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Re: the official definition [of web accessibility] from the W3C is wrong

From: Christophe Strobbe <strobbe@hdm-stuttgart.de>
Date: Fri, 06 Feb 2015 16:21:11 +0100
Message-ID: <54D4DBE7.4080400@hdm-stuttgart.de>
To: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org

On 6/02/2015 12:17, Steve Faulkner wrote:
> discussion starter:
> "We need to change the way we talk about accessibility. Most people
> are taught that “web accessibility means that people with disabilities
> can use the Web”— the official definition from the W3C. This is wrong.
> Web accessibility means that /people/ can use the web."

There have been different definitions of accessibility at the W3C. Those
of us who have been around here long enough may remember the WAI
Glossary, which lists four definitions of accessibility:
<http://www.w3.org/WAI/GL/Glossary/printable#A> (this document isn't on
the WAI sitemap and is basically archived content).
None of these definitions use the phrase "people with disabilities" but
phrases such as "people whether or not they have impairments of one sort
or another", "people regardless of disability" (echoing Tim Berners-Lee
famous quote, "Access by everyone regardless of disability is an
essential aspect [of the Web]" <http://www.w3.org/Press/IPO-announce>),
and "people with a wide range of capabilities" (which is close to the
phrase "different abilities" proposed by Devarshi Pant).

In addition, WAI ran the WAI-AGE project a few years ago. Its aim was to
"[increase]  accessibility of the Web for older people as well as for
people with disabilities". Older people don't consider themselves as
people with disabilities (remember Andrew Arch's presentations about
WAI-AGE at various conferences).

So a definition such as "web accessibility means that people with a wide
range of abilities can use the Web" would be less restrictive. One might
also add "in a wide range of contexts" because context also affects what
you can do (e.g. using audio or video content in a context with a lot of

Best regards,

Christophe Strobbe

> source: Reframing Accessibility for the Web
> http://alistapart.com/article/reframing-accessibility-for-the-web
> --
> Regards
> SteveF

Christophe Strobbe
Akademischer Mitarbeiter
Responsive Media Experience Research Group (REMEX)
Hochschule der Medien
Nobelstraße 10
70569 Stuttgart
Tel. +49 711 8923 2749

“It is possible to make a living making free software for freedom 
instead of closed-source proprietary malware for cops.” 
Jacob Appelbaum, 
Received on Friday, 6 February 2015 15:21:42 UTC

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