message-----
From:	Daniel Dardailler [SMTP:danield@w3.org]
Sent:	Monday, May 26, 1997 4:49 AM
To:	P. Coelco
Cc:	WAI Interest Group; w3c-wai-wg@w3.org
Subject:	Re: Re[2]: Ability taxonomy bh

Hello Paul

[note that I've taken this thread off the Working group mailing list
onto the Interest group mailing list, since it's not merely technical
at that point - this message is being sent to both lists, to bridge in
the discussion, but I'd prefer people to only send their replies to
the IG one - Thanks]

I'm really interested in this thread.

> Will all of our research dollars be funneled into screen readers?

No. Captioning of web audio and video for instance doesn't fall in
that category.

> Is the WAI working group aware of the breadth of the
> problem facing the disabled as a whole when 'they' collective try to
> logon?

The WAI working group is just starting, so the answer is probably

We're in the early phase of requirements collection, and even for the
visual area, where we have the most experience, we start realizing it
isn't a trivial exercice.

> I do not know. However, I do know that the dev-access list, the
> basr list, and Trace in general all seem to focus their attention on
> vision impaired users.

I can't speak for Trace or others, but regarding WAI, I've been
looking for months for requirements on the technical work from
disability groups other than visual and hearing impaired.

I talked with research teams doing state of art eye-movement
technology for Internet access (INSERM), to end-user like Gianni
Pellis, who was at our first meeting last week and can only use his
voice or head movement to communicate, and to other disability
organizations not focused on visual or hearing impairements.

Regarding mobility issues, I haven't gotten any requirement or
feedback on the Web formats and protocols.

Of course, there are clearly requirements on the platform itself (say
Win95, or Mac) in terms of input devices (keys, mice and other mikes)
or other accessibility features but this is not what we're working on
right now.

So here's my request again: in terms of what W3C is doing: HTML, XML,
CSS (style sheets), HTTP, and other pieces that are part of the Web
interoperability framework (things that get exchanged between
providers and consumers of information), what needs to be changed to
provide better accessibility to, and I quote you, "'other' disabled
people- spinal cord injured, cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis, ALS,
stroke, traumatic brain injured, etc-".

Received on Monday, 26 May 1997 23:30:48 UTC

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