language level vs. accessibility


>> On what basis could one reject a checkpoint such as the following 
>> checkpoints that address a disability access issue for people with 
>> cognitive or other disabilities?
>> Problem: Individuals with language-related disabilities (cognitive 
>> disabilities, learning disabilities, deafness, etc.) often have difficulty 
>> accessing written text even when it can be perceived.
>> Suggested Guideline: "If a written text is inaccessible due to the 
>> difficulty of the language, provide an alternative representation or 
>> version that is accessible.


>I reject this kind of guideline and the basis that I think we should
>only deal with access to the information, not with information


There is a problem with this line of reasoning.  We have violated this
principle for TABLEs already, and for good reason.  A graphical array
of information can establish a two-dimensional set of associations among
information chunks by the user's interpretation of the layout.  A linear 
discourse needs more explicitly articulated indications of how one part of
information relates to another part than the graphic screen or page needs.

So we embrace a strategy where the UA should guess relationships among
syntax elements (TH vs. TD) within the scope of a TABLE.  We ask the UA to
harder to present the semantics of the information collection even where this
semantics (a pattern of relationships) is not articulated in the syntax of 
the table markup.

The question of what table or frameset is too complex is something we have 
not yet reduced to technology.  On the other hand, reading level is already
checkable by widely-available commercial means.

We have already seen how damaging it is to the Web if the meaning of a link is
totally dependent on the ability to interprete an image.  It is also possible
to have built-in failure modes if the sense and flow of a page all hangs on
ability to grasp a particular exotic term, or subtle grammatical nuance.

It all boils down to: verbal fluency, like visual acuity, should not be the
way to grok the page.

[Since there should be no "only way to grok the page."]


Received on Wednesday, 13 January 1999 09:04:05 UTC