W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > w3c-wai-ig@w3.org > April to June 1999

Re: QED & Marshall McLuhan

From: Ann Navarro <ann@webgeek.com>
Date: Tue, 08 Jun 1999 12:56:33 -0400
Message-Id: <199906081657.MAA14116@www10.w3.org>
To: Anne Pemberton <apembert@crosslink.net>, w3c-wai-ig@w3.org, Chris Maden <crism@oreilly.com>
At 12:44 PM 6/8/99 -0400, Anne Pemberton wrote:

>have achieved full status in society - they marry,
>they raise children, they hold jobs, they pay taxes, and they are standing
>at the doorway to the Internet and wondering when someone will let them in
>(outside of schools).  

People with cognitive disabilties are no different than anyone else when it
comes to access to the internet -- they need access to a computer and a
dialup account. If they live with an extended family, it might be found
there. If they are independent while at the same time of limited means, it
will depend on their income level and/or opportunity to obtain
hand-me-downs or second hand equipment just as it depends for anyone else
of limited means. 

The argument here didn't start as a meta-argument about whether those with
cognitive disabilities should be able to use the web -- of course they

The assertion was that the W3C site was deficient because it's primary
communication medium is text -- and "technical" text at that. For the W3C
site to serve it's purpose, that is the most appropriate means of
communication. Specifications are specific, which require specific language. 

Does that mean, then, that those with cognitive disabilities shouldn't have
access to information on the web? of course not. But rattling sabers at W3C
for perceived failures on a technical site isn't the most logical way to
improve the experience of those folks. It does not logically follow that by
providing information on accessibility through the WAI program that the
entire W3C web site (or even the WAI site) must be presented in a
non-technical, image based manner. 

>Folks, consumers, & taxpayers (and potential tax payers) want to be
>included in the future, not shunted off to a side room for "illiterates". 

Great, we want them to be included -- nobody is saying they shouldn't be.
But is it realistic to expect that technical specificatons be presented in
a manner (if it's even possible to) that would be fully understandable to
someone who really is illiterate? 


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Received on Tuesday, 8 June 1999 12:57:57 UTC

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