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Re: Accessibility for all?

From: Kynn Bartlett <kynn-edapta@idyllmtn.com>
Date: Mon, 12 Aug 2002 09:24:27 -0700
Message-Id: <a05101001b97d8f6efa1c@[]>
To: "SHARPE, Ian" <Ian.SHARPE@cambridge.sema.slb.com>, "WAI (E-mail)" <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>

At 9:41 AM +0100 8/12/02, SHARPE, Ian wrote:
>Hi All,
>I've been asked to answer a couple of points regarding website accessibility
>for some potential business. Social inclusion pleasantly being an imporant
>aspect of the development. I found myself starting off initially with the
>somewhat unqualified statement:
>"It is widely accepted by the accessibility communitee that it is not
>currently realistic to sensibly provide a fully accessible solution to this
>problem for all social groups at this time".

If you look at WCAG 1.0 or Section 508, then is undoubtedly true.
Adherence to either places a much lower priority on the needs of some
groups than on others, and also sets up a competition between the needs
of some groups and the needs of others.

So I would say this is a legitimate statement.

>The problem being a web portal comprising numerous backend systems which
>come together to deliver dynamic content potentially in a variety of formats
>and using a variety of media. Even if we reduce the problem to a straight
>forward online flight booking system for example I personally don't believe
>it is possible to cater for all sensibly at this time? Just taking the
>visually impared and learning disabilities alone I feel moves the problem
>into potentially two separate solutions with the VI requiring textual
>feedback and learning disabilities perhaps more familiar with some kind of
>SVG approach?

This is why an adaptive/transformative approach is most valuable.  The
idea that all users can be equally served by a single user interface is
one which should have died years ago.  Unfortunately, it's 2002 now and
we have yet to see fully-deployed increased accessibility adaptive
transformations. :(

You have accurately identified a weakness in current accessibility
thinking.  The solution, as I see it, is to change our thinking and
realize that multiple interfaces need to be constructed.  If you are
already assembling a portal system which separates the business
logic (backend) from the front (dynamic content) then you are already
advantaged when it comes to building a functioning adaptive transformation
system.  You can get better results for a broader group of users by
creating multiple templates which meet a diversity of needs.


Kynn Bartlett <kynn@idyllmtn.com>                 http://kynn.com
Chief Technologist, Idyll Mountain            http://idyllmtn.com
Next Book: Teach Yourself CSS in 24       http://cssin24hours.com
Kynn on Web Accessibility ->>          http://kynn.com/+sitepoint
Received on Monday, 12 August 2002 12:25:05 UTC

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