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RE: Web video accessibility

From: John Foliot <jfoliot@stanford.edu>
Date: Wed, 17 Aug 2011 08:35:12 -0700 (PDT)
To: "'Felix Miata'" <mrmazda@earthlink.net>, <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Message-ID: <017801cc5cf3$3ae4e730$b0aeb590$@edu>
Felix Miata wrote:
> "Edge case" is a term I see used far too often, a trivialization of
> problems
> observed by real people. It may be de-motivating, but for those who
> have no
> choice but to live in what devs call "edge-case" scenarios, little is
> more
> frustrating than to hear that it isn't worth enabling accessibility to
> those
> with handicaps simply because they are part of a minuscule minority.
> Not
> everyone has a choice to be a member of a majority.

Hi Felix,

Please do not misunderstand the usage of 'edge case' with regard to this
discussion: this is not about discrimination against certain members of
our community, but rather about individual users choosing to not use
appropriate tools when they can. The choice is what makes the edge-case
term appropriate here.

Put another way, no user, regardless of operating system or hardware setup
they have today, is forced to only use a text-based browser. As previously
noted, there are multiple choices of FOSS browsers available that can and
do support multi-media content today: this is not 1986 (to use Bob's "25
years ago" benchmark) and progress happens. If a user chooses to still
surf the web using a text browser (their choice) then it is unreasonable
to then cry foul when technologies that said browser does not support is
used by authors. (In fact, for many of those users who still choose to use
text-only browsers, they often quote this as a feature: they don't have to
wait for large binary files to load so pages render more quickly, they are
not distracted by flashing Flash based banner ads, etc., etc.) 

And it becomes further unfair when a software developer who is working
with these newer technologies, but new to the accessibility space,
approaches this community of experts seeking appropriate guidance to be
treated to "it doesn't work on my setup" - of course it doesn't, and
through no fault of the individual software developer... it's like
complaining that my Discman CD player doesn't support Daisy files, so
clearly Daisy is inaccessible.

I have spent over a decade now fighting this good fight, and trying to
educate developers of all stripes on the importance of inclusive design -
I too cringe when I hear 'edge case' used to dismiss obvious and
significant access requirements. But in the real world we live in, I also
have to remind myself to not let perfect be the enemy of good, and this
particular discussion, and the unwitting pawn of a tool that EmbedPlus has
become here, is a perfect example. 

Does EmbedPlus solve all problems with regard to accessing videos on the
web? Nope. Does it offer solutions that could improve access for
thousands, perhaps even millions? Possibly. Features like the ability to
slow a video, to add user annotations, or to use "Instant Replay" could
have huge and significant benefits for multiple users with a broad range
of disabilities. Frankly it's exciting to see the possibilities here, and
we should be encouraging the developer to continue to work towards
ensuring these features and functions can be used to their full advantage,
not chasing them away with a grumpy "get off my lawn" response.

That benefits no-one.

Received on Wednesday, 17 August 2011 15:35:40 UTC

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