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Re: Jakob Nielsen's PDF format report

From: William R Williams/R5/USDAFS <wrwilliams@fs.fed.us>
Date: Thu, 27 Dec 2001 12:03:48 -0800
To: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
Message-ID: <OF3352848A.C30CE58A-ON88256B2F.0068DC91@r5.fs.fed.us>


I'm having a difficult time with this thread, and other recent postings,
because some folks have (apparently) taken things personally. Perhaps this
is good, as emotionally-charged writings reflect the importance of the web
accessibility issue. On the other hand, how does one sincerely move toward
full accessibility if personality influences everything...a state which
leads to powerful disagreements?

No wonder web accessibility is such a mess.

The organization for whom I work (i.e., USDA Forest Service) purchased the
NNGroup Beyond ALT Text... report and made it available for my co-workers
upon my request. I believe the report is targeting workers in the web
development field and that particular audience will likely count Adobe
Acrobat as one of their development tools...it shouldn't be a problem that
this report is available only in pdf format.

It certainly isn't a waste of money either -- the 75 design guidelines
alone are worth the purchase. The guidelines offer nothing startling, just
solid design techniques that are worth the reminder. Too, that it is
research-based adds credibility to the entire concept. Research based.

While no one here talks about screen magnification, the report does while
providing guidelines to deal with it. Instead of troubling ourselves with
"his majesty," the price of the report, or its usability; why not focus on
its utility?

As I have gone about trying to explain to my co-workers about issues such
as constructing valid html files, implementing document structure, offering
alternatives to pdfs, understanding the conversion (to html) process,
labelling appropriately, etc.; I have met with a lot of resistence, even
from so-called "web producers," who often believe that hacking out a
FrontPage site is sufficient for presentation on the web. Take a look at
the "crap" we put out, starting at:


...it's embarrassing, Section 508 has changed what we do very little (tho'
we're supposed to comply with it), and, still, many with whom I work
believe they are expert. "Web minutae," "nirvana," and other such terms are
offered up often when I try to explain the importance of professional
mark-up to people who should know better. This is frustrating.

It seems everyone believes they know all there is to know about web
accessibility. Or, perhaps people are just compensating for a real lack of
understanding (by being 'know-it-alls"). I don't know, and it's frustrating
as well.

Meanwhile, the web -- mostly constructed by so-called experts -- is 3 times
easier to use for non-disabled people according to the Nielsen report.

I know my capabilities. A long time ago, I came to the conclusion that I
must approach web development work with a sense of humility; mostly because
things change so quickly and there is simply too much to fully understand.
Plus, about the time one thinks they're any good, along comes a site that
just knocks your socks off. I think being humble might help others here --
no one's expert.

I joined this list due to a recognition that the W3C is the clear leader in
the world of web development. And there's much to learn. Please let's work
together to make it a better web. Thanks.

Bill Williams
Communication Technician
USDA Forest Service, Region 5

Stay we no longer, dreaming of renown,
But sound the trumpets, and about our task.
--William Shakespeare

                    Poehlman"              To:     "Scott Luebking" <phoenixl@sonic.net>,    
                    <poehlman1@home        <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>                               
                    .com>                  cc:                                               
                    Sent by:               Subject:     Re: Jakob Nielsen's PDF format       
                    w3c-wai-ig-requ        report                                            
                    12/27/01 10:00                                                           

stuff it.

----- Original Message -----
From: "Scott Luebking" <phoenixl@sonic.net>
To: <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Sent: Thursday, December 27, 2001 12:36 PM
Subject: Re: Jakob Nielsen's PDF format report


One of the problems that the disabled community has is that in many
ways it is isolated because of people's reactions and also some of the
community's behavior.  If there is any chance of getting through
to people and educate them, it is not clear how this type of
rhetoric helps in that direction.

It now has me wondering if there is now a need for damage control.


> >>seems to me that if he was writing about accesibility, he'd have
> >>had a perfect opportunity to demonstrate it.
> It would not have killed the mighty NNGroup to have published the
> report in Acrobat 3 format (in keeping with his excellency's diktat
> to use outdated Acrobat versions) *and* the accessible Acrobat 5. As
> for accessibility in other forms-- it's essentially a printed report
> in drag. The obvious course of action is to sell an audiotape and/or
> a Braille version. Everybody's happy. (Impediment: The big fish in
> that small pond, RFB&D, can take months to bother responding to
> snatchmails and phone calls asking for a quote, and even then will
> demonstrate breathtaking incompetence. That's one of many reasons why
> my book ain't gonna be available in audiotape unless the Library of
> Congress or similar entity does the job itself.)
> >His primary audience for this was not people with disabilities.
> That horse won't hunt. Discussions of accessibility must be
> >PS:  Frankly, I find the price of Jakob's study much more
> >objectionable than the delivery format.
> As professional reports go, it ain't that bad. Even I sell my reports
> for vastly more than that.
> And for those of you trying to ply your "contacts" in the mighty
> NNGroup for help: Keep in mind that his excellency can and will
> forbid his employees to answer your mail if you displease him;
> NNGroup distributes essentially no free copies of anything (not even
> New Riders, his excellency's publisher and mine, gets comps of his
> reports); and researchers refuse to answer even politely-posed
> questions concerning small details of methodology (e.g., "How many
> subjects did you survey?"). There are reasons why his excellency and
> his royal consort are so very widely despised. The difference here,
> as compared to people like me, is that his excellency and his consort
> can get away with pretending the enemies do not exist.
Received on Thursday, 27 December 2001 15:03:46 UTC

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