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Comments on "How to report inaccessible websites"

From: Dan Updegrove <updegrove@gmail.com>
Date: Tue, 22 Dec 2009 11:26:31 -0600
Message-Id: <2331CF87-CB44-409B-B69A-1AE9A4C2808F@gmail.com>
To: wai-eo-editors@w3.org
Cc: Sharron Rush <srush@knowbility.org>
Colleagues,

Regarding your request for feedback on <http://www.w3.org/WAI/EO/Drafts/responding/Overview-new 
 >, I offer these comments. (By way of context, I am a former Board  
member of Knowbility in Austin, and a former university CIO who has  
been heavily involved in both university website design and software  
design and development. I currently serve as an IT consultant.)

Re: The term  "Accessibility"

I strongly suspect this term will be ambiguous -- and potentially  
confusing to many recipients of the communication, notably those who  
have not previously encountered a logical link between "disability"  
and "inaccessibility."

Consider the multiple definitions below (from my Macintosh's built-in  
dictionary), which is mute on the issue of accessibility in the  
context of digital information and systems. And, of course the  
problems of and remedies for inaccessibility vary depending on the  
specific disability.

Accessible -- adjective
1 (of a place) able to be reached or entered : the town is accessible  
by bus | the building has been made accessible to disabled people.
 (of an object, service, or facility) able to be easily obtained or  
used : making learning opportunities more accessible to adults.
 easily understood : his Latin grammar is lucid and accessible.
 able to be reached or entered by people in wheelchairs : it provides  
specialized features such as nonslip floors and accessible entrances.
2 (of a person, typically one in a position of authority or  
importance) friendly and easy to talk to; approachable : he is more  
accessible than most tycoons.


As another example, "inaccessible" to many IT professionals connotes a  
*technical* disconnect between the user and the information or  
service, for example a network or server failure.

At least in the lead paragraph, I'd recommend that the phraseology be  
more specific -- e.g., "inaccessible to those who are blind or  
visually impaired, and depend for Internet access on screen-reader  
technology."

Re: Finding Contacts:

I'm surprised there is no recommendation to contact the Webmaster.  
This address is often prominent -- may be on the same page, in fact --  
and the Webmaster or Webmaster-team may be able to remedy some  
problems (e.g., alt tags) without management directive. Some  
Webmasters may, in fact, be strongly motivated to make such changes to  
avoid future complaints directed at management.

Typo: to address your compliant to.


Re: Feedback Forms:

"Print all forms for your records before submitting them" -- seems  
counter-intuitve for a blind user. Wouldn't it make more sense to save  
the page?

Hope this is helpful, and Happy Holidays.

Best regards,

Dan

Daniel A. Updegrove
Consultant on IT in Higher Education
http://web.me.com/danupdegrove/
(512) 331-5098
(512) 423-7785 cell
Received on Wednesday, 23 December 2009 23:00:42 GMT

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