RE: Why I Disfavor Using "Universal Design" in the Title

I don't think anyone authorized us to work on guidelines for people who do
not have disabilities.  Also, if the guidelines are to be picked up and used
by others to ensure access to the web by people with disabilities, they need
to keep their disability focus.

However, I think it is good, where we can do it with a few words, to point
out the other beneficiaries of the proposed access guidelines and techniques
as well.


-- ------------------------------
Gregg C Vanderheiden Ph.D.
Professor - Human Factors
Dept of Ind. Engr. - U of Wis.
Director - Trace R & D Center,
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-----Original Message-----
From: [] On Behalf
Of Daniel Dardailler
Sent:	Tuesday, December 15, 1998 5:17 AM
Subject:	Re: Why I Disfavor Using "Universal Design" in the Title

I think at the heart of the issue is the answer to the question: do we
want to promote these guidelines as focused first on accessibility for
people with disabilities or as focused first on accessibility no
matter what medium is used.

To the question: why do we do that ?
do we want to answer:
  - it's for people with disabilities, e.g. blind or mobility impaired
    users, and it also benefits screenless or mouseless users,
    e.g. webphone or handheld device users
  - it's for anyone accessing the web thru a phone or a
    handheld device, with no screen or mouse, and it's also for people
    with disabilities, e.g. blind or mobility impaired users.

Eric, you wrote:

> One thing that I am not comfortable with is the possibility that the
> page authoring guidelines lose their disability focus and I am
> concerned that overuse of the term "universal access" might lead to
> that. I think that it is appropriate to point out how these
> guidelines will greatly benefit nondisabled users as well. But I
> would like to keep the primary focus on issues that differentially
> disadvantage people with disabilities.

May I ask you to elaborate on this part ?

While I agree with you (you convinced me that is) that Universal
Design is not the appropriate term for what we do (as Jason
summarized, we're missing most of the comprehension/semantics pieces
of design), I think naming one thing after another more powerful thing
(the difference being esoteric for most people) is a marketing trick
many people have used before us.

Alternatively, we could used a name like "Universal Access
Guidelines", to focus on the medium/structure part (how do we provide
the information) and less on the semantics part (what is this

Received on Tuesday, 15 December 1998 14:42:40 UTC