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Re: Jakob Nielsen's PDF format report

From: David Poehlman <poehlman1@home.com>
Date: Thu, 27 Dec 2001 15:29:43 -0500
Message-ID: <009901c18f15$38865f20$c2f20141@mtgmry1.md.home.com>
To: <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>, "William R Williams/R5/USDAFS" <wrwilliams@fs.fed.us>
I think that was my only personal remark to him but It has rought your
excellent message into which I have inserted comments marked with dp:  a
question or two too.

----- Original Message -----
From: "William R Williams/R5/USDAFS" <wrwilliams@fs.fed.us>
To: <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Sent: Thursday, December 27, 2001 3:03 PM
Subject: Re: Jakob Nielsen's PDF format report


I'm having a difficult time with this thread, and other recent postings,
because some folks have (apparently) taken things personally. Perhaps
is good, as emotionally-charged writings reflect the importance of the
accessibility issue. On the other hand, how does one sincerely move
full accessibility if personality influences everything...a state which
leads to powerful disagreements?
dp: personality is a fact of life but I do agree that it gets a little
high in the mix some times.  Often, it is not accessibility in this
instance for instance that we squabble about but something in the tone
of a message or a remark in the message that has nothing to do with
accessibility or perhaps just out of sheer frustration due to our
humanity.  I am mostly of a mind that email is just email.

No wonder web accessibility is such a mess.

The organization for whom I work (i.e., USDA Forest Service) purchased
NNGroup Beyond ALT Text... report and made it available for my
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
this report is available only in pdf format.
dp: it is not a problem that it is available in pdf If the pdf is
accessible and easily convertable into something that web developpers
who cannot use acrobat reader to read it can still have access to it in
braille or in audio.

It certainly isn't a waste of money either -- the 75 design guidelines
alone are worth the purchase. The guidelines offer nothing startling,
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
providing guidelines to deal with it.
dp: Screen magnification comes up quite a bit on this list and
deffinitely in my testing so I don't think the reort has anything over
us but since I cannot read it, I won't know unless it is provided.

Instead of troubling ourselves with
"his majesty," the price of the report, or its usability; why not focus
its utility?
dp: because in order to focus on its utility, I have to be able to read

As I have gone about trying to explain to my co-workers about issues
as constructing valid html files, implementing document structure,
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
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
offered up often when I try to explain the importance of professional
mark-up to people who should know better. This is frustrating.
dp: and I thought I was alone when I worked for a us federal web shop, I
got the same brush off.

It seems everyone believes they know all there is to know about web
accessibility. Or, perhaps people are just compensating for a real lack
understanding (by being 'know-it-alls"). I don't know, and it's
as well.
dp: I'm learning all the time.  I don't think the signals are that they
think they know it all, It is just that there is a lot of frustration
over things that are being made to seem so abnormal and abhorant.  It
kind of puts me in mind of the scare in the media last year before the
508 requirements hit the street about how difficult and ugly it was
going to be to make things comply.

Meanwhile, the web -- mostly constructed by so-called experts -- is 3
easier to use for non-disabled people according to the Nielsen report.
dp: If it is three times easier for non disabled people than for me than
why is not every non disabled individual out there buying, selling,
interacting, trading making and just plain having fun on it?

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
things change so quickly and there is simply too much to fully
Plus, about the time one thinks they're any good, along comes a site
just knocks your socks off. I think being humble might help others
here --
no one's expert.
dp: I guess this depends on how yu define expert and remember, this is a
continuum.  Skills you learned and which stood you in good stead several
years ago will still stand you in good stead now but newer skill sets
are emerging out of the continuum that were not available when your
quest began.  For instance, I am of the mind that many things are
separate.  I grew up with radio and tv and vynal discs and cassette
tapes and that stint with 8 track for a while and so on.  After I was
grown along came the internet for us and I've seen more changes over the
past 10 years on it than I saw the entire time I was growing up with tv,
radio and audio recording.  Now, we are at a point where all of this
stuff is connected and while I can intellectualize it, my peers who are
20 years younger live and breath it as I lived and breathed my
environment at that point in my life.  This makes for a completely
different view on things and there are other things that might cause
something to knock your socks off too but that does not mean you have to
be humble because of it although I don't knock humility.

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

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"
                    <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 15:29:17 UTC

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