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Re: QED & Marshall McLuhan

From: Anne Pemberton <apembert@crosslink.net>
Date: Fri, 11 Jun 1999 08:10:06 -0400
Message-Id: <>
To: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
At 06:37 PM 6/10/1999 -0700, Kynn Bartlett wrote:
>I don't know, I could see several reasons why a flight simulator
>web page would want to follow the principles of accessible
>web design:
>* (non-blind users) There are many extra benefits, such as search
>  engine placement and PDA accessibility, for creating an
>  accessible web site, even if the content doesn't immediately
>  appear to be something that would interest people with
>  disabilities.

This statement confuses me. I don't know what PDA accessibility is and I
have made web pages before I knew much about accessibility so certainly
didn't follow "principles of accessible web design", and it was coming up
in the first five on search engines (to my surprise, I will add).

>* (non-blind users) Many users of visual web browsers do indeed
>  surf with images off by default, myself included.

Those who choose to use web pages other than as intended are really not a
concern. This isn't a matter of accessibility. 

>* (blind users) A blind parent might want to check up on the
>  web site her child is using, or may be directed to the site to
>  read up on what someone emailed them regarding their favorite
>  hobby.  A blind person may not be able to use the flight
>  simulator, but that may not exclude her from wanting to read
>  about what it does.  For example, she may want to buy a gift
>  for her nephew.

Aha, two very good reasons for pages to be accessible to all parents. A
cognitively impaired parent also want to know what their child is doing
online, and their needs are just as real and the number of such parents is
probably greater than the number of blind parent users.

>* (blind users) If the flight simulator is adequately accessible
>  and designed with some measure of thought, it may actually
>  be somewhat playable by the blind user.  And it may be the 
>  closest she can come to flying a plane!  Even if it crashes,
>  no damage is done, and with stereo sound, good audible icons
>  for alerts, and a force-feedback joystick, it could be lots
>  of fun!

Ditto for cognitively impaired folks. Although a flight simulator isn't
going to be a big stumbling block for such folks, their enjoyment of
something they may never to able to do in "real life" would be very good. 

>So I disagree fundamentally with your supposition that you can
>easily separate the world into "disabled users will use this"
>and "disabled users will NOT use this" categories.  ALL sites
>need to be accessible!  (Which is, in part, why I disagree with
>the confusion of "accessible" with "understandable" -- all sites
>should be accessible but there should be no requirement of

You have given some excellent examples FOR the requirement of
understandability. Perhaps the strongest, outside of the opportunities for
a little fun, are that parents need to be able to see what their kids are
doing online. For safety sake.


Anne L. Pemberton
Enabling Support Foundation
Received on Friday, 11 June 1999 08:02:25 UTC

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