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Re: single browser intranets

From: Scott Luebking <phoenixl@netcom.com>
Date: Tue, 26 Oct 1999 22:53:39 -0700 (PDT)
Message-Id: <199910270553.WAA04676@netcom3.netcom.com>
To: charles@w3.org, phoenixl@netcom.com
Cc: poehlman@clark.net, sweetent@home.com, unagi69@concentric.net, w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
Hi, Charles

This is again going back to what I brought up awhile ago that the definition
of accessibility probably needs to take in consideration
the audience/context/environment.  The issue of accessibility of
public pages can be different from pages used in specialized

An issue for universities is what is reasonable to expect a disabled
student to learn in access technology before starting courses.
Also, it might be easier to get DR to pay for equipment if universities
can say  up front what kinds of tasks students will be expected
to perform, e.g. using IE 4/5 .

An area I'm slowly seeing more happening is the web page not just
providing content, but also being used as a more flexible/sophisticated
interface.  My suspicion is that students in long distance learning
situations will be wanting more interaction and less just reading
pages of text.


PS  I think that there needs to be some work with OCR on these subtlties.

> These are interesting questions indeed.
> The GL working group drew on expertise from a number of fields, and on many
> many years of experience, and produced what is generally regarded as an
> extremely good explanation of what makes Web Content accessible, in terms of
> the functions it needs to provide. But a website which exists for all to use,
> and a piece of courseware that is relevant to a small group of people for a
> short amount of time are two different things. (To ignore that it has been
> suggested that the WCAG could be improved in various ways.)
> In specific cases, there are a bunch of important questions:
> Who is using the material? (Do you have blind students? Deaf students? People
> who suffer from hemiplegia, muscular dystrophy, missing or malformed limbs?)
> How likely are they to have learned to use the technology? (Does everyone
> have a vaccum pippette at home? A magnifying glass? a mass
> spectromoeter? A gas flame?)
> How germane is the technology in general to the subect material? (If I want
> to be a mathematician, does it matter whether I smudge the ink using a
> fountain pen?)
> How fast must they learn to use incidental technology? (Do you expect people
> to change operating systems in a week? A month? the year before the course?)
> What support is provided, and what other requirements can they be expected to
> have? (Do they have to buy $1000 worth of software for themselves? Are
> computers already provided with the necessary materials loaded? Are they
> likely to take three classes that each require learning a particular type of
> assistive technology?)
> With the benefit of statistical and qualitative hindsight we might get
> answers we can use to further generalise, or to predict ways that will solve
> specific situations. Who didn't take the course? Who failed because it was
> too difficult, and who failed because access was too difficult? Did people
> with disabilities do significantly better than expected? All these are even
> more complex questions than the first lot, and less likely to have sure
> answers.
> There are two approaches here. One is to design things that are known, or
> generally recognised, to be universally accessible. The other is to try and
> guess which groups of users you can safely ignore, and gamble that it will be
> cheaper, easier, or more useful to everyone to instead make accommodations
> for them on an ad hoc basis. (There is a third approach, which is not to
> bother trying to cater for people with disabilities. Although I know that in
> the real world people use it, I personally find it pretty disgusting.)
> WAI has focussed on the first approach, for a number of reasons, including
> the fact that it is the most efficient way to use our resources.
> More of my 2 bits.
> Charles McCN
Received on Wednesday, 27 October 1999 01:53:11 UTC

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