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Re: UK Access Rules: a further point

From: Andy Heath <a.k.heath@shu.ac.uk>
Date: Sun, 19 Oct 2003 17:35:53 +0100
Message-ID: <3F92BD69.4090602@shu.ac.uk>
To: David Woolley <david@djwhome.demon.co.uk>
Cc: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org

>>but without clear unambiguous technology standards and
>>tools that provide ways to talk about conformance
> Objectively testable rules are great for company lawyers, as
> they remove risk, but they are bad for accessibility.

I don't disagree with your point but I didn't say rules.
I said unambiguous technology standards.  For example a
loosely-coupled logical architecture that includes components
that are standards for learner information and for labelling
content may be a good thing.  Such has the potential to increase
creative activity by providing a cohesive focus,
bringing together work which might otherwise consist of disparate
peices with overlapping (and thus redundant and confusing)

The issue to which I allude is not about limiting people to
following automatable checkpoints, just in bringing together
those parts that obviously do or should work together and
thereby eliminating unnecessary variation for variation's sake
(or to serve the purpose of ego of organisations).

Standards can enable if you take them to a sensible level
of specificity.  Its a question of how far you go.  I believe
there are ways to do the job and provide cohesion and not
restrict creativity at all.  I think there are simply too
many uncohesive pieces out there.  Bringing them together
would be worthwhile.

> They break in two ways:
> - the Bobby way - people code to pass the objective test without
>   regard to real accessibility;
> - by stifling creativity - they don't allow for new technology or
>   creative ways of making older technology accessible.
> Rules that are tight enough to force good practice are likely to
> be the target of loophole searches by designers, with an end result
> that is again not accessible.

Yes I agree. There is a role for human quality assurance
processes (as in validation by specific accessibility
organisations) too.

> Most UK legislation does not lay down specific rules.  There is a
> lot of recourse to phrases like "a reasonable person", "without

Hence my point about the need for a focus for approaches to this.
I don't mean the whole thing worked out as in "do it like this"
but a framework of technology standards which work together would
I think be a good way to go.

Andy Heath
Andy Heath
Sheffield Hallam University
Received on Sunday, 19 October 2003 12:55:26 UTC

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