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(unknown charset) Re: The first thing that I don't like about the WAI-IG list

From: (unknown charset) Bruce Bailey <bbailey@clark.net>
Date: Mon, 4 Jan 1999 13:10:17 -0500
Message-Id: <199901041809.NAA13263@smtp-gw2.vma.verio.net>
To: (unknown charset) "WAI IG" <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
I am very grateful that the Web Design Group wilbur guides were available
when I was first learning html.  Take a look at the following url for
example:
http://htmlhelp.com/reference/wilbur/quickref.html

If I was first learning html from the W3C 4.0 specifications I would be
really lost:
http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/
Although Raggett's 10 minute Guide to HTML is pretty sweet:
http://www.w3.org/MarkUp/Guide/

My point with the above references is that the time commitment is quite
variable.  Are you talking about ASCII with a few line of html that might
display as you expect with one version or another of MS IE or NN or are you
talking about code that will parse through a neutral validation service
without error messages?  I would argue that the "cost" for ACCESSIBLE html
versus VALID html is near zero.  (Of course, the cost  of good/clean/valid
html versus crappy html that works only with some browsers might be quite
high.)

The real difficulty is getting people to understand the difference between
a mark up language / web authoring and word processing / desktop
publishing.  The discussion on this list alone confirms that this is not an
intuitive concept.  The thing I like best about the WDG references is that
they emphasis the structure and the difference between logical and physical
markup codes.
 
I am most fortunate that my job duties include advocating for universal
design.  In all honesty, I would be arguing that accessible design was not
much work even if I did not believe it.  It makes these duties much easier
since I actually do believe this!  Like many in my field, I had an early
"conversion experience" regarding the utility of computers to people with
disabilities.  I think I speak for others on this list when I say we see
the same importance now regarding access to information which the web
incarnates.

I have heard this kind of commitment referred to as "technology
evangelism".  Some of these evangelists will argue the moral high ground,
as you think they should (your "second thing you don't like").  Some (even
though they are evangelists too) will stridently avoid this point (perhaps
they see it as a weakness or don't even believe it) and will argue all
other points.  Most advocates don't see any incompatibility between the
positions and think that access is both right and useful to the business. 
As others have written to this list, we need both.

Finally, I don't know that I agree with your "holier than thou" accusations
(your "third thing you don't like"), but having made all these religious
analogies, I guess I have given some rationalization for such behavior...

Bruce Bailey
Received on Monday, 4 January 1999 13:09:54 GMT

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