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RE: Separate, but equal ?

From: T. V. Raman <raman@Adobe.COM>
Date: Thu, 4 Feb 1999 14:36:19 -0800 (PST)
Message-ID: <14010.8419.747725.55291@labrador>
To: thatch@us.ibm.com
Cc: Charles Oppermann <chuckop@microsoft.com>, w3c-wai-ua@w3.org

It's true that quality of table rendering --or any other
form of rendering for that matter can be used by 
speech browsers (as with any other browser) to differentiate
a specific tool/user-agent in the market place.

However, this does not necessarily argue in favor of having
a broken world to start with --just so the various
screenreader vendors can compete on the basis of their
specific ideosyncracies and kluges.  I do not think IBM home
page reader would do the above (somewhat dubious/immoral
marketing)-- but I'm afraid screen-reader vendors in general
will simply stick in heuristics that work for specific pages
or popular sites and then market their product on this

Take the current state of affairs with Windows
screen-readers-- in the last few years, each vendor has
tried to say "we're the best because we can do foo with
application bar" --and the net effect is that most if not
every screen-reader impaired user I know has more than one
screenreader installed --simply because "screenreader foo
works in a desirable manner with application bar --but not
with something else" --the combinatorial explosion of this
mess that would result if access vendors started touting how
well they worked with a specific site or class of sites
e.g. CNN or Time is mind-boggling --the resulting FUD that
would result helps no one.

>>>>> "thatch" == thatch  <thatch@us.ibm.com> writes:

    thatch> Scott said:

    thatch> "I am not at all comfortable with the proposal
    thatch> that access to tables will be provided by the
    thatch> access technology without the access technology
    thatch> developers agreeing to the approach ..."

    thatch> Isn't access to tables something that the access
    thatch> technology developer can use to make their
    thatch> product better than the competition?  I look at
    thatch> it that way for IBM Home Page Reader.

    thatch> Jim Thatcher IBM Special Needs Systems
    thatch> www.ibm.com/sns thatch@us.ibm.com (512)838-0432

    thatch> Charles Oppermann <chuckop@microsoft.com> on
    thatch> 02/02/99 08:04:17 PM

    thatch> To: w3c-wai-ua@w3.org cc: (bcc: James
    thatch> Thatcher/Austin/IBM) Subject: RE: Separate, but
    thatch> equal ?

    thatch> These are good questions and they should be
    thatch> answered.  In my experience, very little good
    thatch> information can be gotten off of the various
    thatch> blindness related mailing lists.  Just email the
    thatch> companies directly.  Mostly the technical
    thatch> support staff monitor the mailing lists, not
    thatch> their developers.

    thatch> However, this exact issue was discussed in
    thatch> detail at one of the face to face meetings.  A
    thatch> particular concern was that the "native"
    thatch> implementation would be too generic and not
    thatch> serve the particular needs of any sub-set of
    thatch> users.

    thatch> This leads to the discussion that as a whole,
    thatch> there isn't much need to unroll or linearize
    thatch> tables VISUALLY on the screen.  Very few users
    thatch> require that.

    thatch> Accessibility aid vendors can currently get the
    thatch> information about the table structure and use
    thatch> it.  Only one vendor "forces" unrolling by
    thatch> modifying the object model.  Several other
    thatch> vendors use the object model (in this case,
    thatch> Active Accessibility) to discover the structure
    thatch> of the table and provide navigation.

    thatch> -----Original Message----- From: Scott Luebking
    thatch> [mailto:phoenixl@netcom.com] Sent: Tuesday,
    thatch> February 02, 1999 1:03 PM To: w3c-wai-ua@w3.org
    thatch> Subject: Separate, but equal ?

    thatch> Hi, I've been thinking about the table issue and
    thatch> am not at all comfortable with the proposal that
    thatch> access to tables will be provided by the access
    thatch> technology without the access technology
    thatch> developers agreeing to the approach.  In a way,
    thatch> what is being proposed is that access technology
    thatch> will also need to include certain aspects of
    thatch> browser technology.  Do access technology
    thatch> developers really want to do that or are they
    thatch> being forced into it to compensate for the
    thatch> limitations resulting from various browser
    thatch> developers' refusal to provide appropriate
    thatch> direct access in the software being developed?

    thatch> I'm considering posting a note to some
    thatch> blind-related mailing lists which the various
    thatch> access developers read and get their opinions on
    thatch> this issue.  If most of the access technology
    thatch> developers do want to also develop browser
    thatch> technology, then I probably won't have a problem
    thatch> with what is being proposed.

    thatch> Scott

Best Regards,

      Adobe Systems                 Tel: 1 408 536 3945   (W14-128)
      Advanced Technology Group     Fax: 1 408 537 4042 
      W14-128 345 Park Avenue     Email: raman@adobe.com 
      San Jose , CA 95110 -2704     Email:  raman@cs.cornell.edu
      http://labrador.corp.adobe.com/~raman/        (Adobe Intranet)
      http://cs.cornell.edu/home/raman/raman.html    (Cornell)
    Disclaimer: The opinions expressed are my own and in no way should be taken
as representative of my employer, Adobe Systems Inc.
Received on Thursday, 4 February 1999 17:36:26 UTC

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