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RE: Coding for Standards--comments please


From: Bryce.Fields@kyvu.org
Date: Mar 17, 2004 9:05AM

***David Strong wrote:
In keeping with your analogy, I'd have to ask : if you were a
carpenter and were to build an access ramp meeting local code, but
the concrete, nails and wood supplied were all substandard such that
the ramp was unusable, wouldn't you (as a reputable career conscious
carpenter) do what you could to correct the situation so as to avoid
an accidental injury?

That's not my premise. My premise is that the carpenter has built
everything correctly and the materials are not substandard. Access can be
easily granted to machinery that recognize those standards and are built to
comply. But what if a wheelchair manufacturer chooses to ignore the
standards and build a chair that is too wide for the ramp? Who's
responsible for the inaccessibility? Surely we wouldn't fault the carpenter
in this case.

I think the same could and should apply to web developers. There is a set
of known, recognized standards, that if we follow, should allow access to
everyone. Why is it then our fault if the manufacturers' of assistive
technologies don't adhere to those standards.

Let's assume that I build Site X to the perfect site when it comes to
standards conformance (hey...it's only theoretical...let me dream). Anyone
showing up at the "doorstep" of Site X with assistive technology that
recognizes the standards and adheres to them can surf on in and have the
same exerience as a non-challenged individual. Now, suppose someone
attempts to access the site using an assistive technology that does not
fully support standards. Isn't this the equivalent of trying to use a
perfectly good and LEGAL access ramp with a wheelchair that is too wide?

It just seems to me that the focus in the battle to build accessible sites
is on the wrong group. We have the tools at our disposal to build it right.
I'm really curious as to legally and morally, shouldn't that be enough to
absolve me of burden? Why doesn't the LEGAL and moral burden then fall on
the assistive technology manufacturers if their product fails to produce the
results specified by the standards?

Bryce Fields
Web Developer

Kentucky Virtual University
Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education
http://www.kyvu.org/ - http://www.cpe.ky.gov/

1-502-573-5114 ext 132

"Do or do not. There is no try." -- Yoda

-----Original Message-----
From: David R. Stong [mailto: <EMAIL REMOVED> ]
Sent: Wednesday, March 17, 2004 10:14 AM
Subject: Re: Coding for Standards--comments please

Most arguments about the evil browser seem to me to be like this- you
know there's a problem, you have the ability to make it work even
though you aren't responsible for the browser code- so why wouldn't
you? Then do what you can to inform and correct the "supplier"

David R. Stong
Microcomputer Information Specialist (Graphic Designer),
Education Technology Services, a unit of
Teaching and Learning with Technology
Information Technology Services
The Pennsylvania State University
Phone 8148651843

212 Rider Building II
227 W Beaver Avenue
State College, PA 16801-4819

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