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Re: Challenge: Defining accessibility

From: Steve Baty <steve@redsquare.com>
Date: Tue, 24 Oct 2000 16:41:16 +1000
Message-ID: <002c01c03d85$6b922b20$71044ccb@SYLVIA>
To: "Charles F. Munat" <chas@munat.com>, <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>

I think in terms of the Content Accessibility guidelines it is a bit much to
include "economic hardship" as a disability. Yes, agreed, it does constitute
a barrier for the user in terms of accessing the content, but it is not the
fault of the content per se. You can't blame the content when the problem is
actually lack of access to the technology as a whole.

However, would you (could you) draw the same parallels with Television or
radio? There is a certain amount of economic divisiveness here also - cost
of a TV, cable etc; same with radio. Is there, and should there be, an
initiative to make sure that all people have access to TV content regardless
of disability/disadvantage?

It is an ambitious and laudable goal, making the Web available to all
regardless of their situation in life. However, I think ensuring that those
people who _can_ access the 'Net are able to utilise the content is a good
first step.

----- Original Message -----
From: "Charles F. Munat" <chas@munat.com>
To: "WAI Interest Group (E-mail)" <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Sent: Tuesday, October 24, 2000 3:27 PM
Subject: RE: Challenge: Defining accessibility

> Dick Brown wrote:
> "The glossary for Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 1.0 provides this
> definition:
> "Accessible
> "Content is accessible when it may be used by someone with a disability.
> "That's not the comprehensive definition you are seeking, but it's the
> bottom line we need to keep in mind."
> Reply:
> But is it the bottom line? What exactly constitutes a disability? Is there
> hierarchy of disabilities?
> I ask because I think that an *economic* disadvantage (e.g., poverty) is
> much a disability as being unable to see or hear or think clearly.
> Consider two people who cannot read. One has a cognitive disability, the
> other is a victim of poverty. Is one more important than the other?
> I am not suggesting that we dilute the definition of disability. I'm
> suggesting that maybe the idea of accessibility ought to cover more than
> just accessibility to people with disabilities.
> Also, what does "someone with a disability" mean? Does that mean if my
> content is accessible to those with physical disabilities but not those
> cognitive disabilities, then it meets the definition?
> I'm leaning more toward a definition like this:
> Content is accessible when there are no unnecessary barriers to its use.
> anyone... regardless of disability or hardship)
> I think that definitions that single out one group are counterproductive
> divisive. And, I think, they create resentment and even hostility on the
> part of those not included. When you say "we're doing this for people with
> disabilities" many who do not include themselves in that group will say
> "what does that have to do with me?" But when you say "no barriers to
> *anyone*," you have no disincluded group.
> Charles F. Munat,
> Seattle, Washington
Received on Tuesday, 24 October 2000 01:42:57 UTC

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