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RE: Schema.org - identifying accessible documents

From: Léonie Watson <lwatson@paciellogroup.com>
Date: Thu, 18 Jun 2015 14:00:01 +0100
To: <chaals@yandex-team.ru>, "'WAI Interest Group'" <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Message-ID: <008e01d0a9c6$b0970390$11c50ab0$@paciellogroup.com>
> From: chaals@yandex-team.ru [mailto:chaals@yandex-team.ru]
> Sent: 17 June 2015 22:54
> Hi folks,
> TL;DR: I am looking for opinions on how to identify resources so it is easier for
> a given person to find content accessible to them.


> The problem is we don't have a good mechanism for describing how you can
> interact with a resource. Asking for content where the images have
> descriptions is fine, but irrelevant where there are no images in the first
> place. And asking developers to explicitly state all the cases that are
> irrelevant to their content strikes me as unscalable (and not very bright in the
> first place).
> My initial thinking is that we should describe "accessModes" for content,
> such as "you need to be able to understand english-language text and to
> hear, OR to be able to understand english language text and see, in order to
> effectively use this site". (The underlying use case is a video which has both
> audio descriptions, and captions, available as an option in the player, but
> making these things up is easy and there are lots of variations).


> Two arguments have been raised against this approach.
> The first is that it is enforcing a "medical model" of disability, rather than
> allowing people to state their own preferences and needs. As far as I can see
> this logic is false. The model here allows people to state, in as much or little
> detail as they want for a given situation, what capabilities they have, and
> enables search systems to match resources against the particular capabilities
> or preferences of a particular individual in real time.

At the risk of re-opening an old debate, I don't think the disability model is relevant in this context. Whether disability is regarded as a medical problem to solve, or a social attitude that needs to change, it doesn't alter the fact that I can't see.

If anything, this proposal feels like a pragmatic model of disability. The ability to indicate the things I can (or perhaps can't) do, in order to find content that I can use successfully, is about getting on with life in a practical way.

I waste a horrendous amount of time trying to find content I can use. I'll usually be able to find umpteen sources of the information I'm looking for, but only the 10th will be in a format I can make use of. If we can find a way to match someone's requirements with the accessibility characteristics of a resource, I think it will make life a lot easier for a great many people.

Returning to the idea itself, I imagine it would be necessary to come up with a common vocabulary of access modes. An immediate thought is that a flat vocabulary wouldn't work - on the basis that disability isn't a binary state. Is a hierarchical taxonomy possible within Schema?


Léonie Watson - Senior accessibility engineer
@LeonieWatson @PacielloGroup PacielloGroup.com
Received on Thursday, 18 June 2015 13:00:34 UTC

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