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Re: The way of the wai:

From: Steven Dale <sdale@stevendale.com>
Date: Tue, 30 Mar 2004 18:48:48 -0500 (EST)
Message-ID: <1309.>
To: <poehlman1@comcast.net>
Cc: <sdale@stevendale.com>, <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>

David Poehlman said:
> What is a certified at specialist?
I am finishing up a certificate program in Assistive Technology and plan
on continuing onward for my masters in ed. specializing in AT.  There is
even a doctorial program for AT here if I can last that long...LOL.  This
current program is offered by the Graduate School of Education at George
Mason University in Virginia, US http://www.gmu.edu  while it is under the
education arena, it is valid AT information in general.  There is a
program at GMU: The Kellar Institute for Human DisAbilities (KIHD) is an
interdisciplinary campus based organization that focuses on the mission
statement,"improving the lives and productivity of persons with
disabilities." KIHd combines the resources of George Mason University
(GMU) with local, state, regional, national, public, and private sector
agencies and organizations to develop products, services, and programs for
persons with disabilities. http://chd.gse.gmu.edu
I am involved as a student employee for KIHd working as a Lab Technician
in their AT Lab as well as their communications technician and support for
the distance education classes for KIHd.

>  Tell us more about how you use the
> web?  I have low vision and my favorite tool is the Big Shot screen
enlarger.  As I was working all those years coding and designing telecom
stuff, I was always urged to try a screen magnifier.  Well they may be
helpful, but as an engineer, with many windows needed to be open at
once, the screen magnifier got in the way.  (my point of not considering
how the user uses things is very evident here)  I was always getting
lost trying to find the window that I wanted to change to.  Well, Big
Shot has a setting to only enlarge the current window.  WOW!  That is
what I needed,  I could see all the other windows, just couldnt read
them. With Big Shot, I can read the window I am working on yet still
have the other windows relatively accessible easily.   The more I play
with screen readers, the more I am using them too, however, I am not
currently limited to using them.  That is what is so nice about some AT,
it doesnt have to be for those who need it.  It can be an accessory
which aids even the non disabled in some instances.  Being a telecom
engineer,  I am fascinated thinking of the direction of AT abilities
that can be applied to cell phones and other micro devices.

> I'd like to extend the discussion of end users a bit.  At the risk of
> appearing to slight someone, I will say that this is not meant to harm
> but  to perhaps explicate.  There are ways to get end user data from
> those who do  not have the ability to readily provide that data due to a
> lack of  understanding of the processes envolved in what they do or for
> some other  reason.  There are end users who can readily provide
> information from their  experiences as input to the process.  We tend to
> gravitate toward working  with the latter as data from the former can be
> expensive to retrieve and  make usefull.  End users in the second
> category and I am sure that this is a  continuum and I may be over
> simplifyin this often learn from their  interactions with developpers so
> that the bar can be raised in the quality  of their use.  This can help
> fascilitate the process for all the stake  holders since it both
> provides a mechanism for moving forward at least  somewhat and helps to
> ensure continued accessibility.
You bring up an exellent point!  For example, when I was saying to provide
skip links for those whom use switches to browse the web,  I was asking
for accessiblity for a huge group of users and potential users whom have
limited cognitive abilities.  These users can't offer advice because they
dont know better.  An example would be giving an IBM AT PC to a 3rd world
country would be a wonderous new invention.  This is where the crux of the
accessiblity awareness problem exists.  User's dont know what can be done,
caretakers and families may not know either.  I think we need to include
caretakers and families and such as "remote" users.  We need to educate
them on behave of the users who dont have the cognitive abilities to
understand.  We need to work closely with those who cant represent their

I am in the initial stages of creating a non profit for just this sort of
thing.... I would appreciate any helpful information and assistance anyone
would care to offer!

Received on Tuesday, 30 March 2004 18:52:26 UTC

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