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RE: QED & Marshall McLuhan

From: Rich Caloggero <rich@accessexpressed.net>
Date: Fri, 11 Jun 1999 12:26:45 -0400
Message-ID: <01BEB405.AC576F40.rich@accessexpressed.net>
To: "'Kelly Ford'" <kford@teleport.com>
Cc: "'wai list'" <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
One of the things which in deed may make sites easier to understand by 
people with cognative disabilities is to use talking technology (screen 
reader or self voicing browser) so that the text on the page is both spoken 
and vissible. People who have trouble reading tend to bennefit from 
information presented in multiple modalities at once. Software such as 
Kurtzweil's Omni-3000, designed specifically to help those with reading 
difficulties, highlights the word, phrase, sentence, paragraph being read 
as it speaks the text. Thus, a self voicing browser with the ability to 
highlight as it speaks might be a useful tool for some.

On Friday, June 11, 1999 12:20 PM, Kelly Ford [SMTP:kford@teleport.com] 
> 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 
> is exactly what that something is.  I have a couple other thoughts to 
> into the ring.
> As I mentioned before I am blind.  Even the most accessible web site 
> will not be available to me without a screen reader or some sort of 
> 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 
> 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 
> 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 
> interpreter or realtime captioning into the lecture.
> None of this is meant to say that solutions at the content level 
> 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 
> content for the web have not clue one about what grade level their 
> is written at and how to effectively change it to a different level as 
> one example.
Received on Friday, 11 June 1999 12:33:12 UTC

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