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Re: practical info for creating accessible web pages

From: John Gardner <john.gardner@orst.edu>
Date: Fri, 05 May 2000 09:06:18 -0700
Message-Id: <>
To: "* WEB http://www.rit.edu/~easi" <EASI@MAELSTROM.STJOHNS.EDU>
Cc: "WAI UA Group" <w3c-wai-ua@w3.org>
This is an iceberg that needs to be diverted out of the shipping lanes.
Everyone who has tried to read the WAI recommendations knows that most
people cannot use them "as is".  The WAI itself has made a billfold card
with a summary of recommendations, and I have heard of several
organizations who are either planning or have in progress some work to make
some intermediate readable translation of the full set of guidelines.  

I am distressed to hear that Ron has been ignored by the WAI in his attempt
to help in the translation process.  The WAI evangelization effort may need
some improvement.  At the very least, the WAI needs to be sure that efforts
by Ron and others are coordinated, not ignored.


At 07:50 AM 5/5/00 -0700, you wrote:
>I tend to agree with Paul, the W3C stuff while very valuable to an
>experienced web developer, is almost useless for a lay person. Those of you
>who have heard my presentations on Web Access have heard this before. We
>have rewritten the guidelines to be more usable for our developers here at
>OSU, mostly faculty who know almost nothing about HTML code. We have found
>that almost anything that is produced for general consumption needs to be
>tailored to the specifics of your institution.
>We have approached the WAI with a more usable rewrite of their guidelines,
>and have never had a response. We wanted distribution permission to beta
>test the evaluation protocols we had developed, and basically got blown off
>by the WAI, despite talking to the folks in charge on more than one
>The other piece of misinformation that tends to get spread around is that
>accessibility does not cost anything. If you try to sell this to your
>institutional IS folks your credibility is going to take a nose dive. Making
>educational websites fully accessible adds 10-15% to the development time of
>the site, so logically it also adds correspondingly to the cost of overall
>Ron Stewart
>Ron Stewart, Director
>Technology Access Program
>Information Services
>Oregon State University
>109 Kidder Hall
>Corvallis, Oregon  97331
>Phone: 1.541.737.7307
>Fax:   1.541.737.2159
>E-mail: Ron.Stewart@orst.edu
>WWW: http://tap.orst.edu
>-----Original Message-----
>From: Jim Tobias [mailto:tobias@inclusive.com]
>Sent: Friday, May 05, 2000 6:13 AM
>Subject: Re: practical info for creating accessible web pages
>Hi Paul and all,
>Gee, I thought this reaction to the WAI content was a little extreme.
>I think their job -- which we probably agree was done almost perfectly  --
>was to specify exactly where there were access problems in content,
>browsers, and authoring tools, and what the corresponding solutions and
>approaches are.  As a matter of fact, to my mind WAI documents are
>the best such job I've seen.  Their completeness does in fact cause
>for problems in reading and implementing, for people who don't want to
>become experts.  I think this category includes 95% of the people
>who we want to reach, such as your users.  But that's not really
>WAI's fault.  In fact, they did a good job of publishing the
>bare essentials on a business card.  This format may be too brief,
>but it has gone a long way in convincing potential critics that the
>problems are not abstruse or insoluble.
>And I'll bet that if you -- or a bunch of us -- approached WAI with
>a proposal to extract, collate, index, and "leaven" their content
>for this semi-mainstream, non-expert large audience, they'd be
>entirely enthusiastic.  I've done this for some corporate clients,
>who also like to fold in some of their own content for an intranet
>accessibility resource, and it's quite feasible.
>Jim Tobias
>Inclusive Technologies
>tobias@inclusive.com <mailto:tobias@inclusive.com>
>732.441.0831 v/tty
>732.441.0832 fax
>> -----Original Message-----
>> From: * WEB http://www.rit.edu/~easi
>> [mailto:EASI@MAELSTROM.STJOHNS.EDU]On Behalf Of Paul Chapin
>> Sent: Friday, May 05, 2000 8:47 AM
>> Subject: Re: practical info for creating accessible web pages
>> > We often refer folks to the following site:
>> > Chisholm, W., Vanderheiden, G., & Jacobs, I. (1999). Web content
>> > accessibility guidelines 1.0 - W3C recommendation 5-May-1999.
>> > http://www.w3.org/TR/WAI-WEBCONTENT/wai-pageauth.html
>> I'm sorry, but I find the stuff from www.w3.org to be pretty
>> useless.  It's
>> long winded, confusingly organized (it's hypertext taken to an
>> extreme), and
>> full of recommendations that are either not essential (use cascading
>> spreedsheet instead of blockquote to indent) or pointless (use
>> longdesc tag
>> dispite the fact that none of the current common browsers support
>> longdesc).
>> If I pointed my users to those pages, they would take one look at them,
>> decide either I was out of my mind or that making pages
>> accessible would be
>> a massive undertaking, and abandon any attempt at accessibility.
>> The guidelines were clearly written by programmers and html geeks who were
>> much more interested in conceptual purity than getting the job done.
>> Paul Chapin
>> Curricular Computing Specialist
>> Amherst College
>> http://www.amherst.edu/~pdchapin
>> Check the URL below to enter your institutions
>> Web page in EASI's Barrier-free Web Contest
>> http://www.rit.edu/~easi
>Check the URL below to enter your institutions
>Web page in EASI's Barrier-free Web Contest
>Check the URL below to enter your institutions
>Web page in EASI's Barrier-free Web Contest
John A. Gardner
Professor and Director, Science Access Project
Department of Physics
Oregon State University
Corvallis, OR 97331
tel: (541) 737 3278
FAX: (541) 737 1683
	SAP URL: http://dots.physics.orst.edu/
Received on Friday, 5 May 2000 12:09:22 UTC

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