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RE: The Difficulty of Talking About Accessibility for the *

From: ~dix~ <dixx@earthlink.net>
Date: Fri, 2 Oct 1998 22:18:57 -0600
Message-Id: <199810030317.UAA14129@goose.prod.itd.earthlink.net>
To: "w3c-wai-ig@w3.org" <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
On  2 Oct 98, @ 11:22, 
w3c-wai-ig@w3.org shared:

rich said:

> Well, I don't usually chime in on this kind of thing, but I'd like
> to vote for keepin on with your efforts Kynn, regardless of the
> flames. I'm blind, and I neither have a problem with the word nor
> other references with similar meaning (visually challenged is a bit

i agree with rich, although i think i understand some of the issues, 
kynn. its not an easy question.

i think it's important to realize that a lot of what you're dealing 
with isn't exactly your own choice of words...it's activiism and 
response to many many years of discrimination and offenses.

accessibilitiy and inclusion are the issues. and although it's kind 
of delicate work and may be somewhat frustrating, if your copy can 
reflect the idea more of responding to people's needs and making 
websites accessible to those use adaptive technology rather than even 
an implied focus on "helping out" people with "handicaps" or 
"disabilities" then you will probably get a better response overall. 

as an example: many deaf people are part of a separate and distinct 
subculture, and usually will reflect this idea in writing by 
capitalizing the word Deaf to indicate culturally Deaf (i.e. part of 
that cultural group). but not everyone who is deaf or hard of hearing 
is part of that group, which is not defined by amount of hearing a 
person has. culturally Deaf peolpe usually do not consider their 
Deafness a handicap, but an important part of their identity and many 
say they would not choose to get hearing even if it were possible.

oh well i am starting to ramble. i guess the idea that i wanted to 
convey is that when an idividual is part of a group that has been 
discriminated against and treated poorly for many years, struggling 
for rights and opportunities that the mainstream group takes for 
granted, they can be very sensitive to perceptions, vocabulary, and 
the portrayal of people in their own group. anything that implies 
they are somehow "less than" others will likely be received poorly.

and honestly, imo, part of designing for accessibility is working 
towards a better understanding and treatment of vocabulary and 
terminolgy issues--in other words, sensitivity to the group and 
their needs and norms--, not just making sure a person's adaptive 
technology doesn't crash on your websites.

perhaps one way to address the problem is to ask the folks, 
particualrly those that complain, for their imput if you havent 
already. find out why they object to certain terms and what would be 
less objectionable. just a thought.

good luck. : )


~dix

icq 3359736
Received on Friday, 2 October 1998 23:17:33 GMT

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