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Postings on Browserwatch

From: Craig Wilson <ccwilson@e-strats.com>
Date: Thu, 19 Nov 1998 13:42:30 -0800
To: <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Message-Id: <E0zgbps-00046b-00@mole.slip.net>
While I feel strongly about the social aspects of accessibility, I posted the
following at


because I have a feeling that we can easily get trapped in divisiveness that
may not be productive. What do folks think?

Maybe it would be helpful to remember that accessibility to the Web is a vast
issue which is in its infancy and which involves more than these divisive
discussions about how inclusive our society should be.  

It is my personal desire to lend a hand however I can to build a society in
which people do not feel excluded or isolated. Even so, the power of the Web,
as its originator Tim Berners-Lee has said, is in its potentially universal
access. By nature, it does not depend upon a particular computer platform or
software; it is independent of the devices and the interfaces used to access
it. The Web is not television, it is not an electronic version of print. It is
an entirely new, potentially history-changing medium precisely because it can
create qualitatively different modes of accessing, manipulating and using
information and communicating and interacting with each other. 

Web TV is only the beginning. Accessibility features built into Web sites
not only benefit users with screen readers and voice synthesizers or those who
rely upon input devices other than the mouse. The voice-interactive and 
hand-held and pager-based interfaces which are on their way to being as common
as the cell phone will need Web pages which organize information in ways that
do not assume the user is sitting at a 17" monitor running the latest version
of Netscape and able to scan the content visually and figure out how to
navigate the site.  In the same way that curb cuts create obvious benefits for
persons using wheelchairs, the broadened accessibility they provide have been
beneficial to delivery people, people pushing baby carriages, and people on
skates. In my view the moves we make to create accessibility in the world
generate broad and tangible benefits, even if you think people who push for
access are asking to be "catered to."
Craig Wilson                            e-strats, inc.
415-434-2728                 San Francisco, CA
Received on Thursday, 19 November 1998 16:42:25 UTC

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