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Re: Re: Symbols/Universal sign

From: Chris Kreussling <CHRIS.KREUSSLING@ny.frb.org>
Date: Wed, 30 Sep 1998 13:38:54 -0400
To: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
Message-id: <s61234fe.078@ny.frb.org>
>>> <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org> 09/25 9:57 PM  (LK) >>>
... [I] am amazed as to how much "intutition" is involved when face to face with a
person - The one thing, alas, that will ever be lacking on the internet. (Not
disregarding M.O.N.A. the Signing Avatar - but she's pretty scary looking!) ...

The accessibility issues for Web standards and tools: What is a "language?" What are the possible means of communication? Current standards - such as the HTML LANG attribute - presume textual/legible or verbal/audible communication. Sign languages are communicated through visual, spatial and haptic (touch) means.

As the speed of communications and image/graphics processing increase and prices decrease, visual communication and other mediums become more feasible. Literatures of sign languages  - recorded speech - can be stored and communicated over the Web. Eventually, and soon, real-time sign language communication will become possible. Improvements in adaptive technologies also expand the options and responsibilities for authors and user agents (browsers). For example, I can think of no technological reason why someone who is both deaf and blind should not be able to use a haptic device, communicating by touch and force-feedback, to browse the Web. However, for this to work:
- Authors must be able to identify the source language, including sign languages
- User agents must recognize and support users' language preferences, including sign languages
- User agents must support transcription of the message through enabling technologies.

Standards must not preclude these possibilities. Ideally, they should support and encourage their development.

P.S.: Agreed, "Mona" is scary-looking!

<author>Chris Kreussling</author> 
<disclaimer>The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the position of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York or the Federal Reserve System.</disclaimer>
Received on Wednesday, 30 September 1998 13:41:42 UTC

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