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Accessibility definition - rationale

From: Sailesh Panchang <sailesh.panchang@deque.com>
Date: Thu, 20 Feb 2003 10:06:36 -0500
Message-ID: <011501c2d8f1$a9cdf400$6a01a8c0@deque.local>
To: <w3c-wai-eo@w3.org>
Hello All,
Comments for consideration:

1. Inaccessible websites  excludes PWD and is regarded as discriminatory. So concept of "equivalent facilitation" or offering the same functionality to PWD as for non-PWD is an important dimensionm that the definition should bring out.  

The draft I sent a couple of days ago includes this.


2. An earlier or perhaps the first draft had an important concept: 

"         * and that works with technologies that some people with  disabilities use"

I think this is what the term "robust" conveys. Hence this concept should not   be dropped from the definition. The draft I sent brings it back.


3. The Understandability: This applies to language; plus  use of simple and short sentences to the extent possible. But ability to understand structure of Web page (frames, tables, forms, link names etc) is important too and helps in navigability and operability. So I have brought it to the top of the list. Admittedly, there may be no definite objective measure for understandability.


4. It is necessary that the definition clearly  distinguishes   between content accessibility and authoring tools accessibility. The former is of greater relevance to most people as accessibility of authoring tools impacts only those inclined on development. 

At the present time this distinction is kind of intertwined and does not come out separately. In the definition discussed on Feb 14,  the phrase "use for surfing the Web or to build websites"  describes computer access technologies used by  some PWD and does not really bring out that accessibility of authoring tools is relevant to Web acccessibility. 


5. The fact that accessibility is a legal requirement in some countries really has no place in a definition slide, was recognized and dropped. Similarly, that accessibility also benefits others is not important. In this slide we are not trying to sell accessibility or explain all benefits but just define it.


6. I bounced the opening sentence of the definition we discussed on Feb-14 with friends (lay people in accessibility) : the "accessible to all"   phrase. They objected  to use of a term that we are trying to define. One said that statement does not add a whole lot of value and is almost like saying:

"Web accessibility, well means an accessible Web!"


7. It was suggested that   we avoid jargon like "assistive technology" or "functionality" from the first slide. I object to use of HTML or CSS orSMIL etc on the same grounds in the opening slide. In fact  this is relevant in a "how to achieve accessibility" slide than in a definition slide, which view was accepted last Friday. So I suggest we drop that line.

I believe that the definition I sent earlier this week  might work out with some tweeking.

Thanks for your time.

Sailesh Panchang
Senior Accessibility Engineer
Deque Systems Inc
11752, Valley Ridge Circle, Fairfax, VA 22033
Tel: 703-218-8018
Fax: 703-218-5047
E-mail: sailesh.panchang@deque.com
* Look up <http://www.deque.com> *
Received on Thursday, 20 February 2003 10:06:12 UTC

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