Universal Accessibility (was RE: Head in the sand, driving a car)


Perhaps instead you should explain why an information access tool (user
agent - web browser) should conform to your requirement as a teaching tool /
or entertainment delivery vehicle.  There are numerous other applications
(CD ROMS, MUDS, MSN/AOL/ICQ, WinAmp and all of the CD Player applications
which connect to the CDDB, etc.) which leverage the connectivity of the
internet to their advantage which do not require web browsers.  Why do you
insist that these tools be so multi-adaptable to achieve your goal?

It's like insisting that my television set also be a microwave oven, so that
I can pop popcorn while still watching the football match.  Is this a
reasonable request?  it sure would be neat! (for a laugh, see:
http://www.hometoys.com/htinews/jun01/articles/currid/currid.htm - it seems
this is no longer being marketed...)

I have said it before, and I will say it again... I do not criticize your
sincere and insightful attempts to deliver accessible materials to your
specific user group.

But do not confuse "accessibility" with "web accessibility".  If your focus
group requires specific interfaces for learning, then create them... do not
insist that off the shelf web browsers be the high tech Swiss army knife of
the internet.  Who exactly, or where exactly, is it stated that web browsers
must be universal content delivery mechanisms?  And more importantly, should
that be their role?  I personally would argue no...

You state (disabling right-click) "...this must be possible via the
browser..." - why?  because you say so?  Defend this statement.  How does
removing functionality from some users to benefit others advance universal
accessibility, never mind "usability"?

If someone is that severely learning disabled, then it would seem to me if
the mouse is a problem with the right click, you as an instructor should be
helping disable the OS right click, or suggesting a more appropriate input
device -- like single button mouse (like a Mac mouse for example?)  Asking
for a software/hardware application which allowed you to connect and use
such a device on a PC would address the same requirement, without impeding
the ability for other users *to use* the right click functions available to
them on a PC based browser.  I for one use them (right clicks) all the time,
especially when navigating from page to page in my browser... "right click>>
back" is probably the most frequent mouse click I do.  Nothing ticks me off
more than those feeble attempts by novices to use JavaScript to disable
image copying... usually complete with an alert warning me of the copyright.
("View...page source...<img src=..." like, duh!)

Often I am asked why developers should implement a specific recommendation
when user agents rarely if ever support them. (For example, only one screen
reading app will currently switch languages on the fly - IBM HPR).  The
answer I give is that there must be a reasonable expectation that the users
will meet you half way.  Blind users must have some form of screen reading
application or Braille output tool - I will ensure my content is marked up
correctly.  People with mobility impairments (who use voice recognition
software, puff and sip tools, alternative pointers, etc.) - I will ensure
that clickable areas are large enough for them to access, and that my text
can scale larger if that aids in the increase of the clickable area; I have
even experimented with scalable icons to satisfy this user group.  If your
particular user group cannot deal with two button mice, then change the
tools they have, do not remove accessibility/usability from a web page in
their name to the detriment of others.  It doesn't wash. And do not insist
that the user agents "must" do things simply because it makes some of your
efforts easier.  Look beyond your trees and see the whole forest...

John Foliot  foliot@wats.ca
Web Accessibility Specialist / Co-founder of WATS.ca
Web Accessibility Testing and Services
http://www.wats.ca   1.866.932.4878 (North America)

  -----Original Message-----
  From: Jonathan Chetwynd [mailto:j.chetwynd@btinternet.com]
  Sent: Wednesday, June 04, 2003 12:04 PM
  To: Charles McCathieNevile; John WATS.ca
  Cc: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
  Subject: Re: Head in the sand, driving a car

  Please explain:

  How can a novice computer user, who is independently learning to use a
mouse with great difficulty, disable right clicking using the OS?

  Assuming it is possible, then we would need to show the user how to do it,
assuming that the user has the cognitive ability, which in fact they don't
in this instance. This is similar to insisting that the driver has to learn
how an engine works before driving. Usually any instructor creates
environments suited to individual needs and abilities to motivate and
encourage progression. If the instructor is not present then this must be
possible via the browser, unless you allow direct access to the OS which is
frequently considered undesirable. In this instance javascript provides a
great solution. Perhaps John or Chaals could provide a written description
of how they believe an accessible version should behave.

  Alternatively one could argue that these training materials should be
provided with the application.
  It seems there is some fundamental misunderstanding here, work-arounds are
essential in all walks of life.


  On Wednesday, June 4, 2003, at 02:22 am, Charles McCathieNevile wrote:
  they should expect to remove a work-around because the manufacturers have
tuned their software better

Received on Thursday, 5 June 2003 09:47:50 UTC