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RE: DC2002 and Accessibility Metadata

From: SHARPE, Ian <Ian.SHARPE@cambridge.sema.slb.com>
Date: Mon, 16 Sep 2002 12:03:53 +0100
Message-ID: <FA94B04D5981D211B86800A0C9EA2841011422E3@cames1.sema.co.uk>
To: "'Liddy Nevile'" <Liddy.Nevile@motile.net>, w3c-wai-ig@w3.org

I hear the words of causion expressed by others and these cannot simply be
dismissed. Indeed, how would you "categorise" a portal site which allows the
user to customize their "view" from a number of sources? Each source could
be "categorised" differently, some very accessible, some not so accessible?
You also could simply have a static page which is perfectly usable but
contains inaccessible but superfluous flash content. I think we all tend to
have a go to try to sue a site and even if we can't use it properly it is
still possible to get something out of it. I there is an argument on this
basis for just having 2 different value for the metadata, completely
inaccessible and "suck it and see". I don't feel these problems are
insummountable however, and feel more positive towards this approach. 

What information should be contained in your profile? This should contain
any access technology installed, browser configuration (eg colours/font
sizes, user stylesheet in use), OS display/screen configuration, and user
preferences. This could be created by any or all of the browser, access
technology, manually by the user or even the OS. A simple text file (XML)
could easily be maintained for this purpose. Since there is no personal
information I can't see any problems with storage or abuse of civil
liberties. This actually tells you nothing about the user themself, simply
how the system is configured. Could be anyone using it. So it could be
stored anywhere, smart card (but issues if you move to a different
machine?), on the web (as per smart card but perhaps more easily
maintained), but probably on the machine itself.

As the use of XML/XHTML becomes more wide-spread I can see large
organisations farming out work to provide accessible stylesheets which could
be used by "intelligent" web servers to transform content based on this
profile and metadata provided again by third parties (as was suggested
ealrier) appropriately.

The burden on large organisations to make accesible content (which I would
argue isn't actually that much anyway under the right conditions) could
actually be reduced and left to experts in this field. 

The use of meta tags for this purpose could be included in the guidelines
and even used to possibly promete the above desing model as best practice?
As government policy throughout the world adopt similar approaches to the
US, rather than "gettosing" accessible sites I this "categorisation" could
actually do the opposite. It could almost become a kind of kyte mark and a
sign of quality. All users prefer to use clear and clean sites and would use
them in preferrence to cluttered and unclear content. 

As technology improves web design tools could actually add the metatags

OK, so I've stopped dreaming now and woken up. Life isn't quite that simple
but I like the idea and feel that it does have potential. 


-----Original Message-----
From: Liddy Nevile [mailto:Liddy.Nevile@motile.net]
Sent: 15 September 2002 00:14
To: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
Subject: Re: DC2002 and Accessibility Metadata

Perhaps it is worth a few examples.

In Australia,
we have a large education program that is developing resources for 
distribution on line.
All of these must be certified to meet certain standards of 
accessibility. This metadata will be used to monitor the 
accessibility of all resources and changes to the resources will be 
checked to ensure the resource does not become inaccessible through 

The IMS Global Project has produced guidelines for accessibility and 
descriptions of users needs that will be encoded in metadata. Those 
implementing the IMS system will be matching users with resources, 
and expect to rely on the metadata, right down to the level of items 
in online testing activities.

In Canada, bank users are issued with smart cards that contain their 
needs as users. These can be used to transform the  ATM's output so 
that it is accessible for the user.

Technology on does so much however. It is still the case that some of 
the evaluation has to be done by humans, and this is why it is so 
important that the metadata proposed for accessibility contains the 
identity of the person (or agent) asserting the level of 
accessibility or accessibility standards compliance of the resource. 
Note: the latter is much easier than the former but that is why we 
are anxious to get to work on this.


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Received on Monday, 16 September 2002 07:21:10 UTC

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