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RE: Schema.org - identifying accessible documents

From: Léonie Watson <lwatson@paciellogroup.com>
Date: Sun, 21 Jun 2015 00:19:01 +0100
To: "'Jutta Treviranus'" <jutta.treviranus@utoronto.ca>, <chaals@yandex-team.ru>, "'WAI Interest Group'" <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Message-ID: <008701d0abaf$7ef3fc90$7cdbf5b0$@paciellogroup.com>
> From: Jutta Treviranus [mailto:jutta.treviranus@utoronto.ca]
> Sent: 18 June 2015 14:38
> As to the specific example of markup you have asked us to consider:
> > "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).

There is usually a way to make things up where metadata is concerned. There is often a fair amount of flexibility in the way metadata is interpreted, and history tells us this has happened already. 

Is there something in this proposal that makes it more prone to mis-use do you think?

> What does your description add that simply stating that this resource or
> document "has captions," "has descriptions", and that the language "is
> english" doesn’t achieve? In fact your description is much more complex and
> also confusing because you would not need to be able to understand english
> language text if you can hear, you could listen to the speech audio and
> understand spoken english.  (I have left your message below my reply in its
> entirety for easier reference.)

If a resource had no specific accessibility feature, yet was nonetheless accessible to someone, how would it be classified? As Chaals notes, a search for a resource with text descriptions for images would exclude any resource that consisted only of text, yet such resources would likely be accessible to a person requiring text descriptions for images.


> On a general level, the debate boils down to who gets to come up with the
> labels and the categories that describe individual needs and preferences: is it
> collectively the individuals who are experiencing the barriers to access or is it
> the developers and the arbitrary group of individuals that happen to be part
> of the standards working groups, many of whom know nothing about the
> barriers.  


Speaking as someone involved in the standards effort, and someone (like many others) who has a disability, this feels like a very binary assessment to me.

The two communities can (and sometimes do) collaborate. User research is another way the standards community can seek input from different disability communities, and open reviews of proposed ideas (like this thread) are yet another way to bring people from outside the standards effort into the conversation.

Of course these things aren't perfect solutions, but few things are. If we start from an "either or" position, I suspect we'll set ourselves up for failure before we start though.

> Lastly, if we include the ISO discussions, I think the argument is also about
> how we approach this important challenge: can we make this an exercise
> about what emerging technical capabilities we can use to match and address
> the individual needs and preferences of real people who face barriers on real
> people’s terms (and thereby potentially advance the process of
> individualized customization or personalization for all people), or is this an
> exercise in the concessions that can be made by metadata authors in
> labelling documents or resources for people who are "not capable" of using
> the resources?

The notion of "real people" makes me smile, but I take your meaning.

The proposal seems to be about making it possible to search for resources that a person with a disability can use. It feels like something of a jump to go from there to "personalisation and customisation", not least because storing and maintaining a profile starts privacy alarm bells ringing in the back of my head. That's probably a conversation for another time and place though.

To the question of mis-use, I'm still struggling to understand how this proposal is any more open to abuse than any other metadata model (Schema or otherwise)?

Received on Saturday, 20 June 2015 23:19:26 UTC

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