W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > w3c-wai-ig@w3.org > July to September 2002

Re: Are Accessibility Standards Impeding Progress on the Web?

From: Jim Ley <jim@jibbering.com>
Date: Wed, 28 Aug 2002 15:58:15 -0000
To: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
Message-ID: <akis36$n8m$1@main.gmane.org>

"Martin McCormick" <martin@dc.cis.okstate.edu> wrote in message

> What we have is a lot of simple and, yes, primitive
> building blocks that can be strung together sometimes at a
> moments notice that do a good job of turning ASCII data in to
> speech.

Yep, absolutely for many people plain text representations as long as
they exist are extremely accessible, however that doesn't mean that plain
text will be accessible to all, images, animation, dynamics all add other
groups who can then access the content.

Also of course we can increase the understanding, and the ease of
understanding and using content by using these other technologies, and as
long as they authored in such a way that the plain text representation in
unharmed, then no-one has been excluded (although there may be other
issues concerning resource discovery etc.)

> Every week, I hear of some new kind of script, plug-in,
> or flash application that will probably do absolutely nothing
> because the version of screen reader, etc, doesn't know how to
> handle it so it is the old lynx javascript bugaboo all over
> again except you pay a lot more cash to fight with private
> vendors.

Javascript is an optional extra in HTML, just like CSS is, I'm sure you'd
agree that CSS shouldn't be smashed back to nothing?   Yes you can make
sites inaccessible with scripts, you can do so with CSS, mark-up
languages like SVG make a plain text representation useless.  Just
because the first machines produced shoddy work it doesn't mean that the
luddites were right and they should've been smashed, now the machines
have developed the machines are fine.

Yes, the standard of script authoring is woeful, but there's no way we
can evangelise people away from using it, the usability enhancements (*)
for the vast majority of users are simply too persuasive - demonstrating
techniques of how to author accessibly is the way forward, not to try and
smash the machinery.

>  Any information
> technology that is based upon hoping that everybody will
> "upgrade" whatever the heck that really means, is doomed to
> failure.

Indeed, but I in no way agree that upgrade is a requirement - there are
some serious problems with the Mark-Up languages that were created years
ago, and newer mark-up languages have more accessibility mechanisms built
in - so whilst upgrade need not be required, it does mean that if you
upgrade the ease and usability of content can be improved.

Equally though any broken access technology / browser shouldn't be used
as an excuse to not use the features of new technologies, the users of a
broken browser should not prevent authors exploiting well supported


(*) Often these are often percieved rather than actual of course...
Received on Wednesday, 28 August 2002 12:02:12 UTC

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.3.1 : Tuesday, 13 October 2015 16:21:20 UTC