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The Salt Lake 2002 Webmaster

From: Kynn Bartlett <kynn@idyllmtn.com>
Date: Tue, 30 Oct 2001 11:02:58 -0800
Message-Id: <4.2.0.58.20011030105625.015d0d60@garth.idyllmtn.com>
To: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
Cc: ed.mitchell@saltlake2002.com
Hi everyone --

I talked to the webmaster for the SaltLake2002 web site on the
phone just now.  As I suspected, he sounds like basically a
decent person, he just hasn't gotten the right message from us.
For example, he believes that the W3C guidelines specify that
you can't use Cascading Style Sheets.  I believe that this is
actually a very valid BRIEF reading of the WCAG document, which
says to make sure the site is usable without style sheets.

Now, a more detailed reading of that -- and of every other
checkpoint -- would pretty much dispel that notion.  But this guy
has got a web staff of one, and a 6,000-page web site, and quite
honestly it is difficult for someone to devote the amount of time
needed to read WCAG at the level of detail where you don't get
tripped up over the surface details.  It should be enough to skim
the checklist -- and if you do that, you get a wholly misleading
sense of what "web accessibility" really means.

I gave Ed the address of our archives, and I invited him to respond
to the concerns on this list.  Hopefully he won't feel too attacked
(although I fear that may be inevitable), and he'll be able to
learn something from us instead of having to defend himself.  When
we attack, we put people on the defensive, and being defensive is
counter to learning.

Ed was very pleased to hear that there are ways to code the site
that don't involve "dumbing it down" graphically or removing site
features, function, or appearance -- that is a message that had
never been communicated to him.  I offered my assistance with
pointers to such information, and he was happy to hear that he
could retain what some would call his "bells and whistles" while
still making general accessibility improvements.

I rate that as a success.  That is the message we need to get
out -- that is the awareness we need to raise.  Ultimately web
accessibility is about making people AWARE -- not about vanquishing
wrongdoers.

--Kynn

-- 
Kynn Bartlett  <kynn@idyllmtn.com>                http://kynn.com/
Chief Technologist, Idyll Mountain Internet   http://idyllmtn.com/
Online Instructor, Accessible Web Design     http://kynn.com/+d201
Received on Tuesday, 30 October 2001 14:08:26 GMT

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