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re: The Problem with WCAG (was RE: CSS Techniques for WCAG 2.0)

From: Lois Wakeman <lois@lois.co.uk>
Date: Fri, 20 Aug 2004 09:32:41 +0100
Message-ID: <B0057719221@inetc133.inetc.net>
To: "WAI list" <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>

As a technical author in my day job, I wholeheartedly concur that the words
as well as the technology should be accessible - but that should be true of
all media, not just all web media, surely?

I also do not see that there can ever be a 'one size fits all' form of words
for all but the most specialised websites (remember Peepo, anyone?). Native
language, written culture, specialised knowledge, proficiency with words,
reading and learning difficulties are, like all human attributes, very
variable in the average population. In my opinion, having words that will
suit everyone is at least a magnitude of difficulty greater than getting a
delivery mechanism that will suits the same audience.

(It's hard enough single-sourcing print and online documentation for exactly
the same narrowly defined audience without compromising the usability of one
or the other, IME.) Of course, just because it's hard doesn't mean WGAG
shouldn't try to address some of the issues, but concepts like simplified
vocabularies (which are available and useful for example in aerospace and
defence documentation domains) often have no real meaning in the world of
e-commerce, creative writing, journalism and so on (even The Sun waxes
lyrical occasionally!). And as they are generally deadly dull to read,
unlikely to captivate many audiences at all.

And as Rust says, text accessibility is not measurable in any meaningful way
(without conducting huge programmes of user testing on every single page).

Just my tuppence,

Lois Wakeman


http://lois.co.uk <http://lois.co.uk/> 

http://siteusability.com <http://siteusability.com/> 

http://communicationarts.co.uk <http://communicationarts.co.uk/> 
Received on Friday, 20 August 2004 08:34:47 UTC

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