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Re: accessibility for non readers

From: <waz@easynet.co.uk>
Date: Wed, 05 May 1999 02:59:37 +0100
Message-ID: <372FA609.1DFE@easynet.co.uk>
To: Kynn Bartlett <kynn-hwg@idyllmtn.com>
CC: jonathan chetwynd <jay@peepo.com>, love26@gorge.net, w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
> >"A web without pictures is quite imaginable but one without words would have
> >very little interest."
> >Frankly, It is clear that you have little or no knowledge of learning
> >disability, please don't take the time to obstruct those who do.
> Why do I feel I'm missing half the conversation here?
> Just as a request, can we ALL get along, please?

I think we all do. But I also think that the points that Jonathan raises
are at once the most difficult and the most important for those of us on
the side of actively trying to make things more accessible to handle.
Certainly for me personally.

When I come across the notion that 'words are no good' or that things
are too 'wordy' I do not immediately think of those people who for one
reason or another actually cannot use such things. I think of all the
people who, my whole life through, wanted me to stop using words or
being so wordy because they either could not understand me or could not
answer me. It is a thing which hits many of us, I suspect, in the online
world, since we are a self-selected group of intellectuals of a sort
whether we like it or not, accept it or not, and the line on
accessibility which Jonathan follows is easy to misinterpret as an

I will admit with some shame that it took me some days before I had
established to my satisfaction that Jonathan's work was serious. But it
is. And the fact that it is something which may be hard for some of us
to get our heads around is something which can only benefit the
accessibility movement online rather than otherwise. We are damn lucky,
in the face of the blatantly obvious things that need changing across
millions of pages, in order to ensure access for the blind and visually
impaired, that we also find ourselves confronted by a whole new take on
accessibility, focussed instead on the non-reader, that requires a step
of mind analagous to that required of the Lance Arthurs and other design
fascists of this world, who have yet to learn that it is a brittle
beauty that only the few can see, and all of that other obvious stuff.
As we try and get those closed minds to change, so we must open our own
closed minds, and try and work out how the whole damn thing can be best
fixed up. For everyone.

Right now I have no idea, but then they've been plying me with drink at
work (we built a website or something) so forgive the florid tone.

Cheers etc.,

Received on Tuesday, 4 May 1999 22:02:21 UTC

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