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RE: Kynn's Definition of Accessibility, and Uncaptioned Webcas ts

From: Neff, Robert <Robert.Neff@usmint.treas.gov>
Date: Mon, 15 Nov 1999 15:28:32 -0500
Message-ID: <B1E68D292F3CD111A57C0000F67CB3CA01044398@WDCSRV03.usmint.treas.gov>
To: "'Steven McCaffrey'" <smccaffr@mail.nysed.gov>, jbrewer@w3.org, w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
Cc: kynn@idyllmtn.com
If something is not possible, then document why you cannot meet this
objective.  Last week I spoke with Jenifer Simpson, President's Committee on
Employment of People with Disabilities. If you are not able to meet the
guidelines, then document why you are not able to or make it available in
another format, for example, can people call in for the information or can
it be sent to them? There are other options until you can make it available.

I wholeheartedly agree the tools, training, and budgets are not there, but
they will come.  You can at least try and if you cant make it - document and
use that for justification as an interim solution.

/rob


		-----Original Message-----
		From:	Steven McCaffrey [mailto:smccaffr@mail.nysed.gov]
		Sent:	Monday, November 15, 1999 2:43 PM
		To:	jbrewer@w3.org; w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
		Cc:	kynn@idyllmtn.com
		Subject:	Re: Kynn's Definition of Accessibility, and
Uncaptioned   	Webcasts

		   
		Judy:
		I agree completely.
		I have found myself disagreeing more frequently lately on
policy or policy-like issues and at the same time agrreeing and admiring the
technical advice offerred on how to do this or that.
		I am trying to take a step back and consider those who seem
to be sayingg, basically, that 
		a. Perfection is not possible. and 
		b. in the "real world" 
		( the negation of which is an often mystical place since I
consider myself to always be in the real-world) there are such an such
considerations.
		Statement a. above is obvious and I don't see what it
implies.
		Statement b. is, in the abstract, worthwhile, but needs
fleshing out.
		I think all would agree that the ideal is maximum
accessibility.  The disagreement, if any, is over how?
		As you point out, there are some technical issues not yet
handled well with current tools.
		The web guidelines address this issue in many places, some
more indirectly than others.
		In some places there is the phrase about "interrim"
solutions.  In many places there is the phrase "graceful transformation" or
"graceful degradation".  
		My interpretation of phrases like these is basically common
sense.
		Some "user agents" don't support this or that so either
avoid a certain feature or provide an alternative.
		If you do use a certain new technology/feature, remember
those who might not have access by that particular mode.
		If it is known in advance that some feature will be used,
that will be inaccessible to some groups, plan ahead to provide an
alternative.
		I think we can all agree on these.  If any of us still
disagree, we need to communicate better exactly at what point do we
disagree.
		If some of us are facing "real world" impediments, whatever
the cause, we need to reach out and ask each other for help.
		None of us should be afraid to say "I know this is right, I
want to do this, but here are the obstacles I face.  Can you, as the
consumer, help me make a case to overcome these obstacles?"
		Those who insist on their rights to maximum (not minimum)
		accessibility 
		and those information providers who hav limited time /
resources
		must try not to oppose each other but work together.  
		Providers: Ask the consumers for help in getting more
resources.
		Consumers: Make your rights known, be as clear and precise
as you can.

		today's ideals *are* tomorrow's real-world.  We all can do
it.  I am an eternal idealistic optimist.
		 


		-Steve

		Steve McCaffrey
		NYSED
		(518)-473-3453

		>>> Judy Brewer <jbrewer@w3.org> 11/10/99 09:56AM >>>
		While several people have said that they agreed with this
"definition of
		accessibility" (see Kynn's original posting below), I think
that there is a
		danger in this definition.

		If I were to restate it in words I'd feel more comfortable
with, I'd say
		that the goal of Web accessibility is to maximize access to
the Web for
		people with disabilities. 

		So, why take out "percentages"? The Web Content Guidelines
Working Group
		very deliberately did _not_ make demographic slices of
different disability
		groups a factor in assigning priorities to checkpoints
within the
		guidelines. The checkpoints are instead prioritized
according to the extent
		to which they address barriers that completely, partially,
or only mildly
		impede access for various disability groups, not according
to what percent
		of the population those barriers impact.

		The "percentages" argument effectively matches the
"marketability"
		rationale for Web accessibility. If one looks the universal
design
		rationale (carry-over benefits from Web accessibility to
greater usability
		for other Web users) or the "requirements" rationale (for
some kinds of Web
		sites, in some countries, there is a requirement to provide
a certain level
		of accessibility) then the "percentages" approach has
shortcomings, as it
		may mean certain carry-over benefits being lost (such as the
efficiency of
		indexing and searching on captioned audio), or some groups
of disabled
		users not having their needs met (people with less common
disabilities).
		The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines are a prioritized
list of ways to
		ensure accessibility across disabilities, and across these
three
		complementary rationales.

		At the same time, it's not yet easy to have full access in
every situation.
		Captioning of audio and description of video are very
possible for
		pre-recorded multi-media, using SMIL (Synchronized
Multimedia Integration
		Language) or other formats. So, once a videoconference is
completed, it can
		be reproduced with captions and descriptions. On the other
hand, captioning
		of audio for a live teleconference is difficult with today's
tools (a good
		market opportunity for someone!) though possible; and
description of live
		video yet more difficult, though again possible with some
creativity.

		So, my conclusion would still be the same in this situation:
provide the
		maximum access that one can. I just wouldn't suggest
calculating it on the
		basis of percentages, since there are some groups who would
never get
		access with that approach, yet who need it as much as the
rest of us.

		- Judy

		At 06:21 PM 11/8/99 -0800, Kynn Bartlett wrote:
		>At about 1 hour 50 minutes into the webcast of the InterLab
accessibility
		>panel, a member of the audience asked an interesting
question, "I can
		>interpret some of what you have said to mean that we should
stop this
		>video transmission right now -- we have no signer, we have
no text.
		>How do you make those judgments?"
		>
		>It brought up an intriguing quandry -- should we refuse to
do something,
		>if it cannot be done accessibly?  (In this case, there were
no funds
		>available to hire real-time transcription or even
after-the-fact
		>transcriptions.)  Should SLAC have decided not to webcast
in that
		>case?
		>
		>Some people would argue "if you can't do it accessibly, you
shouldn't
		>do it."
		>
		>I'm not sure I agree with that.  Mainly because of how I
define
		>accessibility.  The way I see it is that any given web
service is
		>going to have a potential audience of a given size -- and
the
		>percentage of potential users who can use that service will
range
		>from 0% to 100%.  The GOAL of accessible web design is to
MAXIMIZE
		>THE PERCENTAGE OF POTENTIAL AUDIENCE MEMBERS WHO ARE ABLE
TO USE
		>THE SERVICE.  (Caps to make it stand out, not because I'm
shouting.)
		>
		>By that reasoning, ANY CHANGE WHICH INCREASES THE
PERCENTAGE IS A
		>STEP TOWARDS ACCESSIBILITY, and conversely, ANY CHANCE WITH
DECREASES
		>THE PERCENTAGE IS A STEP AWAY.
		>
		>Applying this to the case in question, let's say that only
50% of
		>the potential audience could use the Real Video file.  The
other
		>half don't have a compatible viewer, or they can't hear, or
they
		>can't see, or they don't have a computer (cell phone, PDA,
etc),
		>or any other reason.
		>
		>If we turn off the web cast, the number of people who can
access
		>that service goes from 50% to 0%.  This is not a step
towards
		>accessibility, my friends -- in fact, it's the opposite.
TURNING OFF
		>THE WEBCAST WOULD DECREASE ACCESSIBILITY.
		>
		>We need to be careful, when we make mandates about
accessibility,
		>that we are not saying "do it this way OR ELSE" -- because
then we
		>lead to an overall net effect in which accessibility is
decreased.
		>Our goal should always, *always* be to promote changes
which
		>increase accessibility, which means INCREASING the number
of potential
		>audience members who can use a service, and never to
DECREASE that
		>number.
		>
		>Agree or disagree?
		>
		>
		>-- 
		>Kynn Bartlett  <kynn@idyllmtn.com>
http://www.kynn.com/ 
		>Chief Technologist, Idyll Mountain Internet
http://www.idyllmtn.com/ 
		>Next Speaking Stop: New Orleans, 9 Dec 99
http://www.builder.com/live/ 
		>CC/PP Builds the Future of the Web --> learn more at
http://www.ccpp.org/ 
		>
	
_________________________________________________________________________
		Judy Brewer    jbrewer@w3.org    +1.617.258.9741
http://www.w3.org/WAI 
		Director,Web Accessibility Initiative(WAI), World Wide Web
Consortium(W3C)

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Received on Monday, 15 November 1999 15:28:41 GMT

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