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Re: Lotus Notes/Domino and accessability by the blind

From: <Robert_Savellis@agd.nsw.gov.au>
Date: Wed, 5 Aug 1998 09:52:47 +1000
To: "rich@accessexpressed.net" <rich@accessexpressed.net>
cc: "'w3c-wai-ig@w3.org'" <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>, "'webwatch-l@teleport.com'" <webwatch-l@teleport.com>
Message-ID: <4A256656.007F9ECB.00@mail.agd.nsw.gov.au>


Rich,

I am the webmaster for the NSW Attorney General's Department in Australia.

When I designed our first website, it was based on flat HTML. As this
department had an
emphasis on providing access to community, I based the design on a
collection of
principles that were called the AUS Accessibility Standards, that were also
adopted by
other NSW government agencies at the time. As such, we were proud of the
accessible
nature of the website.

Two months ago, we launched our new website. This website is at
www.lawlink.nsw.gov.au

This site resides on a Domino web server. My greatest concern at moving
over to Domino was
that the HTML component was being removed from the control of the author,
and placed in the hands
of the web server.  Effectively, the author creates the content in Rich
Text Format, and the Server calculates
the HTML equivalent when rendering it over the web.

As such, I was worried that I would not be able to apply access principles
to this site as with the previous.

There was a lot of trial and error in the design of our new website, and I
even posted a few questions on this list
regarding the access implications of Domino.

In the end however, a combination of the following has made our site as
accessible (or close to) as the previous site.

1. Configuring the template databases to render HTML in an accessible way.
2. The use of HTML in Notes Web Pages, where appropriate.
3. The use of many Accessibility principles in the (non-HTML) design of the
pages.

I will note that before launch we asked the National Federation of Blind
Citizens of Australia to do a thorough
testing of the site. They made some very constructive suggestions, but on
the whole were very pleased with the results.

Rich, I hope that this has been of some help.


Regards

Robert Savellis


NOTE: Unlink your case, our website does not use the standard look or feel
of a Notes database. It looks like an
ordinary HTML based website.





Rich Caloggero <rich@accessexpressed.net> on 05/08/98 06:00:31

Please respond to "rich@accessexpressed.net" <rich@accessexpressed.net>

To:   "'w3c-wai-ig@w3.org'" <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>,
      "'webwatch-l@teleport.com'" <webwatch-l@teleport.com>
cc:    (bcc: Robert Savellis/FSS/NSW_AG)
Subject:  Lotus Notes/Domino and accessability by the blind




Our company, Very Special Arts Massachusetts,  is developing a website,
www.accessexpressed.net,  which provides disability accessibility
information
related to various cultural organizations (theaters, museums, and other
venues). The site, as currently implemented, uses a Lotus Domino server and
a
Notes database. The interface uses the standard look and feel convensions
of
Lotus Notes, and is cumbersome at best, down right inaccessible at worst to
blind users. My question is: is there a more accessible set of
tools/interface
builders which may make the interface more usable by the blind? Do we need
to
redesign completely using a different database? Can we build a better
interface
on top of what already exists?
     While I understand the basics of html, client server architecture, etc
I no
nothing of Notes and Domino and the ways in which it is or is not
customizable.
I understand that these tools are quite popular for they provide a
seemingly
flexable and consistant way of designing interfaces on top of a fairly
sophisticated database with minimal effort. It seems that one of the
biggest
barriers to accessibility is the lack of accessability-related features
integrated into most popular web publishing environments. I think a good
easy
to use powerful publishing environment whose designers are aware of
accessibility issues would be a big win for disabled people net-wide.

                                              Rich Caloggero
                         Very Special Arts Massachusetts
                         voice: (617) 350-7713
                         e-mail: rich@accessexpressed.net or rjc@mit.edut
Received on Tuesday, 4 August 1998 19:51:41 GMT

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