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Re: [Fwd: [webwatch] How is access defined?]

From: Bruce Bailey <bbailey@clark.net>
Date: Sun, 13 Feb 2000 10:13:04 -0500
Message-ID: <38A6C9FD.D130669B@clark.net>
To: "Charles F. Munat" <charles@munat.com>, WAI Interest Group <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
CC: David Poehlman <poehlman@clark.net>, jay@peepo.com
It is difficult to define accessibility without context (are we talking buildings, conveyances, computers, web sites, touch screen kiosks) and without target populations (ADAG is good for the general public, but what an individual needs in their own home will be quite different).  With regard to web site development, the WCAG is an incredibly good tool for declaring one site "accessible" and another "inaccessible".

An accessible site meets ALL of the Priority 1 checkpoints of the the WCAG.  An inaccessible site fails to meet one or more of the WCAG Priority 1 checkpoints.

If you like, call this the bare minimum acceptable practice.  I can only hope that the Feds (and others who are developing guidelines and standards) are smart enough to save themselves a lot of work and that they actually literally reference the WCAG (as oppose to re-writing the WCAG into their policy).  The Feds have their work cut out for them though, they have to have policy for all information technology related activities, not just
web sites and kiosks.

This is not to say that accessibility is not a continuum.  A site can be useable, but be improved upon to be more usable.  A site can be well designed, but still have its interface improved upon.  An accessible site can become more accessible by addressing Priority 2 and 3 checkpoints.  I don't see any contradictions here.  I agree with Charles that we must be clear for less enlightened audiences that not everything is shades of gray.

Bruce Bailey


"Charles F. Munat" wrote:

> David Poehlman wrote:
> "I don't think we can actually define access or accessability in this context except to describe what it circumscribes."
>
> Reply:
>
> Do you think that clear lines can be drawn as to what is acceptable (and accessible) practice and what is not? Or should I say "clearer lines"?
>
> Up until now we've discussed accessibility in the context of web site development, with the assumption that anything that moved one in the direction of greater accessibility was worthwhile. And we've shied away from declaring one site "accessible" and another "inaccessible", preferring to see things as a continuum. But I wonder if, with regard to the ADA, we might not need to start thinking of how this might all play out in a courtroom.
>
> I believe that the ADA should be a last resort (or maybe next to the last, depending on how violent a mood I'm in), but I do believe that we need it for stubborn cases. So while I'm all for continuing our current "continuum" approach, I'm willing to discuss how things might be phrased differently for less enlightened (IMO) audiences, or for those who simply must have clear cut instructions.
>
> It will be interesting to see what the Federal regulations have to say (and how they say it).
>
> Ms. Waddell, if you're there, do you have any thoughts on this?
>
> Charles F. Munat,
> Munat, Inc.
> Seattle, Washington
Received on Sunday, 13 February 2000 10:13:01 GMT

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