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Re: AlertBox: The death of single-design pages?

From: Brian Kelly <lisbk@ukoln.ac.uk>
Date: Mon, 14 Jun 1999 14:04:28 +0100
Message-ID: <0ce901beb666$6fb5fdf0$3c92268a@bath.ac.uk>
To: Kynn Bartlett <kynn-hwg@idyllmtn.com>, w3c-wai-ig@w3.org

> Jakob Nielsen's AlertBox column talks about web accessibility and the
> WCAG, and states the following:
> "But I am not sure that single-design pages will be able to deliver
>  optimal usability in the future. For example, screen sizes will soon
>  differ so drastically between high-end office workstations and small
>  mobile devices that the same pages will not satisfy both. And I also
>  think that one can make pages much more usable for blind users and
>  users with other disabilities by designing explicitly for these groups."
> http://www.useit.com/alertbox/990613.html
> Agree or disagree?  To tie into a recent thread:  how does access
> for cognitively impaired users tie into this?  We've been saying that
> you don't need a separate web site for blind (et al) users, but --
> if content needs to be actually rewritten for a new audience in order
> to make it comprehensible -- is this the end of "writing once" and
> the beginning of specialized web sites for each type of disability?
> Your thoughts are welcome.

Hi Kynn
     I agree with Jakob's comments.
     I've become aware since attending the first day of the WAI meeting in
Toronto of two web accessibility communities.  One focuses on the needs to
make HTML accessible, the other is looking at developing a richer web in the
future.  The former group gives priority to education, importance of ALT
tags, etc.  The latter regards HTML as on its way out, and priority should
be given to the new stuff (XML, XLink, RDF, etc.)
    To give an example.  The ALT tag provides a simple, one-dimensional
description of an image.  Multi-lingual support is missing (an obvious
barrier to understanding).  But ALT also  fails to provide information which
may be needed to address cultural issues.
   I touched on this in my talk at the WAI meeting - see


As an example of the richer form of metadata I think is needed (e.g. for
images) see

I discussed these issues with Julie Howell of the RNIB (Royal National
Institute for the Blind) here in the UK who stated that:
"Rather than encouraging 'simplicity' in Web design ... we try to encourage
'flexibility', so that Web sites can be tailored to individual need
'simply'. Flexibility affords the personalisation which people with sight
problems require."

Brian Kelly
Received on Monday, 14 June 1999 09:07:30 UTC

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