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Re: universality

From: Kynn Bartlett <kynn-edapta@idyllmtn.com>
Date: Thu, 1 Jun 2000 10:46:07 -0700
Message-Id: <a04310103b55c4f760919@[]>
To: Charles McCathieNevile <charles@w3.org>, "Benjamin J. Simpson" <arcben@hotmail.com>
Cc: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
At 1:04 PM -0400 6/1/00, Charles McCathieNevile wrote:
>Jonathan had pointed to a site that, as I understood it, was good at
>providing accessibility to a specific group of people (at the expense of
>certain others). I was not suggesting that this is a good way forward, just
>that we need to understand who (if anyone) is not well served by the current
>work we are doing, and how to ensure that they will be in the future.
>Looking at what is good about a site that helps people more than the current
>WAI work, and learning how to do that, is not the same as accepting what is
>clearly not accessible in some way about it. I do not believe that
>accessibility requires that we divide the world into different groups, and
>target our "accessibilty" to one or the other - I think that if we cannot do
>better than that then we will have failed.

I agree with this except for one caveat -- the accessibility of the
-content- is primary, and not necessarily of each page; thus there
may be cases in which dividing the world into different groups -on
the same site- may work best, if you have users with special needs
that can't be adequately met by the single-source method and graceful

When dealing with users with different needs and those with multiple
needs, there are some cases in which it might indeed be good to
say "this is a type of presentation that -best benefits users who
are blind-" or "this is how you can make a site more accessible
-for users who have learning disabilities-".  Many of these
techniques may prove to be very powerful and useful, and with
evolving technologies that enable server-side transformations of
the user experience, we can't just discard a solution that works
for one audience because it doesn't fit in our model of "single
source universal design."

Jonathan's various demonstrations are good examples of this.  Most
all of what he's presented as possible (partial?) solutions for
users with cognitive impairments are highly inaccessible to users
who are visually impaired.  However, if we consider the option of
delivering custom, personalized user interfaces, then we find a
way to use some of the suggestions made here that aren't compatible
with single source design.  Jonathan's idea works for learning
disabled users but not for people without vision?  Great!  We'll
add it to our toolbox called "optimizing sites for people with
learning disabilities" and not our toolbox called "optimizing
sites for people who are blind."


PS:  The catch, of course, is to do this selection/optimization
      in an accurate, inclusive, and "correct" way.  And that's not
      easy to do reliably -- it takes a lot of work and a lot of
      understanding of the issues, not to mention employing various
      protocols and technologies that have rarely been tied together
      in this way.  By the way -- this is what we're working on
      at Edapta.

Kynn Bartlett <kynn@idyllmtn.com>
Received on Thursday, 1 June 2000 13:50:52 UTC

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