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Re: Aie it's HUGE

From: Claude Sweet <sweetent@home.com>
Date: Mon, 07 Dec 1998 11:26:10 -0800
Message-ID: <366C2BD2.94C27D45@home.com>
To: Jason White <jasonw@ariel.ucs.unimelb.EDU.AU>
CC: WAI Interest Group <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Jason White wrote:
> A beginning or casual author would probably start by reading educational
> materials which would include suggestions relevant to universal design
> (E.G. documents produced by the Education and Outreach working group). The
> next stage in this progression would be to look at the summary of the
> guidelines which has been conveniently provided in the form of a table,
> referring to the extended descriptions provided in the guidelines where
> clarification is necessary. If examples and detailed discussion are
> required, the techniques document would be consulted.
> The page author guidelines have thus been carefully layered in such manner
> as to take account of diverse reader needs. They are supplemented by the
> invaluable efforts of the Education and Outreach working group.

The comments seem to refer to a well organized database that would
assist individuals who have enough knowledge to be able to formulate the
necessary questions. However, the materials are not designed as Computer
Assisted Instructional documents. Such an approach is designed to take
someone with no previous knowledge and guide them step by step through
the learning process. Branching is provided in the form of discreet
lessons/chapters and is further organized by skill levels (beginning,
novice, advanced, and expert) as required by the subject matter.

The problem that someone new to the issues of accessibility faces with
the web site is similar to a new computer user attempting to decipher a
computer hardware/software manual written by the engineers who created
the product. Each is standing at opposite ends of an elephant and they
both are wearing blindfolds. Its no wonder they have completely
different concepts of what the animal looks like.

Perhaps the issue of accessibility stated in the Web Accessibility
Guidelines 1.1 second paragraph should be reviewed.  "The user interface
must be accessible to all users....must be easy to understand regardless
of the user's experience, knowledge, language skills, or current
concentration level."

I believe anyone who has already designed a web page and is seeking help
to make it accessible is not offered a clear starting point on how to
determine the problems of a current site and clear options on how to fix
each problem.

A lack of a clear starting point exists for someone who is research how
to start an accessible site from scratch with different starting points
for beginners, novice, advanced, and expert html code writers. Perhaps a
different starting point would be desirable for individuals who use
Pagemill, Navigator Gold, Frontpage, and other html authoring shells.
These individuals do not write code and need special attention on how to
manually correct the code that exists behind their (what you see is what
you get) authoring window.

It would also be very helpful to have a detailed list of terms, complete
with descriptions and examples of their application.

Has the site actually be tested by individuals who have the various
skills I have described? This is the first rule in writing all
instructional materials. Observe the user as they view your materials
for the first time. Revise materials based on feedback. Repeat process
until bugs are eliminated.

Claude Sweet
Educational Technologist
Received on Monday, 7 December 1998 14:27:48 UTC

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