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RE: Guild of Accessible Web Designers starts membership drive

From: John Colby <John.Colby@uce.ac.uk>
Date: Mon, 1 Dec 2003 18:17:24 -0000
Message-ID: <107DE25EC0216C45AEF670016024245F742ACB@exchangea.staff.uce.ac.uk>
To: <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
I must agree with Harry. On Thursday last I gave a talk to the BCS in Preston on the  rteasons for and ways of making accessible. The after talk discussion (continued in the pub) tried to find a better word for 'accessible'. We tries 'usable' but that needs qualification. My premise is that if you design to standards, no layout tables, no frames, no proprietary code, validate both your code and CSS in other words follow the specs you get accessible sites - and these sites work on devices for the 'disabled' and for mobile computing, pervasive computing, webTV and all that sort of thing.
For instance thin about an Internet enables car - you talk to a computer and ask a question about road traffic conditions - the web page then speaks back to you the answers. Cloud Cuckoo Land? Maybe not, think about how you could verbally ask for road traffic reports from acomputer and not have to wait for the radio - for me I'm usually alerted just when I've passed the last turn off I could have taken to escape the problem. This type of page is also accessible.
I just wonder if setting up a separate organisation calling itself 'accessible' is the right way to go - there should really be no discrimination in the first place. We have to concentrate on the user's requirements, no matter what they are, which browsing device they are using, where they are - I really do think that 'accessible' has become a convenient watchword for a certain way of testing (not working) and has lost the emphasis on 'design for all' (don;t like the phrase, but it's the best i can come up with at the time)
My qualifications? I teach web programming to first year BSc students (among other things) and have succeeded in making them code in XHTML and CSS2 from day 1. After 10 weeks I'm getting a web page assignment set that's valid, accessible, attractive, cross-browsing device - everything you need. I don't tell them it's accessible or any other artificial title - just that this is the way that they have to design web pages. They have stylesheet switching to change colours and type size, they have stylesheets that cascade via @import staements, they have done very well indeed. And thihs is first years!
John Colby 
Lecturer, School of Computing, Faculty of Computing, Information and English 
Room F328a, Feeney Building, University of Central England, 
Franchise Street, Perry Barr, Birmingham B42 2SU 
Tel: +44 (0) 121 331 6937, Fax +44 (0) 121 331 6281, Mobile: 0771 114 1621 
-----Original Message----- 
From: w3c-wai-ig-request@w3.org on behalf of Harry Woodrow 
Sent: Mon 01/12/2003 16:07 
To: 'Pat Byrne'; w3c-wai-ig@w3.org 
Subject: RE: Guild of Accessible Web Designers starts membership drive

	When I saw this invitation I felt pleased that at last Accessible Web
	Design may find a new forum and voice however my joy turned to
	disappointment very quickly.
	To me Accessible Web Design must focus on the users and this group
	apears to be be relegating them to a very minor place.  Accessibility is
	not a technical issue it is a people issue and it appears that the focus
	on people has been lost.
	An indication to this is the reference to "the disabled."
	Whilst when I am referred to as the disabled by most people I do not
	object as this is just ignorance however when an organisation purporting
	to be professional refers to people with disabilities in this manner I
	do as professionals should know that such references are offensive to
	I have great respect for the technical abilities of those who appear to
	be connected with this organisation however this site has led me to
	question the focus, making websites useable to people or performing an
	set of rituals in design regardless of the result.
	I hope I read this page wrong.  I fear I did not.
	Harry Woodrow

Received on Monday, 1 December 2003 13:17:27 UTC

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