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Re: User Responsibility for Web Accessibility

From: David Woolley <david@djwhome.demon.co.uk>
Date: Wed, 14 Apr 2004 07:59:28 +0100 (BST)
Message-Id: <200404140659.i3E6xSJ01140@djwhome.demon.co.uk>
To: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org

> >
> > Actually, in a blue-sky sense, this is a good idea.  Hence the success 
> > of
> > the "... for Dummies" series, Cliff Notes, etc.  Anyone from the 
> > Semantic
> > Web want to chime in?

This is the sales pitch for almost every web, and to a large extent,
computing book in the bookstalls.  The result tends to be books that
are incomplete and misleading (I haven't looked at the specific series
mentioned with respect to this point), e.g. they are likely not to 
mention accessibility features at all, and provide presentational
browser dependent hacks, without explanation.  It also results in books
that are still far too full of jargon for real naive users.

The place where you go for real technical knowledge is not the bookshop
but sites like the W3C's, where you get the original source documents.

> Is there any reason why books shouldn't be written like that? Are we 
> assuming that only the most intelligent 5% without reading difficulties 
> are a worthy audience for books? What does that imply for the idea that 

Books are marketed to the people that buy them.  Perception of ease
of understanding is often more important than real ease of understanding.
There is so much knowledge required to properly use modern home PCs,
in fact even to use them in a very basic way, that if one wrote a book
that started from first principles, it would be so big that it would be
rejected by the modern instant-gratification culture.

Actually, it is not just the web were there is a lack of good basic
knowledge in the bookshops.  Try to find a book with fancy cooking recipes
and you will find 100s; try to find a book that describes the basic 
domestic science of personal catering (at a junior high school level)
and you probably won't find any.

(Most web design books that actually sell are recipe books, not theory
books.)
Received on Wednesday, 14 April 2004 03:15:36 UTC

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