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Re: Re: QED & Marshall McLuhan

From: Bruce Bailey <bbailey@clark.net>
Date: Thu, 10 Jun 1999 14:05:46 -0400
Message-Id: <199906101808.OAA20268@smtp-gw.vma.verio.net>
To: "Anne Pemberton" <apembert@crosslink.net>, <Lovey@aol.com>
Cc: "Ann Navarro" <ann@webgeek.com>, <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Dear All,

I agree completely that computers are great for non-readers!  That is NOT
my point.  I can list success stories and examples with the best of you,
and this is true for IIe / Mac / IBM.  Things may have, in fact, gotten
more difficult (for some folks) with the increasing sophisticated operating
systems.  With the Apple IIe, many preschoolers and other non-readers could
recognize and select the diskette they wanted, independently put in the
disk, boot the computer, and run their program.  Selecting icons from a
desktop or off the Start menu may not be as concrete, but the idea is the
same.  Personally, I am making plans about how I will set up a computer so
that it will be accessible to toddler (who is not even born yet)!

Yes, it is technically possible to create websites that are useful (and
accessible) by non-readers.  Certainly, there could be more, and I would
argue that there should be more.  It is reasonable to expect that there
will be more.

My point is that literacy is still an implicit requirement for long-term
operation of a computer.  Now days, perhaps one can even install software
without reading.  Still, any amount of troubleshooting is going to require
reading!  (Even if those "Application has unexpectedly quit" dialog boxes
are not so helpful.)

Yes, one can launch and use multiple applications without reading.  Can one
use MOST applications without reading?  Should there be some kind of
requirement that applications be fully functional without text?

Web browsing IS simple enough that it can be done without reading.  The
problem is that most content requires literacy.  So make your homepage
contain (image) links to those websites that ARE graphical enough to be
functional to your non-readers.  (Maybe the first person to do this online
can make a lot of money?)  One doesn't expect that ALL (or even the
majority) software in a store is accessible to non-readers, so why would
you expect that for ALL (or even the majority) of web sites?

I've re-read my posts on this thread, substituting "blindness" for "LD", so
I can understand how I have offended some.  The difference is that there
is, for example, assistive technology that makes WordPerfect accessible. 
There are "word processors" (of kind) for non-readers, but there is no
assistive technology that makes WordPerfect usable for non-readers.

The point that I am REALLY trying to make is that it is well outside the
domain of the WAI (or even the W3C) to advocate that HTML/XML be designed
so that it is accessible to non-readers when NO ONE KNOWS HOW TO DO THIS
for general computer use!

Are we close to wrapping this thread up?  Please?

-- Bruce Bailey


> 	The idea that cognitively disabled/limited/different folks cannot learn
> use computer and the Internet is as bogus as the idea that the blind
> do so. 
> It does not require "literacy" to learn to use computers and the Internet
> for many everyday tasks people want to use them for ... but it does
> good software and good web sites so that people can find what they are
> looking for. 
> 				Anne
Received on Thursday, 10 June 1999 14:08:51 UTC

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