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Re: OT (slightly): Salt Lake '02 Webmaster: Inaccessible site

From: David Woolley <david@djwhome.demon.co.uk>
Date: Tue, 30 Oct 2001 08:28:54 +0000 (GMT)
Message-Id: <200110300828.f9U8Sss01415@djwhome.demon.co.uk>
To: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
> >accessible, but to be honest, a lot of the improvements in web## technology
> >in the last 10 years are due to things that seem to not conform with W3C
> >accessibility guidelines. We try to keep the page weight down, alas it's

This is pretty much the standard "presentationalist" (someone who sees 
HTML as a page description language, and is generally in the majority of
commercial designers++) argument.  

This view tends to be re-inforced by the 20th century== belief that change
is the same as progress, i.e. that more flashy technology must be better
than a simple presentation.  This is re-inforced by advertisers, as it
is often the only way to maintain a revenue stream.

On the other hand, it tends to assume that the capabilities are actually
new and forgets the fact that HTML *deliberately* rejected existing~~
technologies, e.g. the contemporary versions of PostScript and PDF,
as well as various tools for authoring advertising presentations, and
what is really happening is the destruction of that distinction and a
return to the commercial mainstream (such re-convergence tends to the
fate of most succesfful niche standards in computing, e.g. C has got
more and more typed).  HTML is being used because:

1) browsers are pre-installed;
2) it is fashionable,

not because it is the tool that fits what they want to do (page
description).

The consequence for accessibility is that one probably has to rely
on the fact that designers are mistakenly using technology that
is capable of high accessibility to get slightly more accessibility
than they had intended.

++ In a commercial environment, page coders who veer towards the 
structuralist position on which the web was based, have to take on a
presentationalist persona, as that's what emplyoyers require of them.

## When they say web, they really mean "web browser" delivered multimedia,
as few commercial sites contribute to the web of criss-crossing links
that was responsible for the name "web" (e.g. see my caveat on purported
copyright restriction on deep linking recently).

== The 21st century is too new.

~~ For example, the original papers on HTML say that colour has no place
in HTML.
Received on Tuesday, 30 October 2001 09:13:36 GMT

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