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Web access guidelines (former thread - practical info for creatin g accessible web pages)

From: Stewart, Ron <Ron.Stewart@orst.edu>
Date: Fri, 5 May 2000 15:03:17 -0700
Message-ID: <0321C4F597FBD311ACBE00D0B72CE9EF81FCD9@mtadams.nws.orst.edu>
To: Ian Jacobs <ij@w3.org>
Cc: "* WEB http://www.rit.edu/~easi" <EASI@MAELSTROM.STJOHNS.EDU>, WAI UA Group <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>, "Stewart, Ron" <Ron.Stewart@orst.edu>, w3c-wai-ua@w3.org, "Gardner, John" <John.Gardner@orst.edu>
Greetings all,

By the way Ian the name is Ron, you are confusing me with an English
gentleman of some renown. I am a relatively unknown academic who is doing
what we believe to be come great work out on the west coast of the US.

What started out as a closed discussion just became much larger, but that is
okay. We are all working towards the same ends, and I always am a fan of
full disclosure.

I never wrote a formal proposal I wrote both a letter and sent an email,
along with all of the files created by our efforts. This was almost a year
ago right after the ATIA conference in Orlando. We asked for permission to
distribute our revised checklist for beta testing as a part of a more
comprehensive evaluation package project we have been working on for a
couple of years. This was done to be in compliance with the copyright on the
WAI documents. 

We also contacted WAI when we first started this project right after the
release of the first draft of the WAI guidelines. I have also talked with
folks representing WAI at several conferences over the last couple of years.
To sum things up, I have never been overly impressed with the responses that
I have received for what we feel is very important work. I always want to be
a part of the process whenever possible, but the impression I got from those
that I talked to was disinterest at best. Who they were is unimportant at
this point, but I was surprised by the response I got, given the role they
play in the WAI. Granted they did not know me from Adam, so as many
academics do I proceeded on my own.

If any of the concerned parties would like to contact me directly on this
issue I would be more than happy to discuss it with them. We have invested a
considerable amount of time in our work, and I would like to move it to the
next stage, and get feedback from a larger group. 

Ron Stewart

Ron Stewart, Director
Technology Access Program
Information Services
Oregon State University
109 Kidder Hall
Corvallis, Oregon  97331
Phone: 1.541.737.7307
Fax:   1.541.737.2159
E-mail: Ron.Stewart@orst.edu
WWW: http://tap.orst.edu

-----Original Message-----
From: Ian Jacobs [mailto:ij@w3.org]
Sent: Friday, May 05, 2000 1:57 PM
To: John Gardner
Cc: * WEB http://www.rit.edu/~easi; WAI UA Group; Ron.Stewart@orst.edu;
Subject: Re: practical info for creating accessible web pages


[I'm moving this discussion from the user agent list
to the IG list as it does not concern the User Agent 
Guidelines Working Group alone.]

I have a question about one comment below from Rod Stewart:

  | We have approached the WAI with a more usable rewrite of 
  | their guidelines, and have never had a response.

Do you have a URL to your proposal?

 - Ian

John Gardner wrote:
> This is an iceberg that needs to be diverted out of the shipping lanes.
> Everyone who has tried to read the WAI recommendations knows that most
> people cannot use them "as is".  The WAI itself has made a billfold card
> with a summary of recommendations, and I have heard of several
> organizations who are either planning or have in progress some work to
> some intermediate readable translation of the full set of guidelines.
> I am distressed to hear that Ron has been ignored by the WAI in his
> to help in the translation process.  The WAI evangelization effort may
> some improvement.  At the very least, the WAI needs to be sure that
> by Ron and others are coordinated, not ignored.
> John
> At 07:50 AM 5/5/00 -0700, you wrote:
> >Greetings,
> >
> >I tend to agree with Paul, the W3C stuff while very valuable to an
> >experienced web developer, is almost useless for a lay person. Those of
> >who have heard my presentations on Web Access have heard this before. We
> >have rewritten the guidelines to be more usable for our developers here
> >OSU, mostly faculty who know almost nothing about HTML code. We have
> >that almost anything that is produced for general consumption needs to be
> >tailored to the specifics of your institution.
> >
> >We have approached the WAI with a more usable rewrite of their
> >and have never had a response. We wanted distribution permission to beta
> >test the evaluation protocols we had developed, and basically got blown
> >by the WAI, despite talking to the folks in charge on more than one
> >occasion.
> >
> >The other piece of misinformation that tends to get spread around is that
> >accessibility does not cost anything. If you try to sell this to your
> >institutional IS folks your credibility is going to take a nose dive.
> >educational websites fully accessible adds 10-15% to the development time
> >the site, so logically it also adds correspondingly to the cost of
> >development.
> >
> >Ron Stewart
> >
> >~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
> >Ron Stewart, Director
> >Technology Access Program
> >Information Services
> >Oregon State University
> >109 Kidder Hall
> >Corvallis, Oregon  97331
> >Phone: 1.541.737.7307
> >Fax:   1.541.737.2159
> >E-mail: Ron.Stewart@orst.edu
> >WWW: http://tap.orst.edu
> >
> >
> >
> >-----Original Message-----
> >From: Jim Tobias [mailto:tobias@inclusive.com]
> >Sent: Friday, May 05, 2000 6:13 AM
> >Subject: Re: practical info for creating accessible web pages
> >
> >
> >Hi Paul and all,
> >
> >Gee, I thought this reaction to the WAI content was a little extreme.
> >I think their job -- which we probably agree was done almost perfectly
> >was to specify exactly where there were access problems in content,
> >browsers, and authoring tools, and what the corresponding solutions and
> >approaches are.  As a matter of fact, to my mind WAI documents are
> >the best such job I've seen.  Their completeness does in fact cause
> >for problems in reading and implementing, for people who don't want to
> >become experts.  I think this category includes 95% of the people
> >who we want to reach, such as your users.  But that's not really
> >WAI's fault.  In fact, they did a good job of publishing the
> >bare essentials on a business card.  This format may be too brief,
> >but it has gone a long way in convincing potential critics that the
> >problems are not abstruse or insoluble.
> >
> >And I'll bet that if you -- or a bunch of us -- approached WAI with
> >a proposal to extract, collate, index, and "leaven" their content
> >for this semi-mainstream, non-expert large audience, they'd be
> >entirely enthusiastic.  I've done this for some corporate clients,
> >who also like to fold in some of their own content for an intranet
> >accessibility resource, and it's quite feasible.
> >
> >Jim
> >
> >Jim Tobias
> >Inclusive Technologies
> >tobias@inclusive.com <mailto:tobias@inclusive.com>
> >732.441.0831 v/tty
> >732.441.0832 fax
> >http://www.inclusive.com
> >
> >
> >
> >> -----Original Message-----
> >> From: * WEB http://www.rit.edu/~easi
> >> [mailto:EASI@MAELSTROM.STJOHNS.EDU]On Behalf Of Paul Chapin
> >> Sent: Friday, May 05, 2000 8:47 AM
> >> Subject: Re: practical info for creating accessible web pages
> >>
> >>
> >> > We often refer folks to the following site:
> >>
> >> > Chisholm, W., Vanderheiden, G., & Jacobs, I. (1999). Web content
> >> > accessibility guidelines 1.0 - W3C recommendation 5-May-1999.
> >> > http://www.w3.org/TR/WAI-WEBCONTENT/wai-pageauth.html
> >>
> >> I'm sorry, but I find the stuff from www.w3.org to be pretty
> >> useless.  It's
> >> long winded, confusingly organized (it's hypertext taken to an
> >> extreme), and
> >> full of recommendations that are either not essential (use cascading
> >> spreedsheet instead of blockquote to indent) or pointless (use
> >> longdesc tag
> >> dispite the fact that none of the current common browsers support
> >> longdesc).
> >> If I pointed my users to those pages, they would take one look at them,
> >> decide either I was out of my mind or that making pages
> >> accessible would be
> >> a massive undertaking, and abandon any attempt at accessibility.
> >>
> >> The guidelines were clearly written by programmers and html geeks who
> >> much more interested in conceptual purity than getting the job done.
> >>
> >> Paul Chapin
> >> Curricular Computing Specialist
> >> Amherst College
> >> http://www.amherst.edu/~pdchapin
> >>
> >
> John A. Gardner
> Professor and Director, Science Access Project
> Department of Physics
> Oregon State University
> Corvallis, OR 97331
> tel: (541) 737 3278
> FAX: (541) 737 1683
>         SAP URL: http://dots.physics.orst.edu/

Ian Jacobs (jacobs@w3.org)   http://www.w3.org/People/Jacobs
Tel:                         +1 831 457-2842
Cell:                        +1 917 450-8783
Received on Friday, 5 May 2000 18:05:14 UTC

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