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Re: QED & Marshall McLuhan

From: Kelly Ford <kford@teleport.com>
Date: Fri, 11 Jun 1999 08:38:34 -0700
Message-Id: <3.0.3.32.19990611083834.007bc840@mail.teleport.com>
To: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
After reading the past several days on this topic, it seems reasonably
obvious to me that something is necessary for some segment of the
population with cognitive disabilities who has the ability to access the
web to understand what they are accessing.  What is still not obvious to me
is exactly what that something is.  I have a couple other thoughts to toss
into the ring.

As I mentioned before I am blind.  Even the most accessible web site around
will not be available to me without a screen reader or some sort of talking
web browser.  I don't think we'd expect that the W3 guidelines on
accessibility would require each web site to build some sort of
self-voicing capability into the site that gives me the flexability and
independence that a screen reader or talking web browser affords.

I wonder if the solution to the barriers faced by those with cognitive
disabilities falls into the same category.  Do we need some sort of
assistive technology that can tailor information to the cognitive ability
of different populations.  I realize that such doesn't exist today but
perhaps some sort of translator could be explored.

To me accessibility has to include some measure of practicality of the
solutions being proposed.  Here in the US we don't expect every citizen to
own a TDD to allow someone with a hearing impairment to communicate with
anyone on demand.  Instead we all, through a tax on our phone bill, fund
the TDD relay system which allows telephone operators to handle this task.
We don't expect a college professor to give his lecture with his or her
voice and with sign language at the same time.  Instead we bring a trained
interpreter or realtime captioning into the lecture.

None of this is meant to say that solutions at the content level shouldn't
be explored.  But what I don't hear is a systematic solution that I can
take to web site developers and say do these things to make your site
accessible to this population.  I'd bet that the majority of people writing
content for the web have not clue one about what grade level their content
is written at and how to effectively change it to a different level as just
one example.
Received on Friday, 11 June 1999 11:37:51 GMT

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