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UPDATE suggested alternatives to accessible version

From: Roger Hudson <rhudson@usability.com.au>
Date: Fri, 17 Feb 2012 08:28:22 +1100
To: "'David Woolley'" <forums@david-woolley.me.uk>
Cc: <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Message-ID: <001b01ccecf1$ea779240$bf66b6c0$@com.au>
Hi All,

Thanks for the suggestions. But it seems from some of the responses that the
intention of my original post wasn't clear enough. I have explained this to
a few respondents off-list, but I thought it would be useful to say more on
the list.

I am mainly interested in the term "accessible" (and "accessibility") and
not whether or not an accessible version of something should be provided. Of
course, like everyone, I agree that wherever possible content should be
accessible and providing an alternate "accessible" version avoided. 

However, sometimes it is not possible to make something accessible and WCAG
2.0 allows for an alternative accessible version to be provided in these
cases. This could be, for example, because an advanced feature of a web
content technology, which is not sufficiently supported by ATs, is being
used. Or, at the other extreme, an application that is to have a short
web-life is dependent on a legacy system that it is difficult or impossible
to make sufficiently accessible. 

My concern is that this alternate version is often accessed via a link which
includes the word "accessible". This might be meaningful to people who work
in the web industry, but I know many general web users don't know what it

Also, many sites contain a page which describes the accessibility features
of the site, or which provides information to help people who might have
problems accessing the content (e.g. how to use the browser to increase
text-size). Once again, the link to this page often includes the words
"accessible" or "accessibility" and I know from my research (and that of
other people like David Sloan) that many web users don't understand what
this word means. If you are interested in this in relation to older web
users, I touched on the subject in a presentation I gave at CSUN last year -
slide and transcript on my blog
-elderly-csun-slides-and-transcript/  (slides 45 and 46).

In short, the aim of my question is to see if we can come up with some
alternatives to the words "accessible" and "accessibility" that are likely
to be more meaningful to the wider public.



-----Original Message-----
From: David Woolley [mailto:forums@david-woolley.me.uk] 
Sent: Thursday, 16 February 2012 7:20 PM
To: Roger Hudson
Cc: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
Subject: Re: any suggested alternatives to accessible version

Roger Hudson wrote:

>  From previous research I know that many web users do not understand 
> what the term "accessible" means when it comes to web content. This 
> appears to be particularly the case with older users of the web.

"easy to use"

The real problem though is that web pages are advertising and in 
advertising you must not use anything that has negative implications 
about your product.  Saying that there is an easy to use version of the 
site implies that the main site is not easy to use (which while probably 
true, is not something that the designer would want to admit, even to 
themselves).  To be suitable for advertising copy, the words chosen must 
not suggest that there is anything wrong with the main site.

"accessible" is a positive word, but sufficiently jargon that it doesn't 
signal anything to the general public whilst still allowing someone 
trained to use such pages to find it.

David Woolley
Emails are not formal business letters, whatever businesses may want.
RFC1855 says there should be an address here, but, in a world of spam,
that is no longer good advice, as archive address hiding may not work.
Received on Thursday, 16 February 2012 21:30:06 UTC

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