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Re: "maybe even in the fact that you use words as all," (sic)

From: Doug Schepers <schepers@w3.org>
Date: Sat, 19 Jul 2008 23:38:41 -0400
Message-ID: <4882B341.8070605@w3.org>
To: Jonathan Chetwynd <j.chetwynd@btinternet.com>
Cc: www-svg <www-svg@w3.org>, "www-style@w3.org" <www-style@w3.org>

Hi, Jonathan-

Jonathan Chetwynd wrote (on 7/17/08 2:57 AM):
> Re: "maybe even in the fact that you use words as all," (sic)

Or, to quote Bert in full, "maybe even in the fact that you use words as 
all, rather than a video".


> but what about if you don't?
> like the relatively large community of people with learning disabilities.
> about 20% of people in the UK are functionally illiterate.

So... why couldn't those people use video clips, as Bert initially 
suggested?  Or text-to-speech/speech-to-text interfaces, being developed 
by W3C Voice Browser WG?


> you can try out or watch a short video here:
> http://www.openicon.org

That's an interesting project, one made possible by W3C technologies... 
so why are you complaining?  It seems to me that we are moving in the 
right direction, enabling you to create the sort of applications you 
think are needed.

Creating a chat client is an clever adaptation of the paper on 
pictographic communication  this link I sent you last year [1], but I 
think your particular version could use some deeper consideration of how 
to actually allow illiterate parties to communicate, if that's your 
goal... currently, you only supplement written speech with that limited 
set of icons, most of which seem to be nouns, which just isn't enough to 
allow even rudimentary communication.  I suggest that you consider 
opening it up to collaboration, like the Open ClipArt Library has done, 
to help spread the work.  But frankly, I suspect most people who are 
functionally illiterate simply use the phone; any such icon-chat 
application, no matter how sophisticated, is going to be a pale 
substitute for more direct communication (either spoken or signed).

By the way, one of your common complaints is that there aren't enough 
authoring tools aimed at naive users, but the natural-language semantic 
pictogram project [1] does address authoring.


> the failure of W3 working groups to engage with this community has 
> ensured the have become even more socially disadvantaged and ostracized.

W3C has activities for accessibility (several WAI groups), video, voice 
browsers, e-government (including education and community outreach)... 
all of these things address your concerns.  So, your claim doesn't seem 
to match the facts.

What's needed is not some change in the types or scope of activities W3C 
is engaged in, but for more browsers to supported more specifications 
better (and interoperably); what W3C can do to effect that change is to 
work more closely with browser vendors to make sure their needs are 
being met, which is something I think we've been much better at the last 
couple of years... and it's showing, by browser vendors committing to 
implement open Web specifications from W3C.


[1] http://www.svgopen.org/2007/papers/SVGOpen2007abstract/index.html

Regards-
-Doug Schepers
W3C Team Contact, WebApps, SVG, and CDF
Received on Sunday, 20 July 2008 03:39:18 GMT

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