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Re: aids not solutions? was: The following examples highlight use of some accessibility solutions:

From: Charles McCathieNevile <charles@w3.org>
Date: Sat, 6 Jan 2001 19:57:54 -0500 (EST)
To: jonathan chetwynd <jc@signbrowser.org.uk>
cc: William Loughborough <love26@gorge.net>, <w3c-wai-eo@w3.org>
Message-ID: <Pine.LNX.4.30.0101061945140.32745-100000@tux.w3.org>
This gets to something that was only a an unidentified nagging feeling until
Jonathan said it plain. I agree that it is valuable to show where there are
things that we can't completely solve, but where accessibility is still
important because it makes a difference. And using an example  that describes
things which are already done is a good thing I think.

It enables people to understand that this is something that is part of
everyday work, and that they are probably taking some of it into account
without realising it. It makes it clear that small steps are a great deal
better than no steps. There is an ongoing argument that suggests people
won't try to conform to WCAG other than at the defined levels. I think that
is rubbish, that people will do what they can, and this kind of scenario
demonstrates why that's a good thing.

There are a couple of things that have really stuck in my mind as scenarios.
One is Peter Bosher (I think) saying on the WAI video that with the Web he
can get stories to read to his little boy. The other is the blind person who
wanted to help their sighted child study for their driving test, but couldn't
because nobody thought that access to driving information was important for a
blind person.

If we had a couple of multimedia clips available it would be helpful to
convey the message to those who are accustomed to visual processing. (Which
includes a lot of the people creating inaccessible websites). And it makes
the people in the stories more real somehow. It requires people who are
prepared to have a bit of their life stuck out for everyone to look at, but
there are such people, and a few of them participated in the WAI video.

I don't think we should wait forever to publish this document - we can
improve it and republish it later. Having a document we can refer to is
better in my mind than not having a document, but being able to say there
will be a really good one later. But it would be good to keep these things in
mind, as I think they represent good ways to significantly improve on what we
have. (Besides, the technology changes, and the ways people can or can't use
the Web change with it. Not so long ago the example of someone navigating
tables with a screen reader would have implied that they were using
emacspeak, which is a very rare product in standard working environments. Now
it is possible in a much wider range of systems).

my own late-night thoughts...

Charles McCN

On Sat, 6 Jan 2001, jonathan chetwynd wrote:

  I've attempted to create a synopsis of something like ~100 clients that I
  see regularly. Not many have downs syndrome, and labelling them is not a
  'great' help to most people.
  Very few of them will ever find work, let alone paid employment that is

  In the scenario that follows, I've tried to describe the benefits of
  commercial sites as well as sites designed for this group.

  I'd like to:

  see something visual with sound effects on the wai site,
  a photo (actor?) helps identification immensely. we can see how old they
  are... And we can use that fabled alt tag.

  pat people on the back for providing stimulation that is suitable and
  accessible to my clients, without worrying too much about the alt tags. (mp3,
  flash, shockwave, realmedia, java..... any or all) ok it helps to have text
  equivalents, it also helps to have multimedia equivalents, signing and
  symbols, & precis....

  recognises that we have serious and possibly long term, problems addressing
  cognitive disabilty, but are making small steps.


  Katie is 40 she has a learning disability and lives at home with her
  parents. She has mental health problems and tends to get lost in complex
  arguments.  She is lively, intelligent, and has a point of view, and in most
  respects has the needs and abilities of any adult.

  Every weekday a bus collects her, and takes her to a day centre and onto
  college, where she can browse the web. She enjoys signing with others, and
  benefits greatly when reading from the occassional use of symbols. She has
  the reading age of a 4 year old, and is a keen student. She has tried
  dictation software and text readers, with mixed results. Ataxia means that
  she has problems with a mouse, and prefers pages that don't contain scroll
  bars. She is not in a position to spend much money so banner ads are wasted.

  Her reading and writing skills enable her to use a search engine. She
  generally copies words from tapes or newspapers. However she usually needs
  help, to interprete the results, which rarely contain relevent images.

  She loves music and TV soaps. She finds that some sites provide small images
  of stars  with links to music, videos, games and even webcams. She benefits
  most when their are only a few words and links on a page, all of which are
  relevent to her interests. Then she knows what she likes. She listens and
  watches, and often creates original artwork in another window. Copies
  keywords,  and prints out relevant images and text. She is always adding to
  her portfolio (or diary) of interests.

  Katie is not quite ready to browse the web on her own yet, but she's learning
  how, and the technology is moving her way.

  I've been in bed all day with flu, its late, and i'll probably now need
  another day in bed.


Charles McCathieNevile    mailto:charles@w3.org    phone: +61 (0) 409 134 136
W3C Web Accessibility Initiative                      http://www.w3.org/WAI
Location: I-cubed, 110 Victoria Street, Carlton VIC 3053, Australia
until 6 January 2001 at:
W3C INRIA, 2004 Route des Lucioles, BP 93, 06902 Sophia Antipolis Cedex, France
Received on Saturday, 6 January 2001 19:57:58 UTC

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