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RE: User Responsibility for Web Accessibility

From: <Kurt_Mattes@bankone.com>
Date: Tue, 23 Mar 2004 07:11:57 -0500
Message-ID: <B239BEDED044074C8E2CCC3A9162F2A905B48978@swilnts804.wil.fusa.com>
To: <tobias@inclusive.com>, <wai-ig@cookiecrook.com>, <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>

Jim Tobias wrote...
>What percentage of
>consumers understand how to configure their browsers?  I would guess less
>than 5% of consumers with disabilities have the necessary information and
>confidence.  Is that their fault?  If not, why should they be punished?

What is so difficult about learning how to configure a browser, user agent
or any other application?  Yes it is the users fault, no designer or 
developer can put "...the necessary information..." into someone.  If 
learning is the issue, teaching is the solution.  I can write a book, but if 
you don't read it you will never learn what it contains.  Is the author 
obliged to read it to you and make sure you understand?  Or should all books 
be written in extremely simple language so even those with the lowest level of intellect can comprehend it?  If a user, any user, does not understand something, it is their obligation to seek the necessary knowledge.  It does 
not matter what it is, a kitchen appliance, toy, game, stereo, or web site,
if you want to use it you must learn how.  I think this is why directions, owner manuals and user guides exist.  Gaining knowledge may not always be an 
enjoyable experience.

The designer and developers obligation is to assure that when common web 
applications are used properly with or without accessibility assistance 
enabled, the information and interactivity of a site is available.

Kurt Mattes
Application Development Analyst-Lead Developer
(302) 282-1414

-----Original Message-----
From: Jim Tobias [mailto:tobias@inclusive.com]
Sent: Monday, March 22, 2004 3:37 PM
To: 'James Craig'; w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
Subject: RE: User Responsibility for Web Accessibility

I have 2 conflicting philosophical responses to your excellent, provocative

1. Of course it's the user's responsibilitiy, once the designer has
discharged his/her accessibility duties.  That's why the phrase "until user
agents can..." is used.  How can it be right to hold a designer hostage to
certain technologies merely preferred by some users, if suitable
alternatives exist?  Looking at the issue economically, there is a set of
costs for backward compatibility.  If a "backward" user agent still exists,
but is used by only a handful of people who all could use something else,
the accessibility cost per user becomes too high to justify. (This is
especially true if we assume that only so much money will be spent on
accessibility overall.  Then every euro spent on "unnecessary" backward
compatibility prevents other accessibility improvements that may serve the
same people better, or serve many more people.)

2. Of course it's not the user's responsibility!  Many of the accessibility
settings in today's user agents are not defaults.  What percentage of
consumers understand how to configure their browsers?  I would guess less
than 5% of consumers with disabilities have the necessary information and
confidence.  Is that their fault?  If not, why should they be punished?

I'm not sure you will gain anything useful for your update, but I think such
points are important to consider.  Let me thank you again for allowing us to
raise our eyes from the everyday technical tasks to a larger arena.

Jim Tobias
Inclusive Technologies
732.441.0831 v/tty

> -----Original Message-----
> From: w3c-wai-ig-request@w3.org 
> [mailto:w3c-wai-ig-request@w3.org] On Behalf Of James Craig
> Sent: Monday, March 22, 2004 12:17 PM
> To: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
> Subject: User Responsibility for Web Accessibility
> I am about to post a follow-up to a topic brought up in our 
> SXSW panel, 
> but I wanted to get some more feedback, first. Any thoughts?
>   User Responsibility for Web Accessibility:
>   <http://cookiecrook.com/sxsw/2004/demo/>
> Thanks in advance,
> James Craig
> -- 
> http://cookiecrook.com/

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Received on Tuesday, 23 March 2004 07:12:41 UTC

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