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a small rant from a frustrated web mistress

From: Skill Zone <sue@skillzone.demon.co.uk>
Date: Wed, 15 Jul 1998 23:38:53 +0100
To: "Al Gilman" <asgilman@access.digex.net>, "Paul Adelson" <paul.adelson@citicorp.com>
Cc: <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Message-ID: <000a01bdb041$58419de0$b4a7edc1@amaze>
> So far as I know, we are still looking to evolve better
> conditional-placement or alternate-flow capability so that a
> common source of content can be more multimode in this regard.

Dear, erudite and undoubtedly Guru class Al.

What on earth does that all mean?? Seriously, to a simple web designer who
wants to get it right? Are the links better on the top or bottom of the
page? Which? Top or bottom? I am not a stupid woman, in fact I am quite
bright and certainly well educated. Nor am a technically incompetent. I
still do not understand a single word in your reply, and I have a sinking
feeling it contained important information.

I have the same problem with the W3C guidelines on accessibility. They keep
saying things like -

"don't do A, but if you have to then do B as well. Unless of course you
don't really want to, in which case C is fine. There is always D too, of
course, unless you have used X anywhere on your site in which case...."


Web site design is not an exact science, but surely the capabilities of a
blind reader are quantifiable, measurable - real. I painstakingly followed
all the compulsory rules, and as many recommended ones as I could. I then
found, when I ask for feedback here in this forum, that the blind visitors
to the site can all see the original framed, Javascripted, graphic version
anyway, apart from a couple of simple tweaks. (I promise I will post all the
feedback somewhere for everybody to see , as soon as I get permission from
my advisors). And they liked it just fine - I had a comment from one lady
that it felt a bit patronising to have a separate copy of the site "for the
poor blind people". She had a point too!

I think there should be TWO sets of W3C guidelines. Ones for blind readers,
and one for "every single browser in the known Universe". And the first set
should be carefully measured, tested by the RNIB or a similar organisation
and then spelled out in Plain English. The issue of accessibility by all
browsers is a separate one from accessibility by the blind. One concerns
making the Internet accessible to all software manufacturers, AOL and
anybody who detests frames. The other concerns making the Internet fair to
everyone, whether they can see or not.

Sorry Al, this is not a dig at you personally, just a vent at the difficulty
involved in getting an answer to a simple question - can a blind person see
and enjoy my web site? In the end, it was other web designers, and blind
readers themselves, who answered the question. Not the W3C site.

if you want accessibility on the Internet - then make the rules and
guidelines accessible.

(er..if you are in charge that is. If not - then tell the bloke who is!!)

"alternate-flow capability"....nope. still don't get it...


(not putting my sig as this is a personal posting!)
Received on Wednesday, 15 July 1998 18:40:35 UTC

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