WebAIM - Web Accessibility In Mind

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Re: Websites or user agents - where to put the assistive tools?


From: Hoffman, Allen
Date: Jul 28, 2011 12:18PM

building in access technology functionality in to individual websites is
kind of like taking on the job of the assistive technology industry as a
whole--e.g. if you select the screen reading functionality, why not
screen magnification function also, and if you do that will you also do
the voice input technology? I think until more cloud-based end-user
systems are in use in a widespread way, such technology solutions should
remain on the end-user device with websites providing
standards-compliant content for interpretation/presentation. there are
also several technologies you can't easily include, like Braille display
output--yes you can provide braille ready files for display on Braille
displays, but then that can be done on the end user location also. As
an AT user I would not want to learn different assistive solutions based
on which site I'm using--that would drive me nuts. I think there are
some AT type things that can be provided in some circumstances to
alleviate people with less severe disabilities burden, but those should
be evaluated carefully, and you should know your boundaries and be clear
about who the audiences for such functionality are, and where the line
of support stops.

If you just provide standards-compliant content on your site you will
have really made most people with disabilities happy campers. you can't
please all the people all the time.

-----Original Message-----
From: Peter Krantz [mailto: <EMAIL REMOVED> ]
Sent: Thursday, July 28, 2011 3:34 AM
To: WebAIM Discussion List
Subject: [WebAIM] Websites or user agents - where to put the assistive

On Thu, Jul 28, 2011 at 08:36, John Foliot < <EMAIL REMOVED> > wrote:
> which ultimately confirms to
> me that no 2 users are the same <smile>, and that offering at least 2
> choices would be a wonderful best practices, especially for very high
> volume sites.

The practice of having websites providing the assistive tools has
several drawbacks. The tools will be presented differently from site
to site (while the user has the same need) and there will always be a
lot of sites without them.

Wouldn't it be better if the default design of a website makes the
content transformable into various representations and assistive
functionality were built into browsers and operating systems instead?

A lot of the time accessibility professionals ask website builders to
do things. I would also like to see recommendations on what they
shouldn't do. An example could be to not duplicate functionality that
is available in browsers/OSs today (e.g. text resize, contrast


Peter Krantz