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RE: Hiding email addresses in an accessible way

From: Phill Jenkins <pjenkins@us.ibm.com>
Date: Tue, 19 Aug 2003 12:29:20 -0500
To: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
Message-ID: <OFD4748B69.5B3983DC-ON86256D87.005B8B46-86256D87.006027A7@pok.ibm.com>



Jon wrote:
>As a developer I care about whether people can use what I produce, and if
>they can't then the reason why is frankly none of my business except in so
>far as knowledge of it might help me to fix the problem.
>
>Now as a matter of civil rights and social justice it is important to
ensure
>that developers do not, by intent or by neglect, discriminate against
people
>with disabilities. However when a developer wants to avoid something that
>causes an accessibility problem it doesn't matter who has that
accessibility
>problem, and acting as if it does benefits neither the developer, the
users,
>nor the civil rights campaigns.

I don't follow or understand this logic. Maybe I can restate the question
using a technology other than JavaScript.

If I don't have an e-mail client or can't afford an ISP or because of a
physical mobility restriction can't get to a center that does provide free
e-mail access, should the guideline be restated to require snail mail
(paper letters) be sent to me in addition to e-mail to others?

I agree that it doesn't matter who - the identifiable individual - has the
accessibility problem, but the guidelines are and have to be based of real
scenarios and real configurations of hardware, operating systems, browsers,
assistive technologies, and web content.  And the policies need to balance
the responsibilities of all the stake holder, including the browser
manufacturer, the web developer, the assistive technology developer, the
user, and government agencies.  In some cases, the better solution might be
to get the person an e-mail client that works for them as opposed to
require the developer to send snail mail.

I think what Clark was trying to say is that it might be better (less
expensive in the big equation, less time for users and developers, more
efficient for everyone, etc.) for the few remaining users to switch to a
JavaScript capable configuration than to require all the web developers to
redundantly code server side solutions for the JavaScript client side
solutions.

Another way to view the issue is to ask ourselves if JavaScript is a
disability issue?  In other words, is there a reasonable configuration of
hardware and software that allows a person with a disability to
successfully use the JavaScript enabled application?  For example, if a
person who is blind, using a reasonable version of a screen reader, with a
reasonable version of the OS, on a reasonable hardware platform - can in
fact use the JavaScript enabled application, then in my mind it is no
longer a disability issue.  And, don't we all want equal access to the same
stuff anyway?  Don't we all want equal access to the faster, more usable
client side enabled JavaScript functional shopping site, banking, or
whatever applications?  Yes of course we do!

The policy debate about what is "reasonable", affordable, available in my
country, etc.  may still need to occur at a national level, but at least we
have solved the technical disability access issue - which I believe is the
a primary charter [1] of this interest group.  We solved the images as part
of HTML by including the alt attribute, I think we are doing the same for
JavaScript by for example, enabling keyboard access to onclick mouse
functions.

Note 1: WAI IG Charter http://www.w3.org/WAI/IG/charter2.html#scope]

Regards,
Phill Jenkins
(my personal opinions, not that of my employer)
Received on Saturday, 23 August 2003 00:41:50 GMT

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