W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > w3c-wai-ig@w3.org > October to December 1999

Re: single browser intranets

From: David Poehlman <poehlman@clark.net>
Date: Tue, 26 Oct 1999 17:45:20 -0500
Message-ID: <38162F00.53AFE3E2@clark.net>
To: "Gregory J. Rosmaita" <unagi69@concentric.net>
CC: Claude Sweet <sweetent@home.com>, WAI Interest Group Emailing List <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
add to this the cost of training and the steepnes of the learning
curve and the free help available for those wishing to effectively
design and you come up with a financially plausable reason for
implimentation of an accessible design.
"Gregory J. Rosmaita" wrote:
> aloha, claude!
> the logical flaw in your rebuttal to al gilman's contribution to this thread is
> revealed in the (supposedly) rhetorical question you posed:
> quote
>   Is it realistic to expect small companies to expend
>   a large percentage of its resources on a solution for
>   which there isn't an existing problem?
> unquote
> who says that an incredible outlay is necessary to achieve an interoperable and
> accessible intranet?  simply because only one browser is used to access it and
> the company currently has no disabled employees doesn't reduce the overall
> importance of designing to maximize interoperability -- the time that is spent
> up front will be considered time well spent once (a) the company moves to
> another platform, browser, and/or integrated application suite and (b) if one
> of the company's current employees becomes disabled....
> the type of thinking that leads to blanket assertions such as quote behind our
> firewall we -- who currently have no disabled employees -- can do anything we
> damn well please unquote is the same sort of short-sighted logic that brought
> us the Y2K problem...  and, as the Y2K mania in which our society  is currently
> indulging amply illustrates, the yeah, we'll address that when it becomes a
> quote real unquote issue mode of thinking leads, ultimately, to a greater
> outlay and loss of time, effort, and resources than does a bit of forethought
> and planning...
> sure, as a former I.T. professional and intranet architect slash administrator,
> i can understand the urge for uniformity, but i also know its stifling
> limitations...  i also know, from practical experience the limitations of the
> cookie cutter approach to accessibility...  the combination of illnesses that
> caused my blindness also caused a severe loss of tactile sensitivity that
> prevents me from reading braille with any efficacy...  the end result is, that,
> were it not for synthesized speech, i would be functionally illiterate...
> thus, as one who is now umbilically connected to a computer device of some sort
> in order to accomplish even the most basic of tasks (looking up a phone number,
> leaving myself notes, keeping track of which album in which milk crate is
> which, etc.) i also know that simply by switching from screen reader X to
> screen reader Y while running the same mainstream application can cause a world
> of difference, as well as dramatically increasing or decreasing the
> functionality and usability of the mainstream application...
> achieving accessibility isn't as easy as it has been portrayed on this list by
> some during the long, torturous history of this thread -- one can't simply slap
> JFW or HPR on a workstation and say to the employee here you go, now stop your
> whining since (amongst other reasons which could be cited):
> 1) the I.S./I.T. department of the company or entity in question has no
> experience with adaptive/assistive technology, and hence are unaware of the
> very real possibility that upgrading or applying a patch to a single piece of
> software -- even one which the disabled employee never actually uses -- can
> negatively affect (or even bring to a crashing halt) the performance of the
> assistive technology being used by the disabled employee to perform even the
> most prosaic of tasks
> 2) most people who rely on assistive technology are trained on a specific brand
> of software, and making a drastic switch to another brand of assistive
> technology not only means another steep learning curve, but that many of the
> functionalities that the user took for granted when using adaptive technology X
> no longer apply when using adaptive technology Y...  this is particularly true
> of screen reader users in the windows environment...  most screen readers have
> a set of mouse emulation keystrokes and scripted events (minimize all windows,
> etc.) that the user learns by rote, never knowing that there are OS equivalents
> to many of the emulated and scripted events (such as shift+F10 to simulate a
> right-mouse-click, or WindowsKey+M to minimize all applications), with the
> consequence that -- when the user is forced to migrate from the A.T. which has
> hitherto been their life-line in the GUI environment to a different A.T. for
> compatibility's sake -- or, to a piece of specialized software, such as HPR,
> just so that they can access information on the company's intranet -- their
> productivity will most likely slip dramatically...  this leads not only to
> decreased output by the person with a disability, but to the reinforcement of
> negative stereotypes, as well -- the quote well, what more does he want unquote
> syndrome, which is born of the type of ignorance that has been flagrantly
> flaunted on this list, to wit, the quote just slap screen reader X on the
> workstation and the accessibility issue has been addressed unquote...
> when it comes to accessibility, the cookie cutter approach of using adaptive
> technology A in conjunction with application C does not, and cannot be allowed
> to, suffice...
> i'll close with a brief illustration of my point...  although i personally find
> IBM's HomePage Reader (HPR) to be quite an incredible and impressive bit of
> engineering, i have had innumerable members of the Visually Impaired Computer
> Users' Group of New York City (for whom i serve as webmaster, minister of
> propaganda, and president emeritus) tell me, after being exposed to HPR
> firsthand, quote i'd love to be able to navigate tables and surf the web in
> general like that, but i'll never remember all those keystrokes and commands --
> it's bad enough that i have to switch between 2 or 3 screen readers during the
> course of a day in order to get my work done; the last thing i need is a whole
> new set of commands to memorize unquote
> gregory
> --------------------------------------------------------
> He that lives on Hope, dies farting
>      -- Benjamin Franklin, Poor Richard's Almanack, 1763
> --------------------------------------------------------
> Gregory J. Rosmaita <unagi69@concentric.net>
>    WebMaster and Minister of Propaganda, VICUG NYC
>         <http://www.hicom.net/~oedipus/vicug/index.html>
> --------------------------------------------------------

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Received on Tuesday, 26 October 1999 17:45:51 UTC

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