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RE: how can faculty be advised on this project?

From: Denise Wood <Denise_Wood@operamail.com>
Date: Fri, 14 Dec 2001 14:37:28 -0500
To: poehlman1@home.com;EASI@MAELSTROM.STJOHNS.EDU;;
Cc: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
Message-ID: <3C247F9D@operamail.com>

I prepared the following response in answer to Scott's questions about 
universal design. I sent it but the email does not appear to have ever reached 
the WAI IG for some reason.

However it is also relevant in relation to the request from Alice. The example 
below has many similarities in that faculty requested an interactive java 
application to illustrate what is essentially visualization data.

I describe that briefly here:

One of our requests from faculty was to develop an interactive simulation of a 
satellite communication system. I have spent a great deal of time working with 
our designers to ensure they are aware of the W3C and Section 508 guidelines 
and make every effort to follow these guidelines in their development work. 
The programmer met with an academic from the School concerned with the 
development of this satellite communications program. While the academic was 
open to suggestions, neither the programmer nor the academic would accept that 
there was any way of reproducing this interactive experience for visually 
impaired users since the output is essentially a simulated screen display of 
what look like satellite dot patterns. At the very least we agreed we could 
use alt tags and longdesc to describe the simulation's functionality but that 
of course represents a different experience than the original concept.

I emailed Norman Coombs asking him if he had come across anything that could 
meet the requirement of the simulation in a way that could be accessible for 
people with disabilities. He sent me a prototype of an auditory graphing 
program which has a similar display (scattergram plots). Although a different 
application entirely, the academic and programmer could immediately see the 
potential. Essentially the auditory version narrates the options (ie x and y 
coordinates) that can be changed by the user and the changed visual display is 
accompanied by auditory signals (a bit like Morse code) which change pattern 
according to the pattern of dots on the visual display. This is true universal 
design - the auditory signals in fact make the simulation a more enriching 
experience for all students. The ability to selective turn off visuals and/or 
sound provides maximum flexibility and caters for different learning styles as 

The academic is in the process of writing longdesc content to also provide an 
expanded text explanation to accompany this. I'll share his approach with you 
when he responds. However that will be next year now as most of our academic 
staff have gone on Summer (yes it is Summer down under) vacation!

Hope this helps a little.


Dr Denise L Wood
Lecturer: Professional Development (online teaching and learning)
University of South Australia
CE Campus, North Terrace, Adelaide SA 5000
Ph:    (61 8) 8302 2172 / (61 8) 8302 4472 (Tuesdays & Thursdays)
Fax:  (61 8) 8302 2363 / (61 8) 8302 4390
Mob: (0413 648 260)

Email:	Denise.Wood@unisa.edu.au
WWW:	http://www.unisanet.unisa.edu.au/staff/homepage.asp?Name=Denise.Wood
Received on Friday, 14 December 2001 14:38:01 UTC

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