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Re: Scott's Hypothetical Intranet

From: Gregory J. Rosmaita <unagi69@concentric.net>
Date: Tue, 26 Oct 1999 19:21:15 -0400
Message-Id: <4.1.19991026185546.00a14e70@pop3.concentric.net>
To: Kynn Bartlett <kynn-hwg@idyllmtn.com>
Cc: WAI Interest Group Emailing List <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
aloha, kynn!

one cannot just sit down and quote learn JAWS unquote and MSIE in one fell
swoop and expect to be proficient with both...

take the blinders off, kynn -- or, rather, put them on...   fire up JAWS
(after, of course, unplugging your monitor and mouse) and quote see unquote how
far you get (although you have an unfair advantage in that you are already
proficient using MSIE, even though i know that it is not your first browser of

oh, and don't read the printed manual or use the printed cheat sheets, either
-- as long as the monitor's off, you might as well use the audio cassettes or
the braille help sheets, too...

now, still using JAWS to navigate the web using MSIE, go to the HWG site...  go
through your online course pages...  the world quote looks unquote quite a bit
different, doesn't it?  i'm not suggesting that the HWG site is inaccessible,
but it is a lot different than you might expect when you experience it

no, real life isn't burger king, and you can't always have it your way, but
neither is the hypothetical blind employee a slab of frozen meat by-products,
to be slapped down upon a one-size-fits-all flame broiler...

learning how to use a new screen reader _AND_ a new application (not to mention
a spatially slash visually oriented environment) isn't as easy as picking up a
new browser WITHOUT having to rely on an assistive (and intermittently buggy)
intermediary...  when the employee without a disability is told quote the
company switched, deal with it unquote, nine times out of ten that employee
be able to quote deal with it unquote, because he or she can jump start their
perusal of the intranet by simply pointing and clicking, and despite the
vagaries of rendering between MSIE, Netscape, and Opera, the basic principle of
pointing-and-shooting remains the same...  and as for the differences in user
interface, those are most pronounced when one is using the keyboard, and least
pronounced when one is simply using a mouse and a toolbar to perform the bulk
of one's work...

but what happens when you can't see the targets?  what happens when you use the
mouse emulator to listen to the toolbar, and all you hear is

graphic number 173
graphic number 454
graphic number 291
graphic number 279
graphic number 69
graphic number 86
graphic number  99

even though you've sat down with a sighted co-worker not once, not twice, but 5
times to manually label each individual icon with the graphics labeler, only to
have the labels you defined (or which came prepackaged with JFW) ignored?

what if your assistive technology, and not YOU, is the one who is shaping your
perception of the content being presented to you?

with all due respect (and i do respect your work and all of your efforts in the
area of accessibility) this _IS_ an accessibility issue, kynn,

Kynn wrote:
>At 02:11 PM 10/26/1999 -0700, Scott Luebking wrote:
>>Suppose that a company buys JAWS for one blind employee who works
>>well on the intranet with it.  The company hires a second blind employee
>>who only uses lynx and refuses to use JAWS.  Is the intranet
>>accessible or not?
>First let's look at removing the disability from the picture and
>see if there's anything we can learn from that exercise:
>   Suppose that a company provides Internet Explorer to their
>   employees.  The company hires a new employee who only uses
>   Lynx and refuses to use Internet Explorer.  What should the
>   company do?
>In this case, it's very clear to me that if the employee _can_ use
>(is capable of using) Internet Explorer, and just chooses to use
>Lynx, it's reasonable for the company to require her to use the
>software they have provided to her for this purpose.  She is an
>employee, and just as an office may choose to use only MS Word
>for a word-processor, so can they also require that she use only
>the software provided to her for accessing the Intranet.
>Applying the same idea to the above situation with a second blind
>employee, I would say the same thing -- the employee should be
>required to learn JAWS.  The company should pay for all training
>costs associated with this, of course, as they would if it was
>just a case of training her to use IE; but it's perfectly reasonable
>for the company to require that one specific accessibility solution
>be chosen, as long as that enables the employee to do her job.
>This isn't Burger King -- in most jobs, you don't necessarily get
>it done "your way."  Someone who prefers Macintoshes may not be able
>to demand a Mac in a Windows-based office.
>This is not an accessibility issue.
>Kynn Bartlett <kynn@hwg.org>
>President, Governing Board Member
>HTML Writers Guild <URL:http://www.hwg.org>
>Director, Accessible Web Authoring Resources and Education Center
>  <URL:http://aware.hwg.org/>

ABSURDITY, n.  A statement or belief manifestly inconsistent with 
one's own opinion.       -- Ambrose Bierce, _The Devils' Dictionary_
Gregory J. Rosmaita      <unagi69@concentric.net>
Camera Obscura           <http://www.hicom.net/~oedipus/index.html>
VICUG NYC                <http://www.hicom.net/~oedipus/vicug/>
Read 'Em & Speak         <http://www.hicom.net/~oedipus/books/>
Received on Tuesday, 26 October 1999 19:15:08 UTC

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