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Re: Re[2]: Ability taxonomy bh

From: P. Coelco <pcoelho@u.washington.edu>
Date: Wed, 28 May 1997 08:28:56 -0700 (PDT)
To: jim@arkenstone.org
cc: dd@w3.org, w3c-wai-ig@w3.org, w3c-wai-wg@w3.org
Message-ID: <Pine.A41.3.95b.970528065300.125402B-100000@homer34.u.washington.edu>
	Thank you for your mail. I appreciate your interest in web access
for the vision impaired user. 
	The reason I have not responded to your mail in the past was that
your signature file made it unclear to me what your association with the
WAI was. When I see a company website referenced in a signature file I
become concerned about commercial interests being involved and potential
conflicts of interest. However, you are clearly on the WAI mailing list
because the mail you quote below was not intentionally sent to you. 
(However, I have no issue with your receiving it.) 
	With respect to getting the technology into the hands of the users
who need it: there are many, many reasons for the motor impaired to access
the web now. As more and more commerce goes on line- Seattle Sidewalk,
Peapod, Amazon, etc- life will become much easier for people with severe
motor disabilities. The current work being done by the WAI is not a pre-
requisite to access for this population. 
	This isn't to say that the work for the vision and hearing
impaired isn't worth while. My point is that different groups of disabled
people have different web access needs. To suggest that work for the
vision impaired is a prerequisite to, or directly portable to, work
for other groups of disabled is inaccurate.
	Thank you for your input.

 On Wed, 28 May 1997 jim@arkenstone.org wrote:

>  From Paul's recent message:
>  >In Greg's recent e-mail to both of us he makes a point that for
> >the nonblind or nonhearing disabled population it is the browser and 
> >hardware which need modification rather than the source code (html, xml, 
> >css,etc). This strikes me as true.  Most of the disabilities that I see 
> >are motor or cognitive imparements, sometimes involving partial or 
> >temporary loss of one of the senses, ie vision, touch, etc. 
> >Consequently, with respect to your questions about how the W3C can 
> >modify css, xml, html, etc to suit the disabled as a whole- rather than 
> >subpopulations of disable- the answer may be that you can not. 
>      I don't think you should assume that people interested in vision 
>      impairments are only interested in the source problems.  Our group at 
>      Arkenstone is actually more concerned about providing usable browsers 
>      to our typical reading machine user (blind, low vision, dyslexic) who 
>      wants access to the information on the Web because optical character 
>      recognition is tough on newspapers.  They can't begin to use the 
>      existing solutions, which are aimed at sophisticated blind computer 
>      users (and still manage to frustrate them, albeit often on source 
>      problems).
>      We expect to work on simplified user interfaces and supporting these 
>      users, and looking to the Web community to deliver greater 
>      accessibility in the source material.  The WAI process is definitely 
>      focused more on the source issues than on serving and supporting 
>      individuals with disabilities directly.   The Web fosters a "if we 
>      build it, they will come" attitude, which is true of only a fraction 
>      of the people with disabilities who need these capabilities even more 
>      than their nondisabled colleagues who have other options to get access 
>      to much of the information on the Web.  
>      Still, there's absolutely no doubt in my mind that the work being 
>      contemplated in the WAI process so far is a prerequisite to any effort 
>      in this field.  We can address the issues of getting this technology 
>      into the hands of more of the people who need it, when the technology 
>      has more of the hooks that it needs to support them, and source 
>      developers have an easy way of supporting those hooks.
>   Jim Fruchterman                    jim@arkenstone.org
>   President                          Arkenstone, Inc.
>   555 Oakmead Parkway                1-800-444-4443
>   Sunnyvale, CA 94086 USA            1-408-245-5900
>   "Information Access for Everyone!" Fax: 1-408-328-8484
>   http://www.arkenstone.org        

Paul C. Coelho, MD
Resident Physician (R2)
University of Washington
Dept. of Rehabilitation Medicine
Physiatry Forum :
Received on Wednesday, 28 May 1997 11:29:03 UTC

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