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Is WAI really this arrogant?

From: Steven Dale <sdale@stevendale.com>
Date: Tue, 30 Mar 2004 13:58:52 -0500 (EST)
Message-ID: <4933.68.232.129.117.1080673132.squirrel@www.stevendale.com>
To: <poehlman1@comcast.net>
Cc: <sdale@stevendale.com>, <lists@zstudio.co.uk>, <david@djwhome.demon.co.uk>, <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>

David Poehlman said:
>
> Steven and all who may have joined us late,
>
> I have said this before on this list and I will say it again here in
> this  context.  First, there are quite a variety of at out there and
> asking people  to test them by learning and using them is considered by
> many to be way too  much.
Too much?  The arrogance in this statement undermines WAI's supposed purpose:
"The World Wide Web Consortium's (W3C) commitment to lead the Web to its
full potential includes promoting a high degree of usability for people
with disabilities."

As you state later in your message:
> I want to end by saying that if you don't use at on a daily basis, there
>  isn't much you can really know about how it works.
So let me get this right, WAI wants to set the guidelines for accessiblity
in web pages without bothering to learn how the websites are truly
accessed?  Did you know that there was a study done on Augmentative
Communication Devices which had pre-determined speech programmed into
them.  The results were as follows: those who programmed the speech
devices had programmed what the user REALLY wanted in only 10% of the
time.  THE OTHER 90% WAS NOT WHAT THE USER WANTED TO SAY.  Did the
programmers not know how to use those devices?  Well, yes and no, yes they
could make them work.  Did they actually learn to use them as if they HAD
to?  And here's my point, all this discussion is a waste of time IF the
people that are doing the discussion are not aware of what is ACTUALLY
being discussed.

Now, here's the rub, WAI doesnt want to take the time to truly learn the
devices. WAI therefore sets guidelines that arent really helpful those
with disabilities.  Those with disabilities dont use the ineffective tools
based upon WAI's guidelines.  Those who take the time and effort to make
these tools cant therefore sell them and make a decent ROI.  Therefore the
answer to Ian's question:"...Microsoft and other key vendors to pay more
than lip service to web accessibility..."


>  The guidelines that became the wcag took a
> long time to develop and  at the time were the most deffinitive shot we
> had at making the web a better  place.
True, at the time.

>  We do discuss among our selvs
> here on this list from time to time
Time to time?  Isnt this what the list is for?

>  ways to make things better and in
> fact, as you may know an effort to publish  a new set of guidelines has
> been under way for quite some time.
Yes and I like the new organization of the guidelines... They are headed
in the right direction I believe

> If you have  time and energy, your
> expertise would be extremely helpful in this regard.
I have time and access to an AT Lab that has many of these devices.  I
would love to help, but I dont think much of my advice would be wanted,
because I dont think the answer is in the latest greatest whizbang
technobabel.  True, user agents and other tools can make it much easier
and more accessible.  But, what is missing is the "soft" design
guidelines.  I am referring to skipping sections on the fly (not having to
jump to an index) and making buttons and links big enough so that use with
eye gaze systems can select the button that is wanted.

>  There are many
> factors that go into producing a set of voluntary guidelines  especially
> by group consensus and so the current wcag and its children will  flow
> from that consensus as well.  Section 508 is a different animal in that
> there were considerations which at least for the web portion limitted
> what  was thought to be acceptable as a standard due to the slipery
> nature of the  slopes that were covered in some of the guidelines.  The
> pre amble of the  standard explains this so I won't go into a lot of
> detail here.
Having worked with/on Bell Core standards,  I am well aware of this.


Now, I dont expect everyone on this list to be intimately aware of all the
AT devices and ways to access the web.  But, I expect more credence to be
given to those who do have intimate knowledge over those who want to
advocate the latest standards.

-Steve
Received on Tuesday, 30 March 2004 13:59:08 UTC

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