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Re: Web Authoring Tools that are Both Accessible and Produce Accessible Content

From: David Sheehy <dsheehy@mac.com>
Date: Thu, 11 May 2000 10:51:42 +1000
Message-Id: <v04210101b53fb26642e3@[]>
To: Kelly Ford <kford@teleport.com>, w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
>It is not a noble goal.  Soon for the federal government it will be 
>the law so Adobe better either figure it out or make the information 
>available in a medium that is 100 percent accessible.  This idea 
>that just trying and doing the noble thing for accessibility has to 
>stop and ensuring accessibility from the beginning has to start. 
>Adobe never did that and now they are just prattling on and on about 
>how they are working hard to help the disabled when it is they who 
>created the barrier in the first place.

Hang on. Adobe do not try to use accessibility for PR very much. I 
doubt many people know about access.adobe.com at all. I have found 
their mentions of accessibility to be quite low-key. Also, how are 
they "responsible for the problem" - PDFs are used usually as 
supplementary information designed for printing, not primarily for 
screen reading. Contrast this with Flash, which is by and large 
replacing the entire readable screen content of sites with 
animations. There is no "reader" for Flash, either.

Again, also check out the way Microsoft behaves. They are truly into 
hype. They act as if they are saving the world by being on an 
accessibility board. Just wait until they start crying "Don't break 
us up, because then we won't be able to make accessible applications 

So they act like this, yet they are the number one cause of 
inaccessible computing. look at the number of companies that are 
making money selling solutions to problems that should never have 
been in wiondows in the first place. Compare that backwards approach 
of designing something for visual users, then patching over it with a 
screen reader, compared to things like Emacspeak where it is designed 
to be an audio interface from the start.

>Adobe says they'll be creating authoring tools to help address this 
>problem by allowing people to indicate more about a document's 
>structure.  If you think convincing the bulk of the internet 
>community that adding alt-tags matters, well wait until you try and 
>convince them to add structural information to their documents.

Well, gosh, isn't that what XML is all about? there seem to be many 
designers who are very happy about XML. E-commerce people seem to 
love the idea of structuring documents. Your argument sounds like you 
can't win either way. Adobe suck because they don't make accessible 
tools ... but if they were to make accessible tools, you wouldn't 
like that, because it's too much of a bother. Now what is your 
solution, then?

Have you ever thought that XML is one of the first relistic ways of 
implementing accessible structured documents in an open standard? If 
I were Adbobe, I would be incorporating XML into PDF. Why wouldn't 
they, with all the forms and e-commerce type stuff PDF can do?

Personally, I would rather wait a little bit longer for something 
that works properly in the first place, than have developers rush 
quick hacks to market.

Received on Wednesday, 10 May 2000 20:54:09 UTC

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