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Accessibility is for all users

From: Roberto Castaldo <r.castaldo@iol.it>
Date: Tue, 15 Jun 2004 17:32:48 +0200
Message-ID: <40BF35790046E39F@ms002msg.mail.fw> (added by postmaster@ms002msg.fastwebnet.it)
To: "'EOWG (E-mail)'" <w3c-wai-eo@w3.org>

Hi folks,

I'm sorry for the very bad connection during last telcon, but I was not on
my usual PC on my usual fast connection; that's why I'd like to make a short
(i hope so) summary of my opinion concerning the document "About Web
Accessibility Introduction".

A think we should try and transfer a simple but very important concept: Web
accessibility is not only for people with disabilities.

The audience of Web Accessibility is the whole Web community, including
people with disabilities, and this document may be the right place to
transmit this concept, as it's developed to help newbies to get in touch
with accessibility issue.

Every time I have the possibility to have a public speech, or to have a
course about web accessibility, I always try and focus the audience on this
problem, and it always works great; because, in this way, people understand
that each of us can be hit by any kind of disability (also temporary), and
realizes that Web accessibility is a good opportunity for every developer,
for every Web manager, and that applying its rules (applying WCAG, I mean)
he will give a good contribution in creating a better Web.

In the draft, I read this sentence:
"What is Web Accessibility
At the most basic level, Web accessibility is about people with disabilities
being able to use the Web. The goal of Web accessibility is that people with
disabilities can perceive, understand, navigate, and interact with Web sites
and Web applications. An accessible Web is flexible to meet different needs
and preferences.

The newbie (he doesn't know what Web Accessibility is) who is reading this
document and reads such a phrase may think:
"well... am I a person with disabilities? No, I'm not!
 Is my web site related with disabilities? No, it isn't!
Ok, at the most basic level, I'm not interested in Web Accessibility"... and
we lose that user, while that document should give him a good reason to be
curiuos and go on reading the WAI web site.

I'm not saying to cancel any reference to users with disabilities (it would
be a nonsense); my proposal is to complete the circle, saying strongly that
"any web user can get a great advantage using an accessible Web".
Personally, I would say it even before we talk about people with
disabilities, because (imho) that could help and gain a much wider audience
to the WAI Web site, but the fundamental thing is not the order of
appearance, but the presence of the concept in our document.

The problem I see is that this draft always refers to people with
disabilities, while, for example, the introduction of WCAG 2.0 does not:

This document outlines design principles for creating accessible Web
content. When these principles are ignored, individuals with disabilities
may not be able to access the content at all, or they may be able to do so
only with great difficulty. When these principles are employed, they also
make Web content accessible to a variety of Web-enabled devices, such as
phones, handheld devices, kiosks, network appliances. By making content
accessible to a variety of devices, that content will also be accessible to
people in a variety of situations.

In that section many (not all anyway) of the possible improvement we could
get applying Web accessibility issues are covered, and the reader gets a
more complete idea about it. It is not exactly the same of my proposal, but
this section gives a wider look on the problem than our document does.

If there's no word about web's universality, such an important concept, how
can we pretend to "capture" newbies on ther first visit on our site?

My best regards,

Roberto Castaldo
www.Webaccessibile.Org coordinator
IWA/HWG Member
Mobile 348 3700161
Icq 178709294
Received on Tuesday, 15 June 2004 11:39:34 UTC

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