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Re: Accessible Web Design Article: What is an accessible website?

From: Jim Byrne <j.byrne@gcal.ac.uk>
Date: Tue, 24 Sep 2002 15:01:22 +0100
To: W3c_Access <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Message-ID: <B9B62EC2.145EA%j.byrne@gcal.ac.uk>

on 24/9/02 2:02 pm, Mike Palmer at mike.palmer@absoluteinternet.com wrote:

> Hi Jim
> Would the concise definition of an accessible website be just that - it
> is accessible?

Hi Mike,

What the article tries to do is find a definition that gives  a 'framework
for thinking' that leads to practical strategies for those building sites.
Your definition doesn't really tell me how I should go about building an
accessible site.
> I'm not sure if I would separate a disabled person from the general
> person as you seem to imply with your initial bullets on "What is an
> accessible website?". Surely everyone means everyone regardless of their
> physical or metal condition.

I can't add to what is said in the article - it addresses your point
directly. Near the end of the article there is the following paragraph,

"With this definition our first thought is not to separate disabled people
out as a special group to be catered for; there will be disabled people and
non-disabled people in our intended audience. They will all be using a web
browser of some sort and we will have done all we can to ensure our
documents are accessible to those web browsers. No input or output device is
more 'normal' than any other input or output device; you may be using a
mouse and a monitor, someone else will be using a keyboard and a set of
headphones. And if we are doing our jobs right as web designers, it won't
make any difference  - they will all still get the content."
> I would agree that given the state of current technology it would be a
> massive undertaking to translate your content into X languages. But
> wouldn't it be great if you could?! Your market reach would have no
> bounds. Consider that technology will catch up and develop your projects
> with that in mind.

The point is that trying to make a site accessible to everyone is not a good
idea in principle. It would be no more great than making all television
programs aimed at adults accessible to children, or all television programs
aimed at children accessible to adults. Not all content is appropriate to
all audiences. 

As, I think it was Adam Smith, said, 'the problem with the long term, is
that in the long term we are all dead'. We need to address todays concerns

Excuse my directness - thanks for your thoughts.

All the best,
Jim Byrne Project Director, The Making Connections Unit, Glasgow Caledonian
University, Glasgow G4 OBA, 0141 331 3893

Everything you need to know about publishing accessible information on the

Services: Website Accessibility Audits, Accessible Web design, Accessible
Website Management Training.

The Making Connections Unit: http://www.mcu.org.uk/
Scottish Disability Information Mailing list:
Received on Tuesday, 24 September 2002 10:01:59 UTC

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