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Re: Why I don't attend the weekly teleconference (Was: Input on the agenda)

From: David Singer <singer@apple.com>
Date: Mon, 29 Jun 2009 14:53:46 +0100
Message-Id: <p0624083ac66e71844ddf@[]>
To: Shelley Powers <shelley.just@gmail.com>
Cc: public-html@w3.org

As was recently posted on this list, we seem to have two strawmen 
that are repeatedly set up on this list:

a) "If you don't support the attributes and designs that have 
traditionally been there for accessibility, then you are an 
accessibility-hater who doesn't deserve to be listened to."

b) "If you don't check whether your accessibility provisions work, or 
could work, in practice, you are treating accessibility solutions as 
a talisman and you are not interested in actually serving the 
accessibility community, and you don't deserve to be listened to."

Your recent emails are coming across with an undertone of (a) and 
getting close to being capable of characterization (b).  I don't 
think this is helping move the discussion along.

There is a clear concern on this list, supported by some data, that 
'summary' is so polluted in practice that no-one who needs 
accessibility would ever bother looking at its value, which means in 
turn that no-one interested in supporting accessibility would bother 
putting data there because their constituency won't notice it.  If 
this is true, summary may be irrecoverably polluted.  We need to know 
if there is evidence to the contrary.

Now, it may well be that the alternatives proposed to date are 
inadequate.  But the floor is open.

I think part of the problem on the alternatives may be another 
unvoiced tension, which is roughly as follows.

Some people seem to feel that accessibility provisions should be 
specifically and only targeted for accessibility -- e.g. an attribute 
that no-one else ever sees or uses.  Others wonder, since most web 
authors don't use accessibility provisions, whether accessibility 
provisions that web authors don't see are unlikely to be supported by 
them very well, if at all (and indeed, that they are highly unlikely 
to check how effective or even correct they are).

I think this lies behind some suggestions that we make accessibility 
'work' from design aspects that everyone can perceive and verify, so 
that web authors are more likely to 'get it right'.  So, far from 
trying to make accessibility invisible, it's an attempt to make it 
not a ghetto, but a normal aspect of everyday design.  But it does 
lead to a situation where you can no longer point and say "see, this 
attribute is purely for accessibility, ergo, we support 
David Singer
Multimedia Standards, Apple Inc.
Received on Monday, 29 June 2009 13:56:11 UTC

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