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RE: belittling designers, two kinds of accessibility

From: Anne Pemberton <apembert@crosslink.net>
Date: Fri, 20 Oct 2000 18:21:37 -0700
Message-Id: <>
To: Wayne Myers-Education <wayne.myers@bbc.co.uk>, w3c-wai-ig@w3.org

	Read your note at lunchtime but was unable to write a reply then, but
enjoyed the prospect of doing so all afternoon, as my first and second
graders (6-8 yr olds) created their digital art and we saved the best to go
on the school web site. The kids whose art is there from last year were
most emphatic about making a contribution again this year... 

	The term that sounds "limiting" to me is "documents". The web is already
more than documents, and seems likely that the web will continue to grow
past that definition.

>Here in the UK, I am going to be
>stuck with a 56K modem for some considerable time to come, and I know that
>there are many many people around the world who connect to the internet at
>still lower speeds.

I am one. My modem if 56K but we are so far from the major trunk lines that
usually we are zooming along at abou 26K. As I've said before, this doesn't
seem to be a problem to us, even tho we are usually using sites heavy on
graphics and look forward to sites with multi-media. 

> And anyway, that ain't the web.

What is it, if it isn't the web? 

>Having large amounts of bandwidth *is* currently only for the privileged,
>and while this remains the case, the original concept of the web is here to
>stay. Thankfully.

On this side of the "big puddle", many cities now provide the web via TV
... no bandwidth at all needed at the user end, just a tv, and a connecting
box with keyboard. Web-TV, one of the orignal tv web services, started out
not supporting the multi-media, but customer demand is putting a rush on

 As for the horseless carriage analogy, now that we have so
>many horseless carriages running around on the roads we have serious
>consequent problems due to congestion and pollution. I wouldn't take the
>analogy too far, but I'd point out that the average speed for vehicles on
>the road in London, where I live, is the same today as it was 100 years ago,
>due to congestion and despite the fact that we 'all' have cars - in fact
>precisely because we 'all' have cars - and they get in each others' way.

Ah, I asked my colleague, the librarian to estimate how long it would have
taken to "commute" to Richmond 100 years ago, and we decided it would be an
all-day journey one way. My husband makes the round trip daily in about 2.5
hours total. I enjoy my rural setting! I drive between home and school at
60 miles an hour on an uncongested highway that was built, as were the rest
of the US highway infrastructure, to meet the needs of the burgeoning car
owners and drivers. The example of the horseless carriage (in addition to
the name change in this century), is the fact that as roads were needed,
they were built, and continue to be built, to meet the growing needs. 

>If we all had home pages one megabyte in size (ouch), I suspect it would be
>just as annoyingly long a wait to download on a fast connection as it is
>today with 100K home pages (ouch) over 56K modems. I'm not sure of the exact
>maths but suspect it isn't good.

Well, my homepage averages between 5 and 7 mg depending on whether I've got
any large sound files on it or not. I guess I'm a bandwidth hog, but it's a
useful way to handle family photos and other stuff when family is spread
from sea to shining sea.

 Meanwhile, textfiles are small and lean and
>multi-media isn't. And thus will it forever be.

Tut, tut, nothing is forever. Multi-media may always be larger than text
files, but they may not always be as hoggish as now. No matter how small
and lean text is, and however hoggish multi-media is, if what you need is
in multi-media, the size pales in significance!

>I'm sorry, Anne, but this argument sounds absurd to me. It is as if you have
>been given a fish and are complaining because it is not a bicycle. 

No, I'm complaining because steaks are being served to some, while others
are being told to settle for veggie burgers. 

Similarly, the bicycle here - the vision of device-independent
>multi-media universally understandable by all, ought not be based on the
>fish that is web, but should be built as a bicycle from the ground up.

Which means two webs .... one of textfiles and one of everything else? But
if both webs use the same technology, they are the all the web. If you use
it for textfiles and I use it for multi-media, why is there a problem? If I
get to a site and it's all text, I can choose to stay or leave, and you can
do likewise with a site you feel has too much multi-media, or multi-media
that doesn't meet your needs. 

In my job, I search for and use or list for other teachers to use, site
that 1) provide a printable for a lesson, 2) provide picture/s to display
during a lesson, 3)can be used online in a lesson, or 4)can stand alone as
a lesson. Number 4)causes me to want multi-media online, and not just for
the 400 "regular" kids in the school, but also for the nearly 50 special ed
children including several with severe handicaps, many with some level of
cognitive disability. For the special kids, the online multi-media lesson
means it can be provided to the child at the appropriate time, not
necessarily when a larger group is ready for the lesson, or it can be
presented multiple times so they can increasingly master the content. I
could go on, about the first three, but they perhaps more easily fall under
the category of documents anyway ... 

	I cite the problems on my job because the materials I seek are, with
different topics, exactly the presentations needed by those with cognitive
difficulties ... 


>Hope this make sense.
>Cheers etc.,
>This e-mail, and any attachment, is confidential. If you have received it
in error, please delete it from your system, do not use or disclose the
information in any way, and notify me immediately. The contents of this
message may contain personal views which are not the views of the BBC,
unless specifically stated.
Anne L. Pemberton
Enabling Support Foundation
Received on Friday, 20 October 2000 19:45:57 UTC

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