W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > w3c-wai-ig@w3.org > April to June 2001

today no short cut around technicalities

From: Al Gilman <asgilman@iamdigex.net>
Date: Wed, 11 Apr 2001 11:51:51 -0400
Message-Id: <Version.32.20010411095017.0415ef00@pop.iamdigex.net>
To: "Jonathan Chetwynd" <j.chetwynd@btinternet.com>, <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Writing for broad and rapid comprehension should always be a goal when writing
for this list.

On the other hand, eliminating technical language is not a reasonable
to set for posts.

At 07:32 AM 2001-04-11 +0100, Jonathan Chetwynd wrote:
>does anyone have any stats on the proportions of corporate to privately
>authored pages/hits.
>I suppose its a complex problem, however my impression remains that there
>are far more private sites.
>By private I mean any site which was developed without the means of an
>accessibility expert.


It takes a rather technical web developer to make the technicalities in site
use invisible.

In the U.S. there is a widely known advertising campaign with the slogan "It
takes a tough man to raise a tender chicken."

My message here is similar.  It takes strong technical skills in the
of a website to reduce the cognitive demands placed by that site on the
visitor.  Or even merely to eliminate sensory demands that form single-point
failure modes for use of the information offered by the site.

"Individuals rule the site count, but corporate content gets the hits."

My rough expectation is that most sites are individual, while most hits are on
'corporate' material.  Here I am taking a more 'Plain language' sense of
'individual' and 'corporate.'  Corporate sites by this definition are, give or
take, those where the dominant affiliation for the maintenance of the site as
indicated in the web content is to an organized group or a brand owned by such
a group.

>This gives all of us some idea as to the need to avoid technical language
>when communicating with this group.

"Nice work, if you can get it."

Getting your site accessible without getting technical is a worthy goal which
is beyond the current state of the art.  

This is particularly true for individuals.  Corporate site development can be
structured so only some of the people have to have the technical knowledge if
the other people follow rules for their piece of the action.  Individuals have
to do it all.

The sad truth is that avoiding technicalities is an unattainable ideal for
list in particular.  The state of the art of accessibility is that unless one
becomes fluent in the technology, one is not going to be competitive in
producing web content with good accessibility qualities.  There are tools that
help a lot. However, they have to be applied skillfully.  To be competitive
needs to master these among a range of techniques.  Currently, unless you are
reading the code that results from the tool applications, you probably do not
have your content development process sufficently under control to make the
results what is needed for access.

One of the audiences for this list are web content developers who have
been informed by their boss or customer that their job description now
satisfying Section 508 or some other regulation concerning information
accessibility.  Just as the recipe for checking accessibility starts with
"first, validate it," what these people need to learn is "first, understand
rules of the code for the medium you are working in."

I don't like this situation, but that's what I see as the facts.

Received on Wednesday, 11 April 2001 11:51:24 UTC

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