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RE: Validation as test for basic accessibility

From: Kynn Bartlett <kynn-hwg@idyllmtn.com>
Date: Fri, 21 Jan 2000 19:32:21 -0800
Message-Id: <>
To: "Charles F. Munat" <charles@munat.com>
Cc: "Steven McCaffrey" <smccaffr@MAIL.NYSED.GOV>, <charles@munat.com>, <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
At 12:09 PM 1/20/2000 , Charles F. Munat wrote:
>Unfortunately, instead of considering the idea with an open mind, several respondents immediately took up arms to insist that Bruce is wrong. That pretty much defeats the whole purpose of Bruce's post (IMHO).

Charles, I agree with the rest of your post.  I don't think that people
took up arms to prove Bruce -wrong-, per se, myself included.  It's not
my intention to be "right" or "wrong," but I did feel that Bruce put up
an idea with the intention of having it taken apart.  (That's why I 
first asked what he was trying to get at...)

>I suggest that instead of insisting that valid sites are automatically accessible or vice versa, we look at Bruce's idea as an invitation to explore other methods for promoting accessibility.

Other methods are definitely useful.

>After all, have any of us done scientific studies to prove that our current methods are the best? Kin, you reacted quite strongly and defended your own teaching methods, but aren't those based on your own experiences rather than a formal and rigorous scientific study?

That's correct.  I don't think I reacted quite as "strongly" as you
think (and apologies if I came across sounding that way), but I do
admit that right now all the evidence for web accessibility promotion
and education is anecdotal.  I don't believe there's a large enough
body of knowledge to make any generalizations; all we can say is what
seems to work for us.

To support the idea that there's not enough knowledge to form 
conclusions -- how many people really do teach web accessibility
courses regularly?  I suspect the number in the world is relatively
low.  I'd love to be wrong -- I need more links for the AWARE Center
page and I'd like some "colleagues" in the field -- but I think that
there aren't that many of us.

There are some courses teaching web design or HTML that -do- include 
accessibility considerations, and those are great.  (Ann Navarro's 
HWG course in HTML 4.0, for example, gives a good introduction to web
design and includes accessibility as an integrated part of the whole

>I suggest we move beyond the arguments and instead use Bruce's idea as a starting point from which to explore new methods for teaching and/or promoting accessibility. Bruce, what say you?

Is anyone with a research budget and/or time on their hands interested
in doing some formal studies?  I could volunteer my students as
guinea pigs. :)


Kynn Bartlett                                    mailto:kynn@hwg.org
President, HTML Writers Guild                    http://www.hwg.org/
AWARE Center Director                          http://aware.hwg.org/
Received on Friday, 21 January 2000 22:54:05 UTC

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