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Education and outreach to the unconvinced.

From: Liam McGee <liam.mcgee@communis.co.uk>
Date: Mon, 07 Aug 2006 15:51:50 +0100
Message-ID: <44D75386.9080104@communis.co.uk>
To: EOWG <w3c-wai-eo@w3.org>

Dear all -- just something I'd be grateful for some feedback on. Having 
listed a client website in the Applegate directory (well respected by 
Google) I wrote to Applegate (http://www.applegate.co.uk/) to complain 
about, among other things, tiny text with inability to resize. I dashed 
it off without really giving it a lot of time, just a whinge, really, 
but their response brought up some interesting educational issues.

Liam:

"Many people over 40 won't be able to read the text. Most people over 50 
will have difficulty.

"The tiny default text size is compounded by the way the page is coded 
-- the page has *disabled* the text size options in Internet Explorer 
(try going to View > Text Size > Largest... no change apart from slight 
increase in size of bullets).

"This is fairly problematic, partly in light of legal requirements for 
accessibility under the UK Disability Discrimination Act, but mainly 
because you are excluding a lot of older users together with many people 
with a vision impairment (roughly 1 in 20 of the population!).

"I'd be very keen to see this fixed. If your techs don't know how, it's 
actually very easy (mainly centres around newstyle3.css), and I or 
someone else from Communis can take them through the steps required.

Applegate Technical Director:

"Dear Liam

"As Technical Director of Applegate your comments regarding 
accessibility to Applegate have been passed to me to respond to. We do 
take accessibility to our products seriously despite the fact that there 
is little commercial justification for incorporating these features in 
to the site. The problem from our aspect is the lack of any one agreed 
standard that covers the requirements of all interested parties. Perhaps 
W3C can come up with something on this but at the present, as I 
understand it, there are various issues covering font size and type, 
colours and voicing of the content to name but a few. We are at loss to 
know where to start given the limited commercial benefits.

"Your comment ‘Many people over 40 won't be able to read the text. Most 
people over 50 will have difficulty.’ over eggs your other valid points. 
Those of us in that age group have trouble with not just computer 
screens but newspapers, menus, credit card slips, golf score cards, 
instructions on packets and so on and simply have to resort to a pair of 
reading glasses. It is not a big problem and certainly not particular to 
web pages.

"I would be interested in hearing what you can offer to overcome these 
issues.

"With best regards

"Andrew Tweedie"

...

So, an interesting case study. he's interested enough to reply, but believes

a) there is no commercial justification
b) causing users reading difficulty is not a problem
c) there is no agreed standard

So, firstly, would be interested in any figures that might re-educate 
him... but secondly, would be interesting to discuss his 
misunderstandings from the point of view of mythbusting.

Thanks

Liam
Received on Monday, 7 August 2006 14:52:13 UTC

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