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Re: What the Salt Lake City guy really said

From: <tina@elfi.org>
Date: Tue, 30 Oct 2001 18:06:42 +0100 (CET)
Message-Id: <200110301706.f9UH6jJ00542@cubitus.andreasen.se>
To: WAI Interest Group <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
On 30 Oct, Kynn Bartlett wrote:

> He says he's identified ways in which the site could be more accessible,
> but they've chosen not to do those -- most likely it's because he has
> the impression that to make an accessible web site, you need to remove
> certain "inaccessible components" from the design of the site.
> 
> Note that this is entirely a _self-generated problem_ on _our_ behalf.
> The only reason people really think that accessibility and {JavaScript,
> Java, Flash, multimedia, images, whatever} are incompatible is because
> someone in the web accessibility field either said it, or said something

  In 1993, Alan Flavell wrote:
  
   "In recognition of realities, HTML Purists encourage you to make 
    full use of all appropriate media for your purpose, but to ensure
    that the core of your message be available as well-marked-up text,
    so that it can be perceived by any reader in any reasonable browsing
    situation." [1]


  In 1995, Warren Steel wrote:

  "While the use of scripted actions on the web is increasing rapidly,
   it is essential that alternative means be provided to access a 
   site's information, since many users prefer to use browsers without
   these technologies, or to disable them in the user settings."[2]


  In 1998, Dan Tobias wrote:

   "TIP: There's nothing wrong with using all the latest bells and
    whistles to support snazzy features of newer browsers, but try 
    to do it in a way that still allows users not supporting (or 
    intentionally disabling) these features to access your basic
    content." [3]


  The examples go on and on. Whilst there is no doubt that some use
  words to tear down, many, many good and elequent writers have in the
  past expressed exactly this: you can have the bells and whistles AND
  accessibility.

  The information is there - and has been there for many years now. What
  we need to ask ourselves is *why* is it not being used ? There is no
  lack of information; there is no lack of *good* and well written
  information.

  Most of the people who today create "inaccessible" (for any meaning of
  that word you may chose to apply to it) websites do not even know that
  it is a problem. I still run across developers who claim

   "Are you telling me that visually impaired users actually surf the
    web ? This is very hard for me to accept"
    
   (Well, to be precise: "r u saying blind ppl surf? wtf ? u on dope?"
    was the exact quote)

  but I do accept that some of the 'web development communities' I am in
  touch with are not representative.

  Yes, there is a lack of knowledge - but the 'right way' has been
  explained and re-explained for quite a few years now without much
  success. 

  Claiming this to be a "self generated problem" does nothing to improve
  the situation. The information is there. The knowledge is there. Good
  teachers have spread it.

  There is no dark conspiracy of accessibility fanatics going around
  sprouting dogmatically and hard to understand 'scriptures'. We are,
  after all, not trying to teach anyone 'warp propulsion techniques'
  here; but attempting to suggest to professional developers with - one
  would assume - a good grasp of technical issues how to make their work
  better.
  


 [1]
  "Top 3 HTML Straw Man Arguments"
  Alan Flavell
  http://ppewww.ph.gla.ac.uk/~flavell/www/html-smac.html


 [2]
  "Hints for Web Authors"
  Warren Steel
  http://www.mcsr.olemiss.edu/~mudws/webhints.html


 [3]
  "Dan's Web Tips: Graceful Degradation"
  Dan Tobias
  http://www.dantobias.com/webtips/graceful.html
  
-- 
 -    Tina Holmboe                    Greytower Technologies
   tina@greytower.net                http://www.greytower.net/
   [+46] 0708 557 905
Received on Tuesday, 30 October 2001 11:52:49 GMT

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