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RE: Section 508

From: Gregg Vanderheiden <po@trace.wisc.edu>
Date: Mon, 27 Jul 1998 19:10:47 -0500
To: "'Kynn Bartlett'" <kynn-hwg@idyllmtn.com>, <love26@gorge.net>
Cc: <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Message-ID: <000201bdb9bc$2c398800$f0176880@vanderheiden.trace.wisc.edu>
Perhaps this is where W3C guidelines come in....   setting a
benchmark for what should be considered accessible.


-- ------------------------------
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@

-----Original Message-----
From:	w3c-wai-ig-request@w3.org
[mailto:w3c-wai-ig-request@w3.org] On Behalf Of Kynn Bartlett
Sent:	Tuesday, June 30, 1998 6:06 PM
To:	love26@gorge.net
Cc:	w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
Subject:	Re: Section 508

At 08:22 p.m. 06/26/98 -0700, William Loughborough wrote:
>Section 508 of the Rehab Act requires that federal agencies not
>inaccessible.  It's not much of a reach for that to apply to Web
>Authoring Tools *and their output*.  If a word processor or
whatever has
>the "facility" to produce inaccessible code as a by-product of
its "save
>as markup" feature, it should not be acceptable for federal

Okay, so I'll be a federal agency.  Please define what
and "inaccessible" HTML code is, so I can know what to buy?

This is part of the problem with trying to rely on laws passed by
non-technical people that will be applied by non-technical people
a technical issue.  You and I can figure out what "inaccessible"
means, but what does it mean in practice?

Is an editor "accessible" if it provides automatic ALT attributes
(such as ALT="image34.jpg 3752 bytes")?  What if it "provides
for ALT attributes"?  Or does it have to _require_ ALT attributes
be used?  (And how does that mesh with autogenerated ALTs?)

You see, you and I can't even define what "accessible" means, let
alone expect a government bureaucrat to make that decision.  If
someone asks the maker of <X> brand of web software, be that
Microsoft or SoftQuad or Netscape or anyone else, "Does this
ware produce accessible code?" they will say "Yes, it does", for
whatever definition fits their product.

And so we're back to square one -- except that now the bureaucrat
thinks she's doing a good job on web accessibility, even if she's

Kynn Bartlett <kynn@hwg.org>
Vice President, Marketing and Outreach, HTML Writers Guild
Education & Outreach working group member, Web Accessibility
Received on Monday, 27 July 1998 20:39:38 UTC

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