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RE: comments on guidelines

From: Denis Anson <danson@miseri.edu>
Date: Fri, 3 Dec 1999 11:51:44 -0500
To: "Leonard R. Kasday" <kasday@ACM.org>, "Ian Jacobs" <ij@w3.org>
Cc: <w3c-wai-ua@w3.org>

My take is that the conformance ratings are for general purpose browsers,
which must accommodate all users.  If you make a browser that is focused on
the needs of a single group, and is not intended to be accessible for all
users, then the conformance ratings simply don't apply.

On another list, I responded to a message from a web designer whose client
wanted the pages to be scanned images of paper pages, as GIF files.  The
client also wanted the page to have a statement that it was "accessible."
Well, you can't have both.

You can't meet the needs of one group, and exclude the needs of another
group, and say that you have a completely accessible browser.  It just
doesn't work that way.  Conformance means that you have done all that is
necessary to make access "possible," (A), "Easy," (AA) and "convenient"
(AAA) for all users regardless of disability.

Denis Anson, MS, OTR
Assistant Professor
College Misericordia
301 Lake St.
Dallas, PA 18612

Member since 1989:
RESNA: An International Association of Assistive Techology Professionals
Website: http://www.resna.org
ORLANDO, FL, JUNE 28 -- July 2, 2000

-----Original Message-----
From: w3c-wai-ua-request@w3.org [mailto:w3c-wai-ua-request@w3.org]On Behalf
Of Leonard R. Kasday
Sent: Saturday, December 04, 1999 11:01 AM
To: Denis Anson; Ian Jacobs
Cc: w3c-wai-ua@w3.org
Subject: RE: comments on guidelines


You're right that speech wouldn't be enough for a person who was blind and
deaf, and that the need for Braille is often overlooked.

Still, what if there was a hypothetical browser that did voice output and
had drivers for the popular softbraille displays.  Are we going to deny
that product even an A rating?

Or, more to the point,  what if a company has a little pocket sized voice
browser, with a tiny display, that would be fine for the majority of blind
surfers... provided some care was taken to avoid any remaining dependence
on the visual display.  But suppose the product had no external interface
for any device, let alone a standard API.  If we tell that company right up
front "there's no way this can be even be a level A user agent" and cause
them to give up going the few extra steps that would make it a low cost,
convenient device for blind users who can use speech?

As I look at the guidelines I've got to admit that as it reads you've got
to accommodate all disabilities to get a level A.   But that I think is a
problem with the conformance level definition.

This could be addressed with "qualified" conformance levels, where you
qualify what disabilities it applies to.

So this generates a new issue: a suggestion of "qualified" or "limited"
conformance levels, e.g.

A/visual that satisfies all priority 1 that impact people who are blind
A/hearing  ...etc.

By the way, I do not support such ratings for web content accessibility
guildelines.  Web pages should be accessible to all people, period.

Also, I am only proposing this for UA's like specialized devices, where
full API use and interfacing may be a real burden.  I am not supporting it
for e.g. general PC programs.  General programs should also be accessible
to all people.

However, user equipment that satisfies a particular disability can serve a
practical need and I wouldn't want to discourage such equipment from being
designed and being able to boast some sort of conformance rating.


At 08:41 AM 12/3/99 -0500, Denis Anson wrote:

> >
> > LRK: I think this is overly restrictive if the UA has accessibility
> > built-in.  For example, a browser with built in speech output of all
> > on the screen.  In this case it is not absolutely necessary to give
> > standard operating system access to the text, so I would suggest
> > downgrading to Priority 2 or 3 (depending on how important it is to have
> > Braille output).  This is a real possibility for pocket sized wireless
> > acccess devices, for which speech output is more practical than a tiny
> > screen, especially when driving.
>But in this case, the *standard* APIs for the system would be different
>(or non-existent), wouldn't they?
>There is a tendency to assume that those who can't read the screen will
>automatically be able to hear the screen.  That simply isn't true.
>Refreshable Braille may be the only access mode for a deaf-blind person.
>The reason that the browser should expose the content through a standard
>is so that the user can use whatever access method is their standard, and
>not have to limit themselves to the method that the author of the UA
>was appropriate.
>Denis Anson
>College Misericordia
>301 Lake St.
>Dallas, PA 18612

Leonard R. Kasday, Ph.D.
Institute on Disabilities/UAP, and
Department of Electrical Engineering
Temple University
423 Ritter Annex, Philadelphia, PA 19122


(215) 204-2247 (voice)
(800) 750-7428 (TTY)
Received on Friday, 3 December 1999 11:50:00 UTC

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