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Re: "maybe even in the fact that you use words as all," (sic)

From: Doug Schepers <schepers@w3.org>
Date: Tue, 22 Jul 2008 13:26:26 -0400
Message-ID: <48861842.3030705@w3.org>
To: www-archive <www-archive@w3.org>

Hi, Jonathan-

As usual, you are twisting the facts to suit your claim.

Your claim was that 20% of people in the UK are functionally illiterate 
(I think that figure is high, but I've seen a news story that suggests 
something similar, so I'll grant you some validity there... other 
sources say that the UK has a 99% literacy rate, but I don't have all 
the facts, nor do I think you do).  Let's concentrate on the UK, and on 
that figure.

Of those, only a small percentage will have a learning disability or 
speech impediment.  For the great majority, one or more alternate media 
(including phones, or VOIP for the Web) is absolutely appropriate.  For 
the rest, no one solution will suit all of them; we have to introduce a 
variety of technologies and techniques to compensate.  For some of those 
solutions, the problem will need standardization, and that's where W3C 
(and other organizations, and governments) step in; for others, 
applications making the best use of those technologies, as well as other 
custom technologies, play a larger role.

You are actually introducing a red herring by throwing out and 
conflating nonsense statistics.  The point is not to meet the needs of 
20%, or 80%, or 90% of people... it is to make considerations for as 
many people as possible.  Throwing numbers at the problem is like the 
Mythical Man-Month.  We need better-engineered and novel solutions, not 
more hacks.

But not all features of all technologies have to meet the needs of every 
individual.  Take SVG for example: no matter how many accessibility 
features we build into SVG to compensate for the fact that some people 
can't see, those people still won't be able to see it.  Most of the spec 
will simply be useless to those people, unfortunately.  But that doesn't 
mean that we should abandon the technology or those features... rather, 
we should build in adequate compensations, such as ARIA offers for 
form-type controls.

Despite your claims, WAI and other groups do reach out to a variety of 
people and groups, some directly, and some through representatives or 
agents.  I respect your work as one of those agents.  Your motives are 
good; your methods are lousy.


Jonathan Chetwynd wrote (on 7/22/08 12:24 PM):
> Philip,
> it's true to say that yes I do mean exactly what you say.
> It's not enough to engage developers in creating specifications.
> end-users, that is ordinary people have different requirements, and 
> people who are illiterate are a special case.
> David Woolley has a great description of the W3C 'abuse of process' here:
> http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/w3c-wai-ig/2008JulSep/0013.html
> and I am pressing the case with Tim and Ian, in a thread here:
> http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/www-archive/2008Jul/0036.html
> Doug's attempt to suggest the suitability of other media is sadly strong 
> evidence of his failure to understand and engage with the people or the 
> issue.
> for instance many people with a learning disability cannot use a phone 
> independently, and may have a speech impediment.
> Similarly the suggestion that WAI is meeting their needs is sadly 
> confounded by the formal objection to WCAG2 and the very slow progress 
> in this area.
> just an example of one users complex work pattern:
> http://www.hawking.org.uk/disable/computer.html
> not someone with learning disabilities, but...
> regards
> Jonathan Chetwynd
> j.chetwynd@btinternet.com
> http://www.openicon.org/
> +44 (0) 20 7978 1764
> http://www.w3.org/TR/WCAG20/
> Note that even content that conforms at the highest level (AAA) will not 
> be accessible to individuals with all types, degrees, or combinations of 
> disability, particularly in the cognitive language and learning areas.
> On 20 Jul 2008, at 10:03, Philip TAYLOR (Ret'd) wrote:
>> Doug Schepers wrote:
>>> W3C has activities for accessibility (several WAI groups), video, 
>>> voice browsers, e-government (including education and community 
>>> outreach)... all of these things address your concerns.  So, your 
>>> claim doesn't seem to match the facts.
>> I think (and forgive me if I am wrong) that what Jonathan means
>> by "engage with"[1] is to actually talk to, and work with, such
>> people, to ascertain at first hand how best they can be "empowered"[2].
>> Am I correct, Jonathan ?
>> Philip TAYLOR
>> --------
>> [1], [2] : Yet more modern management-speak.  Sadly these
>> words, and their friends, are now so commonplace that it
>> is becoming increasingly difficult, when tempted to use
>> them, to :
>>> Prefer the familiar word to the far-fetched.
>>> Prefer the concrete word to the abstract.
>>> Prefer the single word to the circumlocution.
>>> Prefer the short word to the long.
>>> Prefer the Saxon word to the Romance.
>> as H W Fowler so wisely recommended in /The King's English/.
Received on Tuesday, 22 July 2008 17:27:05 UTC

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