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Re: Tools List - audience?

From: Barry McMullin <mcmullin@eeng.dcu.ie>
Date: Fri, 28 Oct 2005 14:53:10 +0100 (IST)
To: Shadi Abou-Zahra <shadi@w3.org>
cc: w3c-wai-eo@w3.org
Message-ID: <Pine.LNX.4.58.0510281428590.3010@pompeii.eeng.dcu.ie>

Hi All -

Just following up on the telecon discussion on the "audiences"
for this document.

My concern was that I felt it was dangerous to see this resource
as being targetted at people who have "... little or no
experience in evaluating Web accessibility, and who want to
comply with Web accessibility standards".

Shadi tried to clarify his idea here, and I think I understand
him a little better now.  To put it in my own words, I think the
suggestion is that, since we know there are plenty of people out
there who have the (mis-guided) idea that there is a "magic" tool
that will do good accessibility evaluation with minimal human
input or oversight, then we might as well confront that fact, and
see this resource as an opportunity to help them see that this is
a mistake.  And certainly, if we see this resource as potentially
doing that, then this set of people must be a key (primary even!)
audience for it.

I have some sympathy for that, so I can certainly go some of the
way along with it.  I'm still a little concerned that we may be
trying to overload the resource with two conflicting jobs:

- Dispel the myth of the magic evaluation tool.

- Help people who have no illusions at all about what tools can
  do, to find and compare tools that might be of some use to
  them.

These are conflicting precisely because the audiences and
presumptions about their prior knowledge are completely different.

So ... it seems we need to explicitly refactor this resource into
two separate pieces:

- A "tutorial" article that explains the role of tools, and
  explicitly counters the myth of the magic tool.

- The database of tools (with search/comparison capabilities).

But then ... the first of these already exists (doesn't it?):

  Selecting Web Accessibility Evaluation Tools
  http://www.w3.org/WAI/eval/selectingtools.html

So, if you accept that that resource can carry the substantive
burden of dispelling the magic-tool myth, then I don't think it
makes sense to expect the database resource to duplicate that.

So insofar as the audience of the database still includes people
with "... little or no experience in evaluating Web
accessibility, and who want to comply with Web accessibility
standards" I would say this is an "unintentional" audience for
this resource.  Maybe we still need to explicitly recognise that
they *will* arrive whether we like it or not (which is sort of
Shadi's point?); but still qualify that by accepting that the
database resource will not be particularly designed or oriented
toward addressing that audience, beyond trying to catch them and
re-direct them to the "Selecting ..." resource?

So that's my tuppence worth, for the record...

- Barry.
Received on Friday, 28 October 2005 14:02:50 UTC

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