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Re: editorial

From: Claude Sweet <sweetent@home.com>
Date: Tue, 17 Nov 1998 15:29:43 -0800
Message-ID: <365206E7.C4152E36@home.com>
To: love26@gorge.net
CC: "w3c-wai-ig@w3.org" <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
William Loughborough wrote:

> WL:: Perhaps the Web is "already there" because in fact there are not
> other means of access to this information in many places.  Try on  a
> Sunday to get information from a transit company.  Increasingly the Web
> is the main source.  Navigating through voice mail type messages on a
> telephone is really a nightmare even when you're just trying to find out
> how close your credit card is to maxed out!

>             ACCESSIBILITY IS RIGHT - NOT PRIVILEGE

I don't like to navigate through voice mail messages and my sight is
acceptable with corrective lens.  The frustration is not truly related
to a person's vision.  I truly miss the good old days when you could
actually speak to a real person.

Lets examine the question of accessibility. How would a fax machine be
equipped to make it accessible to a vision impaired person?

Cell phones are truly portable communication devices, but must they be
equipped to accommodate a person who is deaf?

To access the Internet from a laptop or desktop computer requires an
investment that many people can't afford. A public phone is widely
available as compared to a public computer center equipped with an
Internet connection. When available, the cost is much greater to achieve
the Internet connection compared to using a public or cell phone.

I don't see that Internet accessibility is universally available or
affordable, but public and private phone connections are universally
available, at least in the USA. I would venture to say that most people
inquiring about train or plane schedules either use the phone to contain
the train and/or airline. They may also phone their travel agent to
place their reservation. The Internet is still a "buzz" word to most
Americans that will not be a practical reality for another decade,
especially in rural communities when phone modems at 28,000 baud exists.
I believe that T-1 and cable modems represent a very small number of the
total connections in the USA.

E-mail is an option that many companies are using rather than just
depending on an Internet site. An e-mail message can request information
and information like train or plain schedules can be e-mailed to respond
to the inquiry. This saves the individual from having to make written
notations. Obviously a person with impaired vision would have the
software so the text could be converted to speech.

There must be REASONABLE accommodations for individuals who lack or have
impaired physical abilities. The key is striking a reasonable balance
when public and private resources are limited. It is not possible to
make a disabled person live exactly like someone who is not so affected.
Actually it is the same people that many people face as they grow older
and are unable to accept that their physical abilities no longer allow
them to abuse their bodies and bounce back as when they were 20 years
old.

Claude Sweet
Received on Tuesday, 17 November 1998 18:31:14 GMT

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