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RE: The Difficulty of Talking About Accessibility for the *

From: Harvey Bingham <hbingham@ACM.org>
Date: Tue, 06 Oct 1998 06:13:38 -0400
Message-Id: <199810061027.KAA17583@mail-out-4.tiac.net>
To: Ann Navarro <ann@webgeek.com>, <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>

I hope we can convey the "Electronic Curb Cut" ideas that go with
universal design, with enough redundancy alternatives to support 
hands-free, eyes-free access, ears-free options. Accessibility in 
these contexts applies to enable and include, not patronize.

Environmental conditions (too much or too little light, too much 
vibration, too noisy, etc.) may make desirable alternative ways to 
interchange information, as the user chooses. 

These apply at different times to many who otherwise would use their 
preferred means. So, accessible design provides service that matches 
the changeable users preferences and needs. If accessibility is explained
in that context, those who might otherwise be offended may agree that
there are other benefits from its consideration.

All those problems arose while I was struggling to use my laptop while
my wife was driving recently. Its dim screen washed out in the sunlight. 
After dark, its unfamiliar keyboard required me to tip the screen down to
illuminate it so I could find some keys. Its sensitive pointing device 
disliked the road vibration and made me wish I regularly used keyboard
equivalents. The tire noise masking the earcons. 

I count my blessings that I am aware that there are ways to overcome 
these limitations, and that I do not normally need the alternatives 
that universal design using assistive technology provide. I take 
seriously the need to provide alternatives, so I do not exclude anyone
at any time.

Regards/Harvey Bingham

At 17:17 1998/10/05 -0400, Ann Navarro wrote:
>At 11:15 AM 10/5/98 -0400, Robert Neff wrote:
>>We need to see everyone as people! I do not mind being corrected, but be 
>>nice about it!
>In this specific case, the term used was one that is regularly seen, if not
>necessarily the current "preferred" usage, and it was in one phrase
>describing a course on Cascading Style Sheets, and the benefits that can
>bring to authors in dealing with accessibility issues (just saying
>"Accessibility issues" normally doesn't cut it because people don't always
>interpret that as "for those who can't hear, see, have mobility
>difficulties, etc). 
>Instead of a response of "Wow, glad you brought that up!" we get "I find
>this phraseology offensive". 

>Author of Effective Web Design: Master the Essentials
>Buy it online! http://www.webgeek.com/about.html
>Owner, WebGeek Communications          http://www.webgeek.com  
>Vice President-Finance, HTML Writers Guild http://www.hwg.org
Received on Tuesday, 6 October 1998 06:27:58 UTC

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