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Re: Accessibility, disability, all and some Re: Request to Strengthen the HTML5 Accessibility Design Principle

From: Charles McCathieNevile <chaals@opera.com>
Date: Sat, 04 Jul 2009 16:43:17 +0200
To: "Maciej Stachowiak" <mjs@apple.com>
Cc: "public-html@w3.org" <public-html@w3.org>, "wai-xtech@w3.org" <wai-xtech@w3.org>
Message-ID: <op.uwjsif1uwxe0ny@widsith.local>
On Thu, 25 Jun 2009 23:34:03 +0200, Maciej Stachowiak <mjs@apple.com>  
wrote:

>
> On Jun 25, 2009, at 2:31 AM, Charles McCathieNevile wrote:
>
>>
>> There is a concern among many people who work in accessibility that  
>> "access for all" is sometimes used to justify not providing  
>> "Accommodation"   ...   In an ideal world, a hidden attribute (in  
>> contravention of the visible metadata principle) wouldn't be there -  
>> but we live in the real world, and without it, we will be limiting  
>> people's ability to understand complex structures.
>
> I think the very example of headers="" being in the spec, and also  
> alt="", means that this is generally understood and accepted.

I think it has at least some acceptance and some understanding. I think  
discussions that take place show it is far from being understood in the  
same way by all.

>> I suspect most people working in accessibilty would expect a high  
>> degree of misuse of almost any such feature - unfortunately, just  
>> specifying how things *should* be doesn't mean that people will make  
>> sure things *are* so. But the value that is available in the cases  
>> where this is done right means that it seems worthwhile to continue  
>> with it, and to continue teaching people to get it right.
>
> Sometimes there's no practical way to make it easy to do the right  
> thing. But when there is, we should strive to push the design in that  
> direction, instead of pushing harder on designs that aren't getting  
> developer traction. I don't think that is directly related to the  
> Accessibility principle however - it's a difference in design philosophy  
> that comes up in other situations as well.

Indeed.

> In conclusion, I think you have raised some good concerns, but I don't  
> think they justify the proposed edit to the Design Principles.

As noted, my personal belief is that the discussion of a bunch of  
principles whose application in practice shows that the shared  
understanding of them is quite vague is just a distraction from the real  
work. We all believe in doing the right thing. We don't all agree on what  
exactly that means. So while I don't think the existing document is  
especially good at clarifying it, it isn't especially bad either, and I  
have better things to do that spend so much time looking for weasel words  
we can all agree to because they justify different beliefs. (Doing that is  
the preserve of diplomacy and politics, not of creating interoperable  
standards for the benefit of users, authors, implementors and educators).

cheers

Chaals

-- 
Charles McCathieNevile  Opera Software, Standards Group
     je parle français -- hablo español -- jeg lærer norsk
http://my.opera.com/chaals       Try Opera: http://www.opera.com
Received on Saturday, 4 July 2009 14:44:06 UTC

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