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Re: Out of bounds?

From: Philip Ramsey <jamaican@colis.com>
Date: Fri, 16 Jun 2000 13:33:57 -0400
Message-ID: <394A6504.EA273D@colis.com>
To: pjenkins@us.ibm.com
CC: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
Hi Phill, William and all,

I joined this mailing list recently after discovering the WAI section of W3C.
Although I have been on the internet since 1995, and discovered W3C soon after,
I did not know WAI existed till the beginning of May this year.

A little about me. I do volunteer work in Jamaica for a number od non-profit
organizations in Kingston. One is the Jamaica National Children's Home
(http://www.jnch.org.jm/) which cares for abused, abandoned, disabled and
orphaned children. Another is the Betta World Foundation
(http://bettaworld.freehosting.net/) which was established by Michael Laing,
Henry Robinson (Unique Vision band), and Robert and Henry Lawson (both of
Jamaica Society for the Blind). They all have two things in common, they are
blind and they are musicians.

Since I created and maintain both web sites and am now aware that there are
software to enable the visually challenged to enjoy the web, I am going to
attempt to make all my sites disability friendly. To do this I would like to
see a web authoring tool that would make my work easier. Or at least a version
of WebTutor from PROFESSIONAL WEB DESIGN (http://junior.apk.net/~jbarta/) for
the disabled.

I have got trial versions of Conversa Web3, pwWebSpeak32 and Bobby311build7
(for testing how useful the site will be to the visually challenged). I am in
the process of learning the capabilities of these software so as to understand
how people with disabilities will experience my sites. I would like to be able
to say with confidence that anyone visiting my site regardless of ability will
enjoy my sites and interact with my sites to the best of their abilities.

Once I have completed my testing of the above software I will let you all know
my opinion of them. I would also like some assistance with providing members of
the Jamaica Society for the Blind with computers to truly evaluate these
software. I believe by including a more diverse group in these discussions we
will be able to create a better understanding of the technology we are all
working to create. I also believe that what enables the visually challenged to
interact with the web will be good for e-commerce as it will enable this group
to shop on-line like the rest of us.

Regards

Philip Ramsey

pjenkins@us.ibm.com wrote:

> William I am with you when you say:
> if usability/universal design considerations are about things that
> make a site impossible/difficult to use *regardless of whether this is
> true for everybody or just PWDs* it is a priority1/priority2 issue.
>
> for it is a priority issue when a website is impossible/difficult to use.
> It has been my experience, since the first usability test I ran on the PC,
> way back in 1981, that there are no accepted definitions of "impossible"
> usability design.  Sure there are ISO standards for usability and such.
> There are even resources, working groups, conferences, etc. on usability
> and Human Factors that clearly out number any of the resources about
> accessibility and rival the resources about the Web and the Internet.  But
> most of them are more "rule of thumb", or levels of usability.  For
> example, we can measure if a task is easier for this audience to do with
> these tools as compared with a similar audience with those tools.  And they
> measure things like time to completion, satisfaction of the user, number of
> steps to complete the task, etc.  There were (probably still are) movements
> around to get "usability ratings" on products - including things like, did
> this product [or web site] even/ever conduct a usability design
> evaluations, user tests, beta test, etc.
>
> So why do you think we - the WAI working groups - can or should do the
> Usability/Human Factors community's job of defining usability
> considerations?
>
> I believe that part of the "hard to use" problems lie in the difficulty in
> the user interface of the assistive technologies.  How well one knows how
> to use Home Page Reader, for example, greatly affects the surfing
> experience of jumping, skipping, and searching around a web site.  How easy
> it is to learn the interface of Majic, the magnifier for example, is
> another consideration.  Remember the "dueling screen reader" shoot outs at
> CSUN a few years back... Then there is the familiarity with the web site
> itself.  Now that I know how Yahoo works, I can get around rather quickly -
> even using HPR.  Then there are those sites that take seven screens of
> advertising to get through to get to the final confirmation of the purchase
> - in many of those cases we have a choice - go to another easier site.  So
> we end up at those few critical sites - maybe a voting on-line site, that
> has to be both usable and accessible.  Perhaps regulations should point to
> the best usability guidelines out there as well as the best accessibility
> guidelines.  I'll even vote for mandating that the usability practitioners
> include persons and technology for disabilities in their work.  But I do
> not think we have the bandwidth to address the "usability and human
> factors" in our accessibly bounds.  Besides, this needs to be a charter
> discussion - to put it in W3C terminology.
>
> Phill Jenkins

--
Philip Ramsey | Subscribe to my newsletters @
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Received on Friday, 16 June 2000 15:19:02 GMT

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