W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > www-style@w3.org > August 2002

Re: WAI: Threat or Menace?

From: C. Bottelier <c.bottelier@iradis.org>
Date: Wed, 21 Aug 2002 00:23:18 +0200
Message-Id: <5.1.0.14.0.20020820233456.00a24400@mail2.iradis.org>
To: www-style@w3.org, www-tag@w3.org

At 11:05 PM 8/20/02, Svgdeveloper@aol.com wrote:
>> >One substantive problem that I see with existing WAI documents is
>> >that they read as if each and every guideline/point was of 100%
>> >importance and that there is no prioritisation. That seems to me be
>> >an inherently unrealistic position to take, even if it is only taken
>> >implicitly.
>> >When people are losing their jobs by the thousands you need, in my
>> >opinion, to prioritise if you want to be taken seriously.
>> >To implicitly claim that *all* WAI is of absolute importance
>> >generates a feeling that the mindset isn't realistic.
>>
>>I'm afraid I don't understand.  Nearly all WAI documents, such as WCAG
>>1.0, are prioritized on a Priority 1, Priority 2, and Priority 3 scheme.
>
>
>True but in a context where the words "must", "essential" and so on appear 
>rather frequently. To my eye, and comments I have heard, WAI comes across 
>as prescriptive and dictatorial. Some of your later comments tend to 
>confirm that impression although, quite possibly, you see those as 
>expressions of "importance of the topic" and "enthusiasm". :) ... I am not 
>mocking, simply trying to express the idea that one set of documents 
>viewed from two different perspectives can seem VERY different in nature.

I've read most of the WAI's work (I myself am visually impaired, I see
about 20% to 40% depending on the environment) the impression the WAI
makes to me is somewhat harse and more on the approach of having
an inaccessible website and how to fix it, instead of how to create
an accessible website.

>> >I don't know why I get myself into the position of expressing what
>> >people don't want to hear but it seems I do .... The street cred of
>> >WAI is low because it comes across as absolutist and missionary.
>>
>>I disagree that the "street cred of WAI is low" -- in fact, I think you
>>can find people far more receptive to accessibility concerns than you
>>can to the use of XHTML or "generic XML" on the Web.
>
>
>Well, in my view, at the present time all three have low street credibility.

I've to agree with Andrew here. Most (almost all)
web authors I know are not ignorant to the WAI
but reject it as being not applicable, because
they find the group to do so for to little in
regard to the work they (think) they have to
put into it to get it accessible. Most of them
no sane person uses Lynx or a PDA to browse
this site, and the audience is not to be
expected to have large amounts of disabled
people. Some even say I'm not wasting MY
time on those disabled ones.

>there are many people who still
>>
>>believe, in the 21st century, that it is okay to discriminate against
>>those with disabilities.  Hostility remains a way of life for many
>>disabled individuals, and attempts to use the Web are clearly met with
>>hostility _regardless of what the WAI may or may not say_.
>
>I wonder if we are seeing two different cultures here to some degree. In 
>the UK the mindset is very much more that the disabled are to be supported 
>(although I am sure that Dave Pawson will point out that there are many 
>problems). In contrast the USA has a much more self-sufficient ethos - you 
>have, for example, no National Health Service of the kind seen in most 
>European Union countries. The spectrum of attitudes to the disabled may 
>not be identical on this side of the Atlantic.

I live in the Netherlands (Hi neighbor Andrew!) a country that has
much to do and to care about the disabled people. We've got a
Foundation that gets the newspapers, magazines, and books read out
on cassette and translated to braille, and companies and public
services MUST obey rules to be accessible to disabled people, and
there are several schools especially for groups of people with
the same kind of disability.

However when it comes to busyness every is done to get information
inaccessible. Ads, brochures, newspapers, magazines, traffic signs,
and websites are designed to look good without any regard on
disabled people.

For instance a lot of ads, brochures, newspapers, magazines, and
website more and more tend to use smaller print (like even 5pt or
6pt), use bad colors like black text on a dark blue background,
or have buzzing images or photographs with hundreds of lines,
dots, and colors as the background for text.

Another example are the latest traffic signs, number plates, and
direction signs put on the road by our government. The traffic
lights are place higher and higher, the black border is made
smaller to reduce cost. And the clicking pedestrian lights are
only placed on the most heavily used crossings. The new Euro
number placed have number that are almost 10% smaller. The new
direction signs are now in a three times smaller font and in
white on light blue instead of dark blue, and placed at 3 or
4 meters high instead of the 2.5 meters.

Websites contain more and more only flash versions, or clicked
together with Adobe GoLive with which one creates the most bad
HTML seen ever. Why? It must look good and time nor money may
be spend.


My opinion that disabilities are regarded when making out the
rules and regulations, affords are made to have good education
for the disabled people, foundations exist depending on
donations to make conventional common available information
accessible. But almost nobody creating the information is
either ignorant, neglectant, or even hostile against the disabled.

Don't get me wrong I'm not pointing fingers at anyone, Its just
the way I (and other disabled) experience it. And yes I'am a
little frustrated, who wouldn't if you only see thing get worse
and worse. The web accessibility is to my respect one the lower
ranking cases on inaccessibility, mostly because (for people
who are not completely blind, or are photo epileptic) there can
be done something with ignoring font and colour attributes.

Christian Bottelier

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Received on Tuesday, 20 August 2002 18:16:45 GMT

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