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Developer Responsibility and Responsive Design

From: Wayne Dick <wayneedick@gmail.com>
Date: Sat, 12 Mar 2016 12:24:12 -0800
Message-ID: <CAJeQ8SA19SfVBT3n-g7KQRVQyst+Nm=jnZWJ46k_md7c9xoE5w@mail.gmail.com>
To: public-low-vision-a11y-tf <public-low-vision-a11y-tf@w3.org>
Opinion form Wayne

We acknowledge that developers must organize their content so that screen
readers can interpret content programmatically. The objective is to
transform a two-dimensional presentation of content (the page) into a
one-dimensional presentation (speech).

What seems to be difficult for many in the accessibility community to
appreciate is that developers should have the responsibility to structure
their content so that a different two-dimensional presentation can be
constructed programmatically.

Responsive design is an authoring technique that proves that flexible
organization of web content can be achieved that supports critical
transformations that are needed by people with low vision. Specifically,
RWD has proven that content can be structured so that it can support,
linearized presentation and enlargement of up to 700% to 800%
programmatically. Thus two of the most difficult technical issues facing
people with low vision have been solved. We know this can be done, and it
is needed by a very large class of people with disabilities.

I would never claim that web developers and web application developers
should be forced use responsive design, but I do believe strongly that to
achieve standards compliance, developers should provide content that can be
linearized and enlarged to therapeutically effective levels
programmatically. Also, by programmatically deterministic in this context I
mean parse level access. That means that agents like CSS and other entities
that depend on syntax directed translation can produce the necessary
transformation of normal two-dimensional presentation to a user centered
two-dimensional presentation of the web page. The web developers do not
need to create the user centered presentations; they just need to create
content that enables assistive technology that can do the job.

Requiring developers to use RWD would be to prescribe an accommodation.
Requiring developers to structure documents so responsive transformations
are possible is just as reasonable as asking developers to structure
content so that screen reading is possible. It would be to require
developers to make content fully accessible.
Received on Saturday, 12 March 2016 20:25:20 UTC

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