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RE: accessibility supported questions

From: Patrick Lauke <P.H.Lauke@salford.ac.uk>
Date: Tue, 31 Mar 2009 15:55:28 +0100
Message-ID: <1DF9B976DE799440A3286F367E242773010EA191@ISD-EXV03.isdads.salford.ac.uk>
To: <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
> Accessys@smart.net

> the key part of at least USA law is that it cannot be considered
> accessible or compliant if it requires a person with a disability
> to have a specific piece of equipment or software that is not
> required of everyone or is not provided free to everyone who needs it.

Are refreshable braille displays available free for those who need them?
Before projects like NVDA (still quite flaky), was there any freely
available
Screenreader for Windows, or was Windows then deemed non-compliant?

The way I understand it (and this is, of course, my personal
interpretation),
the whole concept of accessibility-supported technologies is there to
ensure
that, in principle, there is at least a baseline reassurance that
content is
created in a way that it can be perceived/operated/used in at least a
best-case
scenario (user with latest technology available...latest version of JAWS
etc for
instance). The specific decision of how far to fall back to, though, is
then left
up to site developers/owners, and not mandated through WCAG itself.

I could foresee that, when it comes to court cases involving sites
claiming
WCAG 2.0, a lot of the discussion will revolve around whether or not the
choice
regarding which accessibility-supported technology (baseline) was chosen
and
if that choice was realistic.

> what about connection speeds, how fast is a minimum speed needed.

Is speed an accessibility issue? If I'm on a slow connection, does that
*prevent*
me from accessing content, regardless of ability/disability? My feeling
would be
that no, it's not an accessibility (as in relating specifically to users
with
disabilities) issue.

> everyone likes to work on the cutting edge but many people with
disabilities
> are on the edge of poverty and cannot afford upgrading every few
years.

Fundamentally, that's a societal issue, rather than one that should be
addressed
by web content accessibility guidelines as such. But, as noted above, if
it came
To court cases, the choice of technology will need to be weighed up
against the
particular audiences a site is targetting.

> many people with disabilities (and others) just don't want to change,
> they have figured out the assistive tech they have and it works for
them,
> so do they need the newer bells and whistles, and should we force them
to
> aquire these?

Personally, I think that "preference" is not a strong enough case for or
against
technological choices. Some of my visitors may prefer to use Mosaic 1.0
or Netscape 2.0,
but that doesn't mean that I'm only making sites that target that lowest
common
denominator.

All that IMHO, of course.

P
________________________________
Patrick H. Lauke
Web Editor
Enterprise & Development
University of Salford
Room 113, Faraday House
Salford, Greater Manchester
M5 4WT
UK

T +44 (0) 161 295 4779
webmaster@salford.ac.uk

www.salford.ac.uk

A GREATER MANCHESTER UNIVERSITY 
Received on Tuesday, 31 March 2009 14:56:11 GMT

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