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Re: Fw: Web site accessibility

From: Aaron Smith <aaron@gwmicro.com>
Date: Wed, 26 Mar 2003 10:14:15 -0500
Message-Id: <>
To: wai-ig list <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>

I have to disagree that this exemplifies how JavaScript is in itself a "bad 
technology." Used in a coherent manner, JavaScript can be quite useful. You 
can make an inaccessible environment in any programming language, so I 
would conclude that this example demonstrates the developers narrow scope 
of various JavaScript coding practices. I do, however, agree with the 
phrase "As long as people have to do extra work for accessibility, it 
'ain't gonna' happen.'" But I don't believe that this is a reflection on 
the language itself.

At 10:00 AM 3/26/2003, David Poehlman wrote:

>----- Original Message -----
>From: "Martin McCormick" <martin@DC.CIS.OKSTATE.EDU>
>Sent: Wednesday, March 26, 2003 9:44 AM
>Subject: Re: Web site accessibility
>         Here is an example that demonstrates why javascript is
>basically bad technology as far as accessibility is concerned.
>         Our department has a web site that displays important
>working information regarding our group.  One of the things
>displayed is a schedule of who is on call at a given time.  A
>person who created the site saw what he thought was a cool little
>clock artifact that followed the mouse over the screen and
>graphically showed who is on call.
>         I needed to find out that information to update an
>automated script I have which rotates the contact information in
>an automated paging sequence which had gotten out of sync with
>our actual list.
>         Had this been written in standard html or had it used a
>server-side xml engine that evaluated the client, I would have
>received the information textually.
>         Instead, I got the standard javascript wimp-out in which
>you see the link you need, select it and the screen just stays
>the same.
>         I have seen a few test web pages in which xml server-side
>mechanisms deliver javascript to those who can use it and html to
>those who either turn off scripting or run something like lynx
>which doesn't understand javascript and they work very well with
>         I think this type of web server is apt to be more of an
>example of what just might fix a lot of seemingly intractable
>         Right now, UNIX users who happen to be blind do not have
>any scripting browser that can work satisfactorily for them.
>         One real problem with javascript or ECMAscript is that
>lots of it is actually customized for either Netscape or Internet
>         As long as people have to do extra work for
>accessibility, it "ain't gonna' happen."  It will only happen
>when servers automatically tailor their output to the client
>rather than spewing javascript at everything that uses port 80.
>Martin McCormick WB5AGZ  Stillwater, OK
>OSU Center for Computing and Information Services Network Operations Group

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Aaron Smith
GW Micro
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Received on Wednesday, 26 March 2003 10:14:18 UTC

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